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Praised for her vocal beauty, seamless technique, and abundant musicality, soprano Nadine Sierra is being hailed as one of the most promising emerging talents in the opera world today. The youngest winner to date of both the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition, she is already making a name for herself through her performances with top opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world.  Having made her professional debut as a teenager with the Palm Beach Opera, she received her first national exposure at just 15, when she sang “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi on NPR’s young artist showcase From the Top. After graduating from New York’s Mannes College of Music, she entered the Adler Fellowship Program at San Francisco Opera, where she made her company debut in 2011, creating the dual roles of Juliet and Barbara opposite Thomas Hampson in the world premiere production of Christopher Theofanidis’s 9/11 opera, Heart of a Soldier. In the 2015-2016 season, Sierra debuts at the Opéra National de Paris, Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and Berlin Staatsoper. She sings her first Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni

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Praised for her vocal beauty, seamless technique, and abundant musicality, soprano Nadine Sierra is being hailed as one of the most promising emerging talents in the opera world today. The youngest winner to date of both the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition, she is already making a name for herself through her performances with top opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world. 

Having made her professional debut as a teenager with the Palm Beach Opera, she received her first national exposure at just 15, when she sang “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi on NPR’s young artist showcase From the Top. After graduating from New York’s Mannes College of Music, she entered the Adler Fellowship Program at San Francisco Opera, where she made her company debut in 2011, creating the dual roles of Juliet and Barbara opposite Thomas Hampson in the world premiere production of Christopher Theofanidis’s 9/11 opera, Heart of a Soldier.

In the 2015-2016 season, Sierra debuts at the Opéra National de Paris, Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and Berlin Staatsoper. She sings her first Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni for her inaugural performances in Paris, followed by Gilda in Rigoletto with both the Met in December and La Scala in January. In March, she joins Daniel Barenboim at the Staatsoper to sing her first Amor in a new production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice designed by Frank Gehry and presented as part of the Berlin Festtage. Other engagements in the coming season include returns to San Francisco Opera as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia.

Verdi’s Gilda was the vehicle for Sierra’s debuts at the Atlanta Opera, Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Italy’s Teatro di San Carlo, as well as for her recent return to Boston Lyric Opera, where she first appeared as Tytania. Her other notable engagements include last season’s debuts in Valencia as Norina in Don Pasquale and Zurich as the title character in Lucia di Lammermoor. She returned to the San Francisco Opera to sing Musetta in John Caird’s new production of La bohème and the Countess in John Copley’s iconic staging of Le nozze di Figaro. In concert, Nadine debuted with the Cleveland Orchestra in both Cleveland and Miami for Orff’s Carmina Burana and gave a George London Foundation recital at the Morgan Library in New York City. Other past season highlights include appearances at Italy’s Teatro di San Carlo and the Glimmerglass Festival and with the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. In recital, the soprano has appeared at venues ranging from Carnegie’s Weill Hall to the U.S. Supreme Court, where she has performed alongside both Joseph Calleja and Thomas Hampson.

A winner of numerous vocal competitions, Sierra placed first at the Neue Stimmen, Montserrat Caballé, and Veronica Dunne International Singing Competitions in 2013. Three years earlier, she won first prizes at the George London Competition, Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, and Loren Zachary Competition. A recipient of both the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s Study and Career Grants, her numerous previous competition wins include the 2007 Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition and the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, as recounted by Nick Romeo in his book Driven: Six Incredible Musical Journeys (2011), a chapter of which is devoted to Sierra’s Grand Finals triumph. Sierra has also been featured as the subject of an Opera News “Sound Bites” column and the cover story of Uptempo magazine’s inaugural issue.

A native of south Florida, the American soprano was born in 1988 to a Portuguese mother and an American father of Puerto Rican and Italian descent.

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(617 words)

© 21C Media Group, August 2015

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Reviews

"There was no way to listen to soprano Nadine Sierra…and feel anything but awe and delight―a combination of admiration for her current gifts and eager anticipation at what the future surely holds for her."

