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 2018-19 season, Ms. Phillips will return to the Metropolitan Opera for an eleventh consecutive season to sing her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème. She will also make two role debuts as Micaela in Carmen and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Metropolitan Opera. With Cincinnati Opera, Ms. Phillips will sing the role of Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. Orchestrally, Ms. Phillips will perform and record Berg’s Sieben Frühe Lieder with the San Francisco Symphony, led by Michael Tilson Thomas, and will sing Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest. Ms. Phillips will celebrate the bicentennial of Alabama with her native Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, performing Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder. This summer’s highlights include a recital with Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the 10th Anniversary of chamber music with Twickenham Fest.
The 2017-18 season saw Ms. Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera to sing her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème. She made her role and company debut as Birdie in Blitzstein’s Regina with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, sharing the stage with Susan Graham and James Morris. Orchestra engagements included Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, the soprano solo in Elijah with the Music of the Baroque in Chicago, concerts in New York and Chicago with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Teddy Abrams’s leading the Milwaukee Symphony. She also gave a recital at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. Highlights of Ms. Phillips’s previous opera seasons include numerous Metropolitan Opera appearances: Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with James Levine conducting, in what the New York Times called a “breakthrough night,” Rosalinde in a new production of 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), as Clémence in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin, 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 Ms. Phillips went on to perform, to rave reviews, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She also has sang Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony in St. Louis and at Carnegie Hall.
Ms. Phillips made her Zurich Opera debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and 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. 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. 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. Phillips has made appearances at 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 Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Atlanta Symphony, Santa Fe Concert Association, Boston Baroque, and her native Huntsville Symphony.
An avid chamber music collaborator, Ms. Phillips recently teamed with bass-baritone Eric Owens for a recital of Schubert lieder, 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, and the Emerson String Quartet in Thomasville, Georgia with Warren Jones and colleagues from the Metropolitan Opera. She co-founded Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival in her native Huntsville, Alabama, which will celebrate its 10th Season in 2019. Ms. Phillips 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 Second and Fourth Symphonies, 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.
A native of Huntsville, Alabama, over 400 people traveled from her hometown to New York City in December 2008 for Ms. Phillips’ Metropolitan Opera debut in La Bohème. She returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances.
28 May 2019 | 44 mins 3 secs
Susanna Phillips gets together to discuss role prep, loving the process, retiring a role, and the joys of singing!