The Australian-born lyric coloratura soprano, Rachelle Durkin, studied at Maddington Senior High School in Maddington, Western Australia. She studied music at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in Mount Lawley, Western Australia. She began her career by winning the top three vocal competitions in Australia in 2000: The Herald Sun Aria Competition, The Marianne Mathy Scholarship and The Metropolitan Opera Award. Another win followed at the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and she was invited to join the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program where she remained from 2001 to 2004.
Rachelle Durkin made her Met debut as the First Handmaiden in Sly with Plácido Domingo and subsequently appeared as Miss Schlesen in Satyagraha and Clorinda in La Cenerentola (both recorded live for commercial DVD release), Masha in Pique Dame, Frasquita in Georges Bizet's Carmen, Elvira in L’Italiana in Algeri, and First Flower Maiden in Parsifal (also at Salzburg Festival as part of the MET tour with James Levine), as well as covering many principal soprano roles. Her recent spur-of-the-moment appearance as Norina in place of an ailing colleague won her a Sirius Broadcast, a thunderous standing ovation, MET engagements for the future, and a permanent place in the hearts of the New York public.
Other notable engagements include the role of Donna Anna in W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni (conductor: Mark Wigglesworth) and Contessa in W.A. Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (conductor: Patrick Summers) both for Opera Australia’s CinemaLive HD Movie and commercial DVD release; for West Australian Opera she appeared as the Heroines in Les contes d’Hoffmann and debuted as Amina in La Sonnambula. She additionally appeared as Fiordiligi in W.A. Mozart's Cosi fan tutte in the new Jim Sharman production broadcast live by ABC Television and Tytania in Baz Luhrmann’s groundbreaking production of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
A highly adept interpreter of a wide range of repertoire spanning from the Baroque to modern masterpieces, Rachelle Durkin's other great successes include the role of Kumudha in John Adams’ A Flowering Tree for Perth’s International Arts Festival; for Opera Australia she sang the title roles in George Frideric Handel's Alcina (conductor: Richard Hickox, 2007), Armida (conductor: Trevor Pinnock) as well as Angelica in Orlando for which she became a Helpmann Award nominee for her outstanding performance in each production.
Additional appearances include Gilda in Rigoletto with ABAO Bilbao and State Opera of South Australia, Konstanze in W.A. Mozart's Abduction from the Serail for Hawaii Opera, Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein's Candide with Bellingham Festival of Music, and Corinna in Il Viaggio a Reims at Chicago Opera Theater. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist in G.F. Handel's Messiah.
In the 2013-2014 season Rachelle Durkin also appeared with Opera Australia as Norina in Don Pasquale, and subsequently with West Australian Opera for the role of Musetta in La Boheme under the baton of its music director, Joe Colaneri. She performed with Maestro Asher Fisch and the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra for Rossini’s Stabat Mater before continuing to Opera Australia as Adina in L’elisir d’amore. Recent successes include her highly successful debut as Violetta in La Traviata in Francesca Zambello’s acclaimed new production for Opera Australia on the harbor, a role she also sang at Hong Kong Opera. Prior to that she made her debut in the title role Lucia di Lammermoor at Chautauqua Opera.
In the 2014-2015 season Rachelle Durkin performed Violetta in La Traviata with Ft. Worth Opera, Norina in Don Pasquale for Opera Australia, and joined Bryn Terfel in concert at Leeuwin Estate Winery. 2015-2016 season engagements included her debut with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Donna Anna, Adina in L’elisir D’amore for Opera Australia, Soloist in G.F. Handel's Messiah with Sydney Philharmonia, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Hawaii Opera Theatre, and the title role in Haydn’s Armida in Sydney with Pinchgut Opera.
Rachelle Durkin returned to the Metropolitan Opera recently as Lisa in La Sonnambula conducted by Marco Amiliato, and Clorinda in La Cenerentola under the baton of Fabio Luisi. Highlights for 2017 include Adina in L'elisir D'amore with West Australian Opera, Musetta in La Boheme with Hawaii Opera and L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She currently lives in New York City.