A native of Bremen, Germany, Frauke May finished her master’s degree in voice with highest distinction and completed her vocal studies comprising opera, art song (Lied) and concert repertoire with the Konzertexamen (highest degree to be achieved at German conservatories) at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, under Prof. Rudolf Bautz. Even before graduation, she made her debut as Frau Reich in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the International Summer Opera Festival at Weikersheim Castle.
She won two first prizes at the Bundeswettbewerb Gesang (German National Vocal Competition), was awarded a scholarship by the Deutscher Musikrat (German Music Council), and was honored with the Europäischer Gesangsförderpreis (European Award for Young Singers) for the best Wagner interpretation. She was also an award recipient of the 43rd ARD International Music Competition in Munich in opera and concert repertoire.
Frauke May pursued further studies with Brigitte Fassbaender and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.
Contracts followed with opera companies in Aachen, Lübeck, Regensburg, Mainz, Heidelberg, Klagenfurt, Linz and Bonn. Her extensive repertoire includes roles such as Mrs. Quickly, Fenena, Herodias, Carmen, Rosina, Hänsel, Niklaus/Muse, Orlofsky, Czipra, Rossweisse, Waltrauteand Suzuki. Her international concert career has taken her to France, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA, where she has performed the major sacred and orchestral works for contralto and mezzo-soprano. Venues have included: Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Musiksaal Basel, Auditorio de Nacionale de Mùsica in Madrid, Auditorio Alfredo Kraus in Las Palmas, Kiev Philharmonic Hall, WDR-Radio Concert Hall and the cathedrals of Reims, Toledo and Paris. In Bayreuth she sang a recital in the Richard Wagner-Festival Soiree at the Villa Wahnfried.
In Germany, she has performed with the Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn, Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bochumer Sinfoniker, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and Philharmonica Hungarica under conductors such as Gustav Kuhn, Gary Bertini, Bernhard Kontarsky, Christoph Prick and Wayne Marshall. Radio recordings and live concert recordings by the BR (Bayerischer Rundfunk), WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk), MDR (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk), SWR (Südwest Rundfunk) and DLF (Deutschlandfunk) document these collaborations.
In an effort to strike a balance between her stage work and her fascination with the Lied, concert and chamber music repertoire, Frauke May also dedicates a great deal of her time to studio work in addition to her numerous recitals. The results include the world premiere recording of all of the Mörike-Lieder by Hugo Wolf, the complete Schlichte Weisen, Op.76, by Max Reger, and a selection of an additional 30 Max Reger songs. All released by BMG CLASSICS/Arte Nova.
Her latest release is the first complete CD recording with one Duo of Mahler’s “Lieder aus des Knaben Wunderhorn” and all of Julius Weismann’s settings of the Wunderhorn poems. A production of the MDR-FIGARO (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk), Leipzig, published by “Querstand”. All recordings feature Frauke May together with her duo partner, Bernhard Renzikowski.
Holder of a certificate in voice pedagogy from the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, Frauke May is also a passionate and experienced voice teacher, and has given private lessons and master classes (Italy, Germany) throughout her career. Several of her students have gone on to perform professionally. She is a member of the BDG ( German branch of the European Voice Teachers Association) and the DTKV (German umbrella organization of all music professions). As a jury member, she serves for voice – and chamber music competitions. She also appears as a narrator and reciter.
Frauke May is very committed to promoting greater public awareness of the work of Max Reger and has been the Secretary of the Board of the Internationale Max-Reger-Gesellschaft (IMRG) since 2005.
In the just released music film documentary (6 DVDs) “MAXIMUM REGER” – Max Reger the last Giant www.fuguestatefilms.com, published by NAXOS, the Mezzosoprano appears as a singer as well as a narrator.