San Francisco Chronicle

"For her Met debut on Wednesday night, the Fort Lauderdale native gave an excellent performance as Gilda, a vocal and dramatic achievement that showed she is an artist ready for a significant career with this company. There was an endearing innocence about Nadine’s Gilda, in both her physicality and her voice itself, a lemony, glowing instrument that carried superbly into the house. She sings with remarkable ease, no matter where she is in her range or what effect she is trying to achieve: the beautiful flow of her middle voice was matched by accurate, graceful high notes, none of them ever grabbed or forced. Her buoyant, gleeful account of the headline aria “Caro nome” earned an extended ovation, as she showed beguiling coloratura and threw in graceful ornamentation high above the staff. One high, misty pianissimo lingered for six seconds at least, never showing any signs of wavering or breaking."

Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review

"Sierra's lovely, limpid tone and delicate phrasing proved ideal for the naive, sheltered girl, as did her lithe, slightly fragile appearance. Her “Tutte le feste al tempio” […] was especially poignant."

Opera Magazine

"As Rigoletto’s beloved daughter Gilda, the only word to describe the singing of American soprano Nadine Sierra is divine. With exquisite purity of tone, immaculate control, sensitive phrasing and stunning high notes, Sierra’s performance was a revelation. As an added bonus, Sierra is a doe-eyed, elegant beauty, and her portrayal of the ill-fated young Gilda won the hearts of all in attendance"

Simon Parris, Simon Parris: Man in Chair

"Soprano Nadine Sierra gave a standout house debut as the playful but sinister Cupid, bringing lush ornamentation to her Act One aria “Gli squardi trattieni"."

Rebecca Schmid, Financial Times

"Du haut de ses vingt-sept ans, la soprano américaine promène la pureté de sa voix dans l’anxiété de cet aveu. Son chant éthéré touche immédiatement. Quand bien même la jeune femme possède un instrument d’une belle puissance et d’une homogénéité exceptionnelle, elle offre sa cantilène avec un véritable régal de douceur. "

Jacques Schmitt, ResMusica

"Sierra, a lovely, dewy-eyed Floridian, made a memorable FGO debut with a purity of tone that echoed her character's persona. She not only demonstrated a technical command, but also an ability to project to the back of the hall, even when she faced away from the audience."

Bill Hirschman, SunSentinel

"In her company debut, Nadine Sierra played Pamina with earnest expression and depth of character. With her fluid soprano ringing in the hall at all dynamic levels, she sculpted her arias in beautiful phrases, and the orchestra — comprising Virginia Symphony members conducted by Mark Russell Smith — supported her musicality."

Grace Jean, The Washington Post

"Nadine Sierra [...] is something special even in this world of very good sopranos. [... ]Musically she was the star of the evening. "

Jeff Haller, ConcertoNet.com

"As Gilda, [...] Nadine Sierra sings with a marvelous lightness, youthful in timbre if mature in body, flexibility, and assurance. "

Gavin Borchert, Seattle Weekly

"But no one else matched the art of transition displayed by American soprano Nadine Sierra, making her Seattle Opera debut as Gilda. [...] Sierra — and you’ll most definitely want to pay attention to her name — has an alluring, immediately identifiable voice that encompasses dark-hued deep notes as well as spectacularly spun, floating light notes at the very top of her range. And that’s only a starting point for Sierra: her remarkable control allows her to venture an exciting variety in her phrasing. Her characterization complements this vocal richness: Sierra shows Gilda not as the innocent “tabula rasa” we usually see at first but as a loving daughter who already has desires of her own. The pain of her humiliation in the second act is so palpable it’s hard to watch. And her Gilda’s persistent attachment to the Duke isn’t a sentimental weakness but a desperate attempt to salvage some kind of meaning within the opera’s heartless environment. An especially effective touch is the shudder of terror she reveals even after she’s resolved to sacrifice herself."

Thomas May, Memeteria

"Nadine Sierra displayed a supple soprano and elegant stage presence, giving the role of Gilda the personality of the sweet girl next door. Her “Caro nome” sounded effortless and graceful."

Aaron Keebaugh, Boston Classical Review