Born in Germany, Petersen had already trained in the piano and traverse flute before she decided to dedicate herself to the instrument which today inspires her audience. At the conservatoire, in Stuttgart, she studied to become a high school music teacher whilst being instructed in classical singing by Sylvia Geszty. Yet her ever-restless spirit urged her towards another passion. She trained in jazz-dance and tap-dancing at the New York City Dance School in Stuttgart, shortly after earning engagements in show business. Despite this she stayed connected to the classical repertoire as she continued further studies in Opera and Contemporary Music and three years after being a prize winner in the operatic category at the VDMK competition in Berlin in 1990, she also won an award in the category of Musical-Chanson-Song.
Queen of the night, Nuremberg Opera 1997, Robert SöllnerIn 1994, the soprano began her professional career at the Nuremberg Opera with roles like Ännchen (“The Free-Shooter”), Blonde ("The Abduction from the Seraglio"), Oscar ("A Masked Ball"), Adele ("The Bat"), Zerbinetta ("Ariadne on Naxos") and the Queen of the Night ("The Magic Flute").
Following, between 1998 and 2003, Marlis Petersen joined the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf-Duisburg where she made many successful appearances in roles like Susanna (“The marriage of Figaro”), Morgana ("Alcina"), Norina ("Don Pasquale"), Viola ("Twelfth Night"), Sophie ("The Knight of the Rose"), Marie ("The Daughter of the Regiment") and Bystrouška ("The Cunning Little Vixen"). Later on she triumphed as Konstanze in Mozart’s “The Abduction from the Seraglio” in Frankfurt, Brussels and Aix en Provence.
Lulu, Athens Megaron 2005 ☞ StefanosA role which has marked her career is Alban Berg´s heroine Lulu.
After performing it in Nuremberg, Kassel and Dusseldorf, she gave her Vienna State Opera debut with this role in 2002. Critics characterised her as the ideal child-woman that guides her voice accurately through all the perils of the score - agile and brilliant in the high tessitura. She has also performed Lulu in Peter Konwitschny´s well-recognized production in Hamburg (2003), at the Lyric Opera Chicago (2008), the Metropolitan Opera New York (2010), in Megaron, the Athens Concert Hall (2005) where she also appeared as Donna Clara in “The Dwarf” by Zemlinsky (2007) and Massenet´s “Thais” (2009). After Lulu number 9 at Bavarian State Opera in Munich she announced her ever last Lulu at the MET in William Kendtrige new production in the autumns of 2015. A cycle of 18 years and 10 production has closed!
Marlis Petersen has performed at the Bregenz Festival the page boy Oscar (2000), as Adele at La Bastille in Paris (2000), at the MET New York (2005) and at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (2007). In September 2002 she mesmerised London audience at Covent Garden as Zerbinetta in a sparkling series of Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne on Naxos”.
In the year 2003 she performed her Bavarian State Opera debut with Mozart’s Queen of the Night followed by Adele in the succeeding seasons. At the Geneva Grand Theatre she appeared as the Nightingale in Walter Braunfels’ “The Birds” (2004).
In 2006 she performed for the first time at Salzburg Festival Elisa in Mozart’s “Il Re Pastore” followed by Susanna in “The Marriage of Figaro” (2008), a role she successfully performed at the L.A. Opera conducted by Plácido Domingo (2010). ....
She collaborates with baroque music ensembles (in particular: Le Concert des Nations, Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri,Cappella Neapolitana, Il canto di Orfeo, LaBarocca, Cantar Lontano, La Venexiana, La Divina Armonia, Dolce e Tempesta) and she performs in Italy and abroad: Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Valletta International Baroque Festival, Concerti del Quirinale, Festival Milano Musica, Sicut Sagittae, Ravenna Festival, Festival Monteverdi Cremona, Gran Teatre del Liceu de Barcelona, Arsenal de Metz, Opera de Rouen, DeSingel Anversa, Festival des Abbayes en Lorraine, Festival Barocco Boliviano, Philharmonie Paris, Pavia Barocca, Bozar Music, LaVerdi Barocca, Festival d’Ambronay, Festival Pergolesi Spontini, Festival de La Chaise-Dieu, Festival Baroque du Pays du Mont Blanc, Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, Oh! Festival, Festival de l’Haut Jurà, Festival AMUZ, Festival MiTo, George Enescu Festival Bucarest, Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht, Saison Musicale de Royaumont, Festival de Sablé, Semana de Musica Religiosa de Cuenca, Misteria Paschalia, Musikfest, Seviqc Brezice, Festival Freunde alter Musik, Internasjonale Kirkemusikkfestival, Osterfestival Tirol, Salzburger Bachgesellschaft, Centro di Musica Antica Pietà de’ Turchini, Barockfestival, Clasicos en Alcalà.