Mezzo-soprano Clara O’Brien’s international career began when she was awarded the Sonderpreis des Badischen Staatstheaters; a prize created specially for her at the 1st International Coloratura Competition, Sylvia Geszty in Stuttgart, Germany. Noted for her technical and expressive virtuosity, she has appeared on the stages of many international cities including Chicago, Dallas, Berlin, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Dresden, Leipzig and Frankfurt. For many years, she was engaged as soloist at the State Theater of Baden and based her career from Germany. Recently, Clara O'Brien returned to the U.S. and now combines her appearances on stages and in concert with teaching at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
Clara O'Brien has enjoyed critical and public success in a wide range of operatic roles. Her diverse repertoire includes acclaimed performances of Octavian, Komponist, Adalgisa, Mignon, Dorabella, Donna Elvira, Elisabetta (Maria Stuarda), Rosina, Cenerentola, Musetta, Hélène (La Belle Hélène), Fenena (Nabucco) and many other lyric and dramatic roles. Numerous appearances at the International Händel Festspiel and lauded performances of contemporary opera testify to the extent of her musical versatility. Among her concert repertoire are the Verdi and Mozart Requiems, orchestral works from Berlioz, Mahler, Brahms and Beethoven, Handel and Bach oratorios, masses and passions.
Critics praise Clara O'Brien effortless vocal perfection and warm mezzo timbre as well as her "towering" ability as a singing actress. Along with consistently positive reviews, her operatic performances received Opernwelt's Best Performance citations in both the Emerging and Established Artist categories. Other awards include 1st Prize, Erika Köth Meisterkurs and Finalist in the International Belvedere Competition.
Clara O’Brien is also a recitalist and has won Grand Prix Paul Derenne, International Concours de chant de Paris for her interpretation of Impressionist and post-Impressionist French mélodie. She is a noted interpreter of late-Romantic and Modernist German Lieder. Her repertoire in recital ranges from mediaeval chanson to premieres from living composers.
Recordings include releases on the Bella Musica and Albany Records labels and she has been recorded and broadcast on Southwest German Radio and Television and NPR radio in the U.S.