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Praised for her vocal beauty, seamless technique, and abundant musicality, Nadine Sierra is being hailed as one of the most promising new talents in opera today. Having made a string of successful debuts last season with the Met, La Scala, Paris, and Berlin State Operas, the American soprano is quickly on her way to becoming a fixture at many of the world’s top houses. In 2016-17 Sierra returns to the Paris Opera, where she debuted as Zerlina in Don Giovanni last year, to open its season at the Palais Garnier as Flavia in a new production of Cavalli’s Eliogabalo, and is later seen at the Opéra Bastille as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Gilda in Rigoletto. Following a breakout Met debut as Gilda, she sings Zerlina at the house this fall and in the spring makes both her role and Live in HD debuts as Ilia in Mozart’s Idomeneo under the baton of James Levine. Other season highlights include a return to the Zurich Opera—where she won acclaim for her 2015 house and role debuts as the title character in Lucia di Lammermoor—to sing her first performances

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Praised for her vocal beauty, seamless technique, and abundant musicality, Nadine Sierra is being hailed as one of the most promising new talents in opera today. Having made a string of successful debuts last season with the Met, La Scala, Paris, and Berlin State Operas, the American soprano is quickly on her way to becoming a fixture at many of the world’s top houses.

In 2016-17 Sierra returns to the Paris Opera, where she debuted as Zerlina in Don Giovanni last year, to open its season at the Palais Garnier as Flavia in a new production of Cavalli’s Eliogabalo, and is later seen at the Opéra Bastille as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Gilda in Rigoletto. Following a breakout Met debut as Gilda, she sings Zerlina at the house this fall and in the spring makes both her role and Live in HD debuts as Ilia in Mozart’s Idomeneo under the baton of James Levine. Other season highlights include a return to the Zurich Opera—where she won acclaim for her 2015 house and role debuts as the title character in Lucia di Lammermoor—to sing her first performances as Elvira in I Puritani. Highlights of the 2016 summer season include debuts with Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival on its opening night program, titled The Illuminated Heart, and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.

Sierra made her professional debut as a teenager with the Palm Beach Opera in her native south Florida and received her first national exposure at age 15, when she sang Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro” 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 Heart of a Soldier. Appearances soon followed with the Boston Lyric Opera, Atlanta Opera, Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera Festival, Israeli Opera, and Teatro Lirico di Cagliari.

Other notable engagements from recent seasons include Norina in Don Pasquale and Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Gilda at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, and Lucia at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. Sierra’s La Scala debut in 2016 as Gilda opposite Leo Nucci as Rigoletto made headlines when, on opening night, they were prompted by the audience to encore the duet, breaking with a La Scala tradition prohibiting Verdi encores dating back to Toscanini. The vehicle for Sierra’s recent Berlin State Opera debut was Amor in a new Festtage-opening production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, directed by Jürgen Flimm with sets designed by Frank Gehry and led by Daniel Barenboim. The soprano continues to make frequent appearances with the San Francisco Opera, where she has performed in La bohème, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, and Lucia di Lammermoor. On the concert stage, Sierra has joined the Cleveland Orchestra in both Cleveland and Miami, sung with the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, performed at the Arena di Verona and Vienna’s Musikverein, and been featured in televised concerts from Venice’s Teatro la Fenice for the Concerto di Capodanno, and from Lincoln Center as part of the Richard Tucker Gala. 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.

In 2007 and 2009 respectively, Sierra became the youngest winner to date of both the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition and the 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. In 2010 she also took home first prizes at the George London Competition, Gerda Lissner Foundation International Competition, and Loren L. Zachary Society Vocal Competition, and was a recipient of a Richard Tucker Music Foundation Study Grant. In 2013, she placed first at the Neue Stimmen, Caballé, and Dunne International Singing Competitions, and won a Richard Tucker Music Foundation Career Grant. She has been featured in Vogue, Nylon, Bon Appétit, Opera News, and on the cover of Classical Singer magazine. She currently resides in New York City.


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© 21C Media Group, June 2016

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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