Emily Magee studied at Indiana University with Margaret Harshaw. Her breakthrough came in 1994 when she made a last-minute debut as Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte at Chicago Lyric Opera, while still a member of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. In 1996 she made her European debut in the same role at Opéra National de Paris, and her German debut as Elsa in Lohengrin at Berlin State Opera. She made her debut at the Bayreuth Festival in 1997 as Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Subsequently her career took her to leading opera houses and companies, including Milan's La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Zurich Opera House, Hamburg State Opera, Dresden State Opera, the opera houses of Berlin, Barcelona’s Liceu, and Paris Opera.
Ms. Magee starts the 2019–20 season at Dresden Opera House in performances of the title role of Tosca and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. She makes her debut at Prague Opera House as Leonore in Fidelio and returns to Dresden, again as Tosca. At Vienna’s Musikverein and Saint Pölten she appears as soprano part in Verdi’s Requiem, and she can be heard as Isolde in concerts of Act III of Tristan und Isolde with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She makes her San Francisco Symphony debut at these performances.
Highlights of last season include appearances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Sieglinde (role debut) and Gutrune in their Ring Cycle revival. At the Vienna State Opera Arabella was on the program, and at Deutsche Oper Berlin she sang the role of Ghita in a new production of Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg. The season closed with various concerts, including Mahler's Eighth Symphony at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Zemlinksy’s Lyric Symphony at Hamburg's Laeiszhalle, Die Walküre at Seoul Opera, Frau ohne Schatten at the Verbier Festival, and Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder with the Helsinki Philharmonic. She can be seen in numerous filmed performances, including her debut as Tosca, with Jonas Kaufmann, from Zurich Opera House.