The American soprano, Debra Stanley, graduated in 2004 from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Carol Webber. She later attended the Lieder class of pianist Hartmut Höll and mezzo-soprano Mitsuko Shirai at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe and studied privately with Rudolf Piernay in Germany. She received a fellowship to study and perform at the Ravinia Festival as part of the Steans Institute for Young Artists in the summer of 2006. She also participated in other summer programs such as Songfest in California, the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado, and the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Austria. She has coached with artists such as Rudolf Piernay, Martin Katz, Malcolm Martineau, Elly Ameling, Edith Wiens, Rudolf Jansen, Helmut Deutsch, and Graham Johnson, and sung in master-classes with Christa Ludwig, Julia Varady, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, after which she was invited to study privately with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in Berlin for two weeks. Additionally she spent a year at the Paris Conservatoire through an Erasmus exchange grant.
Debra Stanley won third prize at the 2006 International Euriade Vocal Concours in Kerkrade, Holland. She also won first prize at the Sue Goetz Memorial Voice Competition in Washington, D.C. and second prize in the Jesse Kneisel Lieder Competition at the Eastman School of Music. She was awarded the Golden Key International Honor Society study abroad scholarship toward her studies in Germany. In 2006, she was one of the winners of the CyberSing - Internet-based art song performance competition of Lotte Lehmann Foundation. She was also a winner of the Festival Voice Competition.
Debra Stanley is active as an opera singer and recitalist in both America and Europe. She made her professional debut as a Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2008. She has performed at prestigious festivals such as Ravinia and Aspen, and in cities such as Paris, Monte Carlo, Berlin, Hamburg, Mannheim, and Karlsruhe. In 2009, she portrayed Zerlina in Don Giovanni during the Aspen Music Festival at Aspen Opera Theater, and was also engaged at Opera Theatre of St. Louis in the USA. Debra Stanley recently sang the role of Frasquita in Palm Beach Operas 2010 production of Carmen. She also was featuredin Palm Beach Operas Young Artist productions of Cosí fan tutte as Despina, Orfeo ed Euridice as Euridice, and Albert Herring as Miss Wordsworth.