Mezzo-soprano Delores Ziegler gradually built her career, first in concert work then in opera, though largely basing her activity in the U.S. After her 1981 European debut in Bonn, however, she became an international presence, centering many of her engagements in Germany, Italy, and England. She eventually debuted at the Met, and then appeared at most of the major opera houses in the U.S., including the Lyric Opera in Chicago and the San Francisco Opera. Ziegler is probably best known for her numerous portrayals of Dorabella in Mozart's Così fan tutte. In fact, she has recorded the role on CD probably more than any other mezzo, having appeared in three separate efforts led by, respectively, Bernard Haitink (EMI), Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Teldec), and Riccardo Muti (Sony). Ziegler has hardly been typecast in this or any of a number of Mozart roles she has sung; however, her repertory takes in Bizet (Carmen), Richard Strauss (Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier), Rossini (Rosina in The Barber of Seville) and many others from Monteverdi, Bellini, Verdi, Gounod, and contemporary composers like Jens-Peter Ostendorf, whose opera Murieta was premiered with Ziegler in a lead role (Teresa). Ziegler's recordings are available on DG, Telarc, New World Records, and the labels mentioned above.
Delores Ziegler was born in Atlanta, GA, on September 4, 1951. After studies at the University of Tennessee, she became active in concert work. In 1978-1979 she trained for the stage through the Santa Fe Opera's apprentice program. Meanwhile, she debuted in a pair of Verdi roles in 1978: Flora in La Traviata at the Knoxville Opera and Maddalena in Rigoletto at the Saint Louis Opera.
Following her acclaimed 1981 European debut in Bonn as Dorabella, she began regularly appearing overseas, with notable debuts at Cologne (1982), La scala (1984), and Glyndebourne (1984), where she again portrayed Dorabella.
Ziegler debuted at the Met in 1990 singing Siebel in Gounod's Faust. The following year she debuted at the San Francisco Opera in the trouser role of Romeo in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi. By this time Ziegler's recordings were drawing acclaim, as with the 1990 J.S. Bach Mass in B minor and the 1991 Mahler Eighth Symphony, both led by Robert Shaw on Telarc. In the new century Ziegler has remained active in opera and concert work, but is devoting much time to teaching as a faculty member at the New England Conservatory of Music.