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IN SHORT (220 words)

Sarah is a young Belgian soprano. Her recent success as the Teenager, in Jean-Luc Fafchamp's Is this the end ?  at la Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels marked the beginning of her international career. Last season she made critically acclaimed debuts at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin in a role written for her by Peter Eötvös (the Girl/Sleepless). She also debuted at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Nouvel Opéra Fribourg and Müpa Budapest. Last season she made critically acclaimed debuts as Zdenka (Arabella/Strauss) at the Teatro Real Madrid in the production of Christof Loy.

She performed Ligeti's Aventures/Nouvelles Aventures, Mysteries of the Macabre and Requiem in Müpa Budapest for the 100th Anniversary of the composer. She was elected "Young Musician of the Year 2022" by the Belgian Press Union. This season she will sing the role of Naomi in Bernard Foccroulle's new opera Cassandra in la Monnaie. She will also go back to Staatsoper Unter den Linden and showcase her one-woman-show

I HATE NEW MUSIC ! in Nouvel Opera Fribourg, la Monnaie/De Munt and Théâtre des Martyrs.

Her acting and piano training contributed to her personality and to her eclectic repertoire ranging from chamber music, to operas, recitals with orchestra or solo-voice shows, with a particular taste for XXth Century and contemporary music.

Sarah performed roles such as Cunegonde (Candide / Bernstein), Clorinda (La Cenerentola / Rossini), the Fairy (Cendrillon / Viardot),  Nannetta (Falstaff / Verdi), Musetta (La Bohème / Puccini), Frau Silberklang (Der Schauspieldirektor, Mozart), or Tonina (Prima la musica e poi le parole, Salieri). She sang with conductors such as Peter Eötvös, Maxime Pascal, David Afkham, Christophe Rousset, Speranza Scappucci, Fabio Mastrangelo, Jan-Latham-Koenig or Patrick Davin. Sarah won several international prizes and scholarships. She was awarded the Best Performer 2018 prize at the Armel International Opera Competition. 

Sarah holds a Master in Music from the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel and a PhD in the Arts from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

in full (800 words)


Sarah Defrise is a Belgian soprano. Her music education started at the age of four with the piano. After studying French literature at the Free University of Brussels (ULB), Sarah completed her masters degree (magna cum laude) in Singing at the Brussels Royal Conservatory then joined Daniel Ottevaere's class at the Ecole Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot in Paris, where she received her Concertist Diploma in 2016.

She holds a Master in music from the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel and a Phd in the Arts from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.


Sarah was awarded the Ceacilia Prize " Young Musician of the Year" by the Belgian Press Union. She has received a number of awards, including the Nany Philippart grant, the Young revelation Prize at the Vivonne 13th International  Competition,  3rd and Audience Prizes at the Bell'Arte, 3rd Prize at the New Tenuto. In 2016, she received the 1st Prize of Contemporary Melody at the Enesco Competition with the jury's congratulations. In July 2018, Sarah won 1st Prize at the Armel International Opera Competition in Budapest. Her performance was broadcasted live on Arte Concert.


Sarah actively participated in masterclasses with Mrs. Barbara Hendricks, Sir Thomas Allen, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, Sergei Leiferkus, Dietrich Henschel, Christianne Stotijn and Georg Nigl.



Sarah regularly performs with orchestra. Elected young revelation by the Ghent Festival, she sang with José Van Dam a duet recital with the Flanders Symphonic Orchestra directed by Jan Latham-Koenig. She sang with other orchestras such as the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia, The Chamber Orchestra of Toulouse, the Opera Orchestra of Liège, Sturm und Klang, the Royal Conservatory of Brussels Orchestra, Symphonia Assai, Orkest der Lage Landen, Dextuor, with conductors Jan Latham-Koenig, Fabio Mastrangelo, Bernard Delire, Thierry Huillet, Antoine Glatard, Wouter Lenaerts, Walter Proost, Thomas Van Haeperen and Flavien Boy. 

In July 2018, she created the soprano solo part in Thierry Huillet's Un requiem alongside Laura Tatulescu.

An outstanding recitalist, Sarah is also a regular chamber music performer. She has been invited as soloist to many festivals in Belgium and France (Festival de Sylvanès, Festival d'Auvers-sur-Oise, Rencontres Musicales d'Enghien, Ghent festival, Durbuyssimo in 2016; Eté Mosan, Soirées Musicales de Mont-Sur-Marchiennes, Concert de midi et demi de L'Université de Liège, Nantua, Correns, Canfranc, Madiran, or Estivales Lyriques de Wissant in 2017). 

Since 2016, Sarah is working with pianist Craig White on a Belgian and French 20th Century song repertoire. Together they recorded the complete songs of Joseph Jongen with the Belgian Label Musique en Wallonie.


In September 2020, Sarah made her debuts at La Monnaie/De Munt as the lead role in Is this the end? by Jean-Luc Fafchamps. Last season, she made her debuts in Staatsoper Berlin in Peter Eötvös's new opera Sleepless. She also made her debuts at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, in Der Goldene Drache, by Peter Eötvös. She sang in the second part of Is this the end ? by Jean-Luc Fafchamps at la Monnaie and made her debuts as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, in Opéra Royal de Wallonie with conductor Christophe Rousset. Last season, she made her debuts in Teatro Real Madrid as Zdenka (Arabella/Strauss) with conductor David Afkham and director Christof Loy.

In September 2014, Sarah made her operatic debuts at the Royal Opera House of Wallonia where she sang Clorinda (Cenerentola de Rosssini) alongside Marianna Pizzolato, Bruno de Simone, Dmitry Korchak, Enrico Marabelli, Laurent Kubla and Julie Bailly conducted by Paolo Arrivabeni and staged by Cécile Roussat and Julien Lubek. She was then reinvited to sing the Fairy in Cendrillon de Pauline Viardot. Since then, she sang Bastienne (Bastien und Bastienne/Mozart) in a 2013 production with wind octuor Eugène Bozza, Artavazd Sargsyan, Alfred Bironien and Daniel Ottevaere; Serpina  (La Serva Padrona/Pergolesi) with Valentiana Orchestra and Daniel Ottevaere; Frau Silberklang (Schauspieldirektor/Mozart) and Tonina (Prima la Musica e dopo le parole/Salieri) for the 40th anniversary of the Eté Mosan with the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia (dir.: B. Delire); Diane (Orphée aux Enfers/Offenbach) at the Royal Opera House of Wallonie (dir.: Cyril Englebert); Musetta (La Bohème/Puccini) and Nannetta (Falstaff/Verdi) for the International Young Conductors Competition at the ROHW. She created the role of the Madman in La lettre volée by Denis Bosse for Ars Musica in 2017. In July 2018, she was Calamity Jane in Ben Johnston's Calamity Jane : letters to her daughter in the Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse in Lyon and at the Armel Opera Festival in Budapest for which she was awarded the "Best Performer Prize 2018". She will sing Bacchis (La Belle Hélène/Offenbach) at the National Opera House of Lorraine in Nancy in December 2019.

She sang Cunegonde (Candide/Bernstein) alongside Thomas Blondelle (title role), with the Candide Ensemble, conducted by Patrick Leterme at Flagey, PBA Charleroi and the Royal Opera House of Wallonia.


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