Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of The Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, continues to establish herself as one of today’s most sought-after singing actors and recitalists.
In the 2017-18 season, Ms. Phillips returned to the Metropolitan Opera for a tenth consecutive season to sing her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème, which will be broadcast through the Met’s Live in HD series. She will also make her role debut as Birdie in Blitzstein’s Regina in her debut with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, sharing the stage with Susan Graham and James Morris. Orchestra engagements this season include Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, the soprano solo in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem with the Oratorio Society, the soprano solo in Elijahwith the Music of the Baroque in Chicago, concerts in New York and Chicago with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Teddy Abrams’s leading the Milwaukee Symphony, Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, and Poulenc’s Gloria with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. She will also give a recital at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago.
The 2016-17 season saw Ms. Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera as Clémence in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin conducted by Susanna Mälkki and as Musetta in La bohème. In March 2017, Ms. Phillips made her Zurich Opera debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She also appeared as Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Boston Baroque and Martin Pearlman. Orchestra engagements last season included a return to the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting a program of American songs, Mozart’s “Exsultate Jubilate” and his Mass in C Minor with Jane Glover and the Music of the Baroque, the Britten War Requiem with Kent Tritle and the Oratorio Society of New York, as well as Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Robert Spano leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Phillips also performed recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Celebrity Series of Boston, and with Eric Owens at the Washington Performing Arts in a program co-curated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Highlights of Ms. Phillips’s previous opera seasons include numerous Metropolitan Opera appearances as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte in what the New York Times called a “breakthrough night,” Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni,Pamina in Julie Taymor’s production of The Magic Flute, Musetta in La bohème (both in New York and on tour in Japan), Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and as a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series in both Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. She also appeared at Carnegie Hall for a special concert performance as Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Reneé Fleming – a role she went on to perform, to rave reviews, at Lyric Opera of Chicago and as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimeswith the St. Louis Symphony. She made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Pamina, and subsequently performed a quartet of other Mozart roles with the company as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Arminda in La finta giardiniera, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. As a member of the Ryan Opera Center, Phillps sang the female leads in Roméo et Juliette and Die Fledermaus. Additional roles include Elmira in Reinhard Keiser’s The Fortunes of King Croesus, and the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor and Agrippina, as well as appearances with the Oper Frankfurt, Dallas Opera, Minnesota Opera, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Birmingham.
Highly in demand by the world’s most prestigious orchestras, Ms. Phillips has appeared with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Santa Fe Concert Association.
An avid chamber music collaborator, Ms. Phillips recently teamed with bass-baritone Eric Owens for a recital of all Schubert which they have taken on tour in Chicago with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the Gilmore Festival, and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Additional recital engagements included chamber music concerts with Paul Neubauer and Anne Marie McDermott, an appearance at the Parlance Chamber Music Series with Warren Jones, the 2014 Chicago Collaborative Works Festival, the Emerson String Quartet in Thomasville, Georgia with Warren Jones and colleagues from the Metropolitan Opera, and at Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival she co-founded in her native Huntsville, Alabama. The soprano also made her solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall with pianist Myra Huang.
Other recent concert and oratorio engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, the Fauré and Mozart Requiems, Carmina Burana, and Handel’s Messiah. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with Skitch Henderson, Rob Fisher, and the New York Pops. Following her Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut under Marin Alsop, the Baltimore Sun proclaimed: “She’s the real deal.”
In August 2011, Ms. Phillips was featured at the opening night of the Mostly Mozart Festival, which aired live on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS. The same year saw the release of Paysages, her first solo album on Bridge Records, which was hailed as “sumptuous and elegantly sung” (San Francisco Chronicle). The following year saw her European debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona.
As resident artist at the 2010 and 2011 Marlboro Music Festivals, she was part of Marilyn Horne Foundation Gala at Carnegie Hall, made her New York solo recital debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, and appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC under the auspices of the Vocal Arts Society.
In 2005 Ms. Phillips won four of the world’s leading vocal competitions: Operalia (both First Place and the Audience Prize), the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacAllister Awards, and the George London Foundation Awards Competition. She has also claimed the top honor at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition, and has won first prizes from the American Opera Society Competition and the Musicians Club of Women in Chicago. Ms. Phillips has received grants from the Santa Fe Opera and the Sullivan Foundation, and is a graduate of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center. She holds both a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and continues collaboration with her teacher Cynthia Hoffmann.