Yesterday, German Minister of Culture Bernd Sibler presented the international opera star Diana Damrau with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in a ceremony that took place in Munich. The singer, who comes from the Swabian town of Günzburg and is celebrated worldwide, received this prestigious award from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for her cultural and social contributions.
In addition to her impressive successes in the most important opera houses around the world, Minister of Culture Bernd Sibler also emphasised the star soprano’s social commitment and ties to her homeland in his speech. “For more than 20 years, you have conquered the stages of the leading international opera houses and concert halls from London to Milan to New York, as well as the major festivals, and in the meantime you have made your home all over the world – but you have always remained a native of Günzburg and for decades have been involved in the cultural life of your hometown to an outstanding degree,” Sibler stated, referring to Damrau’s many appearances in the large district town. “In addition, you are involved in numerous children’s projects and are always committed to charitable causes.”
Damrau, who is known for her expressive and at the same time particularly nuanced vocal coloratura thanks to the enormous range of her soprano voice, the highest human vocal register, was discovered during her school years at Günzburg’s Dossenberger Gymnasium. In the course of her stage career, she collected numerous national and international awards. Damrau also became known to an audience of millions through TV broadcasts, for example at the opening gala of the 2006 World Cup in Munich’s Olympic Stadium.
Diana Damrau has always maintained a special bond with Bavaria as her home. Back in 2007 she was appointed Bayerische Kammersängerin, in 2010 she received the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art and in 2016 the Bavarian Order of Merit. She also expresses her ties to Bavaria through numerous engagements at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, which is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world. Most recently, she participated there in the 2019/20 season in the new production of Verdi’s I Masnadieri.
The Minister of Culture expressly praised Damrau’s commitment to social causes, recalling not only her regular involvement in the “Sternstunden” campaign launched by the Bayerischer Rundfunk to support sick, disabled and needy children. In addition to many other engagements for the common good, she performed with the Munich Radio Orchestra in November 2016 at the Prinzregententheater at a benefit concert for refugees, as well as in January 2015 at the celebrated concert in the Herkulessaal, which raised more than 800,000 euros for the benefit of the planned Center for Pediatric Medicine and Obstetrics at Ludwig Maximilian University.
“I am so pleased to receive this special award and would like to use it as an opportunity to encourage young artists not to lose sight of their goal in difficult times and to follow their calling. So I ask the politicians to create even better framework conditions in the future and to give young people a chance. Culture is not just a leisure activity, but a mission. A mission for understanding, peace, love and reconciliation, as well as a balm for our souls.” – Diana Damrau