Soprano Chen Reiss has a large repertory stretching from Gluck to Stravinsky, in which music of Richard Strauss is especially prominent. Reiss is equally popular in her native Israel, Europe, and the U.S., and she has performed and recorded with both conventional and historically oriented ensembles.
Reiss was born in 1978 in Herzlia, in suburban Tel Aviv, Israel. Her father was an auto mechanic, but her mother enjoyed singing of various kinds. She started piano lessons at age five and ballet at seven, but it was the voice lessons she began at 14 that stuck. As a student at Thelma Yellin High School, she also studied French, German, and Italian, and by 16, she had settled on a singing career. Reiss fulfilled her compulsory Israeli military service and then performed with the Israeli Defense Forces' Symphony Orchestra. When Reiss was 20, she moved to New York for voice courses at Brooklyn College, where she studied with Ruth Falcon. After graduating, Reiss won a place in the cast at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, where conductor Zubin Mehta became another important mentor. She gained wide visibility in 2006 when she sang soundtrack music in the German film Das Parfum with the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle. In 2009, Reiss moved to the Vienna State Opera, and since then, she has appeared in many of Europe's leading opera houses, including La Scala, the Semperoper in Dresden, and, for the first time in 2018, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. She has also been in demand as a concert singer, perhaps most notably performing Mozart's Mass in C minor, K. 427, at a 2014 Midnight Mass in the presence of Pope Francis I. She has appeared with conductors including Manfred Honeck, Daniel Barenboim, and Paavo Järvi. In 2019, Reiss appeared with the Orchestre National de France at the Eiffel Tower in Paris as part of the national Bastille Day ceremonies.
Reiss has issued a varied catalog of recordings, beginning with an album of Italian songs by Schubert and Donizetti on the PhilArtis label. She has mostly recorded for Onyx, issuing unusual voice-and-piano (such as Le rossignol et la rose, 2012) and operatic recitals. In 2020, Reiss released Immortal Beloved, a collection of Beethoven arias recorded with the Academy of Ancient Music under Richard Egarr.