Brett Umlauf is a young, dynamic soprano, living and singing in New York City. She is a member of SIREN Baroque, an all-female ensemble performing early works by women composers, as well as new compositions by contemporary artists. Also a principal singer at Morningside Opera, she recently appeared in a newly commissioned work described by Steve Smith of The New York Times as “a brainy, baffling, consistently astounding 100-minute piece.” To follow the bold artistic choices of Brett Umlauf’s career is to know that contemporary opera is alive and thriving in our country today.
Still, even steady and inspiring employment was not enough to help this Dartmouth-educated vocalist through two calamities beyond her control.
First Hurricane Sandy flooded the theater where Umlauf was scheduled for a lengthy show run, cancelling all her performances. Nine months later, a 5-alarm fire in her NYC apartment building destroyed every object she owned except one set of clothes. All of her personal belongings were destroyed, including the essential tools of her trade: her keyboard, her music scores, concert gowns and computer.
It takes courage to persevere as an artist in a profession with limited financial stability; all the more when crisis strikes. With the help of the Musicians Foundation, Umlauf was able to regain her footing and return to her work.
Umlauf is once again pushing the boundaries of classical music, infusing historically accurate performance with a modern edge. GothamEarlyMusic said of her group’s recent performance of Una Fiamma Rovente, “Like Odysseus, you should lash yourself to the mast before listening to this performance by Siren Baroque; it is irresistible.” Umlauf has even performed a Baroque cover of Lorde’s “Royals.” Back on track, she is bringing opera to a whole new generation of listeners passionate about music.