The Scene


Susanna Phillips

Susanna Phillips
Zachary Maxwell

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. The 2015-16 season will see Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera for an eighth consecutive season starring as Roselinda in the Jeremy Sams production of Die Fledermaus conducted for the first time by music director James Levine, as well as a return of her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème. Phillips will also return to the stage of Lyric Opera of Chicago as Juliet in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet under the baton of Emmanuel Villaume. A return to Boston Lyric Opera will mark Phillips’ debut in the role of Hanna in a new production of Lehár’s The Merry Widow.

2015-16 orchestra engagements include a return to the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with David Robertson and the Sydney Symphony, and Mahler’s Das klagende Lied with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Phillips will also return to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for Vivier’s Lonely Child and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with David Robertson, as well as the Oratorio Society of New York for Filas’ Requiem with music director Kent Tritle.

Last season saw Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera starring as Antonia in Bartlett Sher’s production of Les Contes D’Hoffmann under the baton of James Levine, as well as a reprise of her house debut role of Musetta in La Bohème. Additional engagements included her debut at Oper Frankfurt as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Arminda in Mozart’s La Finta Giradiniera at Santa Fe Opera conducted by Harry Bicket, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Paul McCreesh and the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon and the title role in Handel’s Agrippina with Boston Baroque under Martin Pearlman.

Phillips’ 2014-15 orchestral engagements were highlighted by a performance of Fauré’s Requiem with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra with Jaap van Zweden and a return to the San Francisco Symphony for Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas. Additional performances included Strauss’ Four Last Songs at the opening night gala of the Louisiana Philharmonic’s season and with the Mexico National Symphony Orchestra, a solo concert with Music of the Baroque conducted by Jane Glover, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with Oratorio Society of New York, and Mendelssohn’s arrangement of Bach’s Matthäus-Passion with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia.

Highlights of Phillips’ previous seasons include numerous additional 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), 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 Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony. She made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Pamina, and subsequently performed a trio of other Mozart roles with the company as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, 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, Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice, and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Donna Anna, as well as appearances with the Dallas Opera, Minnesota Opera, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Birmingham.

Highly in demand by the world’s most prestigious orchestras, 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, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Santa Fe Concert Association.

A passionate chamber music collaborator, 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, 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 the 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.

Phillips had a magnificent 2005, winning 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. Philips 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.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Huntsville, over 400 people traveled from her hometown to New York City in December 2008 for Phillips’ Metropolitan Opera debut in La Bohème. She continues to be overwhelmed by the support she receives and returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances.

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