The most famous opera singer in the world lives in Clarens, on the outskirts of Montreux. Barbara Hendricks was born in 1948 in Stephens, Arkansas, in the United States. Her father was a pastor and she received a very strict upbringing. She first trained to Methodist hymns in the parish, before discovering jazz music at school. At the age of 20, she finished her degree in chemistry at the University of Nebraska and left to study music in New York, against her parents' advice.
The singer made her first public appearance in 1974 at the San Francisco Opera. She then began her international career playing the role of Suzanne in the Noces de Figaro and performed in the greatest opera houses such as La Scala or the Paris Opera. In 1977, she toured with Karajan, and then with Bernstein in 1985.
Barbara Hendricks has performed a variety of works such as Mozart'sThe Enchanted Flute, The French Melodies or Debussy'sMélisande. She hasn't confined herself to classical music, however, delving into jazz in 1994 for the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Mother of two children, she married Martin Engström, her agent, and moved with him to Verbier the same year. Her husband is the founder of the Verbier Festival and Academy, a summer festival of classical music at the heart of the Swiss Alps and at which Barbara Hendricks makes frequent performances. Currently separated from her husband, the opera singer left the alpine resort to settle on the shores of Lake Geneva in Clarens near Montreux.