Anglo-German soprano Julia Thornton was born and educated in Chester, G.B. but has been based in Germany since 1995. She discovered her love of music through dance, taking ballet classes from the age of 4, and as a flautist, playing the flute in several local orchestras as a teenager. She read music at London University and trained as a singer at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, G.B. She continues her studies privately with renowned teachers and coaches such as Neil Semer (New York) and Margaret Singer (Karlsruhe, Paris).
Julia made her German opera debut with Theater Freiburg in June 2008 as Helmwige in their acclaimed production of Wagner’s “Die Walküre”. Her operatic roles have included the Governess in “The Turn of the Screw” for the Britten-Pears School conducted by Britten specialist Steuart Bedford; the Countess in “Le nozze di Figaro” for Oxford University Opera; Micaela in Bizet’s “Carmen” and Nedda in Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci”, both for Opera Classica Europa; Brünnhilde in a shortened version of Wagner’s “Der Ring der Nibelungen” for young audiences at Theater Freiburg and in October 2016, her debut in the role of Donna Anna in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” for Opera Classica Europa at the historical baroque Eckhof Theater in Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha, Germany.
She has sung internationally as a concert singer and maintains a wide repertoire, stretching from songs of medieval trobairitz Comtessa de Dia via composers of the classical & romantic periods such as Schubert, Wagner and Verdi, as far as contemporary music and also including Russian and Czech repertoire. Her work with orchestra includes the sopranos in Mahler Symphonies nos 2 and 4, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mendelssohn’s oratorio “Elijah” and the “Liebestod” from Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”. Recent highlights include performances for the Valentiny Foundation, Luxembourg of Respighi’s “Il tramonto” with Quatuor Elysée, Wagner’s “Wesendonck Lieder” with the Musikkollegium Orchestra in Freiburg-im-Breisgau and a Wagner opera gala at the Markgräfliches Opernhaus, Bayreuth with the Smetana Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by maestro Hans Richter.
In 2006 she performed in South America for the first time, singing the soprano solo in Verdi’s “Messa di Requiem” and an Italian opera gala programme in prestigious venues such as Sala Sâo Paulo and the Teatro Municipal Rio de Janeiro.
In March 2012 she enjoyed great personal success at the inaugural Música em Trancoso festival in the Brazilian state of Bahia, performing opera arias by Puccini, Verdi, Gershwin and Bernstein with the Orquestra Juvenil da Bahia under their conductor Ricardo Castro, alongside artists such as Katia and Marielle Labeque and musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
In February 2014 she made her debut with the Orquestra Jovem do Estato de São Paulo and their chief conductor Cláudio Cruz as soprano soloist in Richard Strauss‘ “Vier Letzte Lieder” in Sala São Paulo and at the Música em Trancoso Festival 2014.
She returned to Música em Trancoso in March 2017 as soprano soloist in a film music programme and an Italian opera gala with the Orquestra Acadêmica do Teatro Colón.
She is particularly active in the field of chamber music, where her partners include cellists Mark Drobinsky, Igor Kiritchenko and Paruyr Shahazizian, violinists Yuri Kuroda and Rüdiger Liebermann, violist Julian Shaw, clarinettist Walter Seyfarth, pianists Simon Adda-Reyss, Gabriela Torma, Margaret Singer, Charles Matthews and pianist/accordionist Hermann Haege.
She is artist director of the project Schubert im Dorfgasthaus in her home village in the Black Forest, Germany, which aims to bring classical chamber music to new audiences; she recently extended her qualifications by successfully completing a certificate course in cultural management at the University of Vienna in January 2020.