Marlis Petersen studied at the Stuttgart Conservatory and with Sylvia Geszty, specialising in opera, new music, and dance. She started her career as a member of the City Stage of Nuremberg, also giving guest performances throughout Germany. In 1998 she was engaged at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.
Her many engagements include Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) at London’s Covent Garden and Oscar (Un ballo in maschera) at the Bregenz Festival; Adele in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, the Metropolitan Opera New York, and the Chicago Lyric Opera; Elisa in Il re pastore and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival; and Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and the Festival of Aix-en-Provence.
Marlis Petersen is also an active interpreter of modern and contemporary music. She gave her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper as Lulu, a central role in her repertoire. Marlis Petersen has taken part in several world premieres, such as Hans Werner Henze’s Phaedra, Manfred Trojahn’s La grande magia, and Aribert Reimann’s Medea (title role).
In concert, she works closely with Helmuth Rilling and the International Bach Academy Stuttgart, as well as with René Jacobs.