After her classical voice formation, the Belgian soprano Esther-Elisabeth Rispens performed among others on stages in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Hungary. Her recent performances at the Venice Biennale in September 2022 were enthusiastically received by both the public and the press because of her exceptional virtuosity, her extensive vocal range and her vivid scenic presence. In October 2021 she performed the role of the soprano in the opera production Into the little hill by George Benjamin at the Müpa concert hall in Budapest, conducted by Gregory Vajda, and directed by Csaba Horváth. She made her debut in 2019 as the leading role in the opening concert of the Venice Biennale Musica, in A pirate who does not know the value of Pi, a world creation by composer Lucia Ronchetti. In the upcoming season she will be the first soprano in a new production from A-Ronne by Luciano Berio with the HYOID ensemble, with performances in the Benelux.
Her love for the theatricality of contemporary music is reflected in the duo Goggles, which she founded together with Wim Pelgrims (percussion) in 2020. Despite its short existence, Goggles is the winner of the Supernova competition organized by Klarafestival, Flemish radio. Goggles already played in Bozar and in Flagey in 2022 and will be performing among others in Ypres during the Art Festival Watou and in the Concertgebouw Brugge in the 2022-2023 season. During the Bijloke Summer Academy (Ghent, 2020), the duo created the performance A Room together with Belgian composer Thomas Smetryns. This music was recorded in De Bijloke with a CD recording that will be released in 2022. In addition, a new opera is being composed especially for Goggles by the Israeli composer Lior Navok that will have his world premiere in November 2023 at De Bijloke (Ghent).
Esther-Elisabeth Rispens is the singer of the Nemø ensemble: a young collective that gives contemporary and experimental music a new and modern look. Nemø ensemble has already appeared on stages such as De Singel (Antwerp) – together with the Hermes Ensemble -, De Bijloke (Ghent), and at the International Summercourse Darmstadt, together with the Nadar Ensemble.
Esther-Elisabeth Rispens studied Classical Singing at the School of Arts Ghent, where she obtained her master’s degree under Mireille Capelle in 2017 and her teacher’s diploma in 2019. From 2014 to 2018, she also took lessons with baritone Louis Landuyt, and she currently works with Donatienne Michel-Dansac (Paris) and Don Marrazzo (US). Esther-Elisabeth Rispens has also participated in various masterclasses and music festivals, such as the International Summercourse Darmstadt (Germany), the Akademie für Zeitgenössische Musik in Lucerne (Switzerland), Impuls Festival (Austria), the Abbaye de Royaumont (France).
Esther-Elisabeth Rispens was on stage very early. After her first steps in the children’s choirs of the Royal Opera house La Monnaie in Brussels, she sang the leading role of ‘Captain’ in Benjamin Britten’s The Golden Vanity at the age of fifteen at the Royal Opera house La Monnaie. She then played the role of ‘Becky Thatcher’ in David Miller’s Tom Sawyer (Ars Lyrica). At a young age she also created the piece A Romantic Environment by Belgian composer Thomas Smetryns (Matrix).