Rachel Mathes is a native of Birmingham where she began her vocal studies with Andrew Gainey. While still a college student she won the Birmingham Music Club Auditions, the Friday Morning Music Club Competition in Washington DC, placed third in the Regional Metropolitan Opera Auditions in New Orleans LA, and received a Fulbright Scholarship for graduate study at the Academy for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria. After further study in New York City and winning the Baltimore Opera Vocal Competition (judged by Rosa Ponselle), Mathes began her professional career at the Stadttheater in Basel, Switzerland as AIDA (Verdi). From 1966-71 Mathes was a leading soprano with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duesseldorf, Germany, where she appeared in many of the leading roles of Mozart, Strauss and Verdi with occasional excursions into the Wagnerian repertoire. During this time she continued vocal studies with Edith Boroschek, and appeared in most of the larger houses of Europe and Britain in both opera and concert. In 1974-5 Mathes made debuts at both the Metropolitan Opera (as Donna Anna) and the New York City Opera (as TURANDOT) and sang in Verdi's REQUIEM at the Wolf Trap Festival, which was broadcast nationally on PBS-TV. In 1977 she returned to Birmingham to begin her teaching career, and her students are winners and finalists in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the Rose Palmai-Tenser Vocal Competition, the West Palm Beach Opera Auditions, the Bay View Concerto Competition, NATS Student Auditions, AMFC Auditions, and others. From 1983-90 Mathes appeared as soprano soloist with the Performing and Teaching Faculty of the Bay View Music Festival in Bay View MI. She is listed in Who's Who in Opera, Who's Who in America, holds two Obelisk Awards, holds the National Achievement Award of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, and the 1987 Contemporary Achievement Award for Classical Performance from the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. In 1991 Mathes completed her D.M.A. degree at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and she is presently a member of the Music Faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she teaches voice and is the Founder of UAB Opera.
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