A native of Philadelphia, Leah Hawkins is in her third season of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera. In the 2017-18 season she will appear at WNO as Ma Zegner in the premiere of Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, and Voce dal cielo in Verdi's Don Carlo. In the 2016-17 season she appeared at WNO as the I-Will-Sell-My-Children-Mom in the premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s The Dictator’s Wife and, to great acclaim, as Cousin Blanche/Sadie Griffith in Champion, Terence Blanchard’s “opera in jazz.” Additionally she appeared in Justice at the Opera with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, performing scenes from Aida and Un ballo in maschera with the Washington National Opera Orchestra.
In the 2015-16 season she appeared at WNO as Mrs. Dorsey/Amelia Boynton in the world premiere of the revised version of Philip Glass’s Appomattox; The Answerer/Ensemble in Lost in the Stars; Serena in Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Lucia in The Thieving Magpie as a young artist at The Glimmerglass Festival. Previously a mezzo-soprano, other roles include Julia Child in Lee Hoiby’s one-woman opera, Bon Appétit, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, La Badessa in Suor Angelica, Tisbe in La Cenerentola, and Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffmann.
On the concert stage she has appeared as Carmen in Carmen Jones and Holiday Joy with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra; Handel’s Messiah with the Black Pearl Orchestra; Mahler’s Second Symphony with Yale Philharmonia; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Suor Angelica with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra; El amor brujo with the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Recently she appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra in Leonard Bernstein's Songfest; The Philadelphia Orchestra in the world premiere of Nolan Williams Jr.'s Hold Fast to Dreams; the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in a concert of vocal works by Beethoven; and as a guest soloist with the U.S. Air Force Orchestra. Later this season she will appear in concerts with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and The Apollo Orchestra.
Summer festival credits include The Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance Program, Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy (YAVA), Central City Opera, The Chautauqua Opera Company, and The Glimmerglass Festival.
Awards include a Career Development Grant from The Sullivan Foundation, the Studio Artist Award from The Chautauqua Opera Guild, the David L. Kasdon Memorial Prize, given to an outstanding singer in the Yale School of Music, and 2nd Place at the New England Region Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has also received prizes from The Young Patronesses/Florida Grand Opera Vocal Competition, The George London Foundation Competition, Opera Ebony’s Benjamin Matthews Vocal Competition, and The Marcello Giordani International Vocal Competition.
Leah received her Master of Music in Voice from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in Music from Morgan State University.