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. 2012-13 sees Phillips take the stage of the Met for her fifth consecutive season, this time to perform Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, conducted by Edward Gardner. Her opera season in New York City continues with her return to the Perlman stage at Carnegie Hall for a special concert performance, portraying Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Renée Fleming—a role which she will then perform at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Phillips also makes her solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall this season, presenting a program with accompanist Myra Huang in Weill Recital Hall.
Other 2012–13 operatic highlights include Phillips’s return to Santa Fe Opera as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, and a concert production of Idomeneo at the Ravinia Festival under the direction of James Conlon. Symphonic appearances include Mozart’s Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Lord Nelson Mass with Music of the Baroque in Chicago, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Alabama Symphony, works by Berg and Beethoven with the St. Louis Symphony conducted by David Robertson, performances with Musica Sacra led by Kent Tritle at Alice Tully Hall, and Paul Moravec’s Blizzard Voices with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall. Phillips’s recital performances include appearances with tenor Joseph Kaiser and Myra Huang in Boston with Celebrity Series and in New York City at the Morgan Library, as well as solo recitals at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Cal Performances, Sarasota, and Huntsville Chamber Music Guild.
Last season, Phillips reprised her celebrated portrayal of Musetta in the Met’s timeless production of La bohème—the same role with which she made her Met debut in 2008. Phillips also released her first solo album on Bridge Records, Paysages, lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle as “sumptuous and elegantly sung.” Her 2011–12 season also boasted appearances in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor with Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Minnesota Opera; her European debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Gran Teatro del Liceu Barcelona; and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro with the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. In concert, Phillips appeared with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Santa Fe Concert Association.
Highlights of Phillips’s previous seasons include numerous additional Metropolitan Opera appearances: as Pamina in Julie Taymor’s celebrated production of The Magic Flute, Musetta in La bohème (both in New York and on tour in Japan), and she was a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series in Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. She made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Pamina, and subsequently performed a trio of other Mozart roles there: Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Countess Almaviva in Figaro, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Phillips made two appearances with Boston Lyric Opera (A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s Helena and Don Giovanni’s Donna Anna), and three with Opera Birmingham (the Countess, Violetta, and the title character in Lucia di Lammermoor). She portrayed Adina in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s L’elisir d’amore, and as a participant in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, she sang Juliette in Roméo et Juliette and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. Phillips made her Minnesota Opera debut in the notoriously challenging role of Elmira in Tim Albery’s production of Reinhard Keiser’s The Fortunes of King Croesus, and later sang Euridice there opposite David Daniels in Orfeo ed Euridice. Phillips has played Mozart’s Countess with the Dallas Opera and Donna Anna with the Fort Worth Opera Festival.
In August 2011, Phillips was featured at the opening night of the Mostly Mozart Festival, which aired live on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center. She has also been a resident artist at the 2010 and 2011 Marlboro Music Festivals, was part of Marilyn Horne Foundation Gala at Carnegie Hall, made her New York solo recital debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall (in 2009 as a Juilliard School alumna and Alice Tully Vocal Arts Debut Recital Award recipient), and has appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC (under the auspices of the Vocal Arts Society). Her ever-expanding concert repertoire has been showcased with many prestigious organizations: she performed with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert; sung in Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Chicago Symphony; and also took part in Beethoven’s Mass in C major and Choral Fantasy at Carnegie Hall with Kent Tritle and the Oratorio Society of New York. Phillips has sung Dvorák’s Stabat Mater with the Santa Fe Symphony, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem with the Santa Barbara Symphony, and Wolf’s Spanisches Liederbuch at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Other recent concert and oratorio engagements include Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, the Fauré and Mozart requiems, and Handel’s Messiah. She also 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.”
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 she 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.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Huntsville, Susanna Phillips is grateful for the ongoing support of her community in her career. She sang Strauss’s Four Last Songs and gave her first concert performances in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor with the Huntsville Symphony, and returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances. Over 400 people traveled from Huntsville to New York City in December 2008 for Phillips’s Metropolitan Opera debut in La bohème.