Martin Wölfel was born in Potsdam, and studied singing at the Carl Maria von Weber College of Music in Dresden. At first, he concentrated on becoming a tenor before he found his true calling as a countertenor after visiting a recital given by Axel Köhler. After changing course, he studied with Margret Trappe-Wiel until 1999, finally as a master student. He furthered his studies by taking master classes with such distinguished musicians as Paul Esswood, Axel Köhler, Jessica Cash and Brigitte Fassbaender. At the same time, he undertook a lively series of concert activities.
The young singer has been engaged by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Choir, the Virtuosi Saxoniae, the Berlin Lautten Compagney, the Dresden Chamber Choir, the Rheinische Philharmonie, the Gürzenich Orchestra, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, the Stockholm Drottningholms Baroque Ensemble, the Britten-Pears Orchestra and the ‘Rheinische Kantorei’. In addition he has worked with other renowned orchestras and ensembles including the Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra, the Dresden Baroque Orchestra, the Berlin Oriol Ensemble, the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, the Dresden ‘Kreuzchor’, la Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy from Tourcoing, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Vienna ‘Klangforum’, the chamber choir ‘les éléments’, and the Jacques Moderne and Café Zimmermann ensembles.
Martin Wölfel is a popular guest singer at international festivals such as the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts, the Settimana Musicale Senese, the MDR Music Summer and the ‘Festival van Vlaanderen Brugge’. The list of prominent festivals can be continued with the Mosel ‘Festwochen’, the Stuttgart European Festival of Music, the Utrecht Festival of Early Music, the Dresden Music Festival and the ‘Septembre Musical – Festival de Musique Montreux-Vevey’.
Martin Wölfel has not only conquered the concert world but also the stage: he appeared as Arsace /”Berenice” at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe (Händel Festival), as Claire in the German premiere of John Lunn’s “The Maids” at the Dresden Semper Opera, as Oberon /”A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the National Theater Mannheim, as Pisandro /”Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria” at German Opera on the Rhine, and was a guest in Bernhard Lang’s “The Theatre of Repetitions” at the Steirische Herbst Festival in Graz and at the Opéra National de Paris in 2006.
Furthermore Martin Wölfel sang Ottone /”L’Incoronazione die Poppea” at the Opera of the Rhine, Orpheus /”Orpheus and Euridice” in Rostock, he appeared in the German premiere of Philip Glass’s opera “Galileo Galilei” at the Staatstheater Braunschweig, and sang the role of Helicon in the world premiere production of Detlef Glanert’s “Caligula”, a co-production by the opera houses in Frankfurt and Cologne, as well as the midwife Delfa /”Giasone” at the Frankfurt Opera House.
His other roles include: Guido /”Flavio”, Orlowsky /”Die Fledermaus”, Andronico /”Tamerlano”, the Devil in Detlev Glanert’s “Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung”, and he sang Tolomeo /”Giulio Cesare”, amongst others in Karoline Gruber’s production at the Hamburg State Opera House and the Cologne Opera House.
Wölfel has earned much praise from the critics for his appearances as Tolomeo during the Händel Festival in Karlsruhe in a production by Peer Boysen, conducted by Michael Hofstetter, as Edgar /”Lear” at the Frankfurt Opera House, as Fjodor in a new production of “Boris Godunow” at Semperoper in Dresden, and as Edgar /”Lear” at the Komische Oper Berlin in a production by Hans Neuenfels, Socceress /”Dido” and especially as both Orlowsky and Frosch in a new production of “Die Fledermaus” in Frankfurt (recorded for TV, stage director: Christoph Loy). In July 2011 he made his successful debut at Berlin Staatsoper – Artemis in Henze’s “Phaedra”.
Martin Wölfel is regular guest at Oper Frankfurt and returned to Berlin Deutsche Oper in 2017 for the world premiere of Aribert Reimann’s opera “L’Invisible”, in 2016/17 he also made his debut at Cardiff Welsh National Opera and Covent Garden London – “The Merchant of Venice”. Furthermore, he made his debuts in Oslo in 2017 and Seoul in 2018.
Future plans include among other engagements his return to Oper Frankfurt.
Wölfel has worked with such well-known conductors as Andreas Spering, Jane Glover, Ludwig Güttler, Sir Neville Marriner, Markus Stenz, Christopher Moulds, Sebastian Weigle and Michael Hofstetter. Amongst the directors who have had the pleasure of working with him as a singer and performer are David Mouchtar-Samourai, Christof Loy, Georges Delnon, Alexander Paeffgen, Anouk Nicklisch, Ullrich Peters, Vera Nemirowa, Andreas Baesler, Thilo Reinhardt, Arila Siegert and Christian Pade.
He has taken part in countless radio and CD recordings. The MDR Kultur channel broadcast a portrait of him in its series ‘MDR Profile’ – and nowadays his name is always mentioned when specialists are talking about the small group of prominent altos and countertenors.
Since 2007 Martin Wölfel has also been a teacher at the Folkwang Academy in Essen and the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf, he also established his own masterclass festival (www.kronenburg-classes.de). Since 2017 he is Professor for life-time in Essen.