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 2014-15 season will see Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera for a seventh consecutive season 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 include 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 are 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 include Strauss’ Four Last Songs at the opening night gala of the Louisiana Philharmonic’s season and with the Mexico National Symphony Orchestra, a “Rival Queens” program with Elizabeth Futral and 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.
A passionate chamber music collaborator, this season Phillips will join Eric Owens and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society for an all Schubert program. She sings a recital with Brian Zeger and the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach, and a tour of trio performances with Paul Neubauer and Anne Marie McDermott. Additional appearances include 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.
Her 2013-14 season was highlighted by what the New York Times called a “breakthrough night” as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera which also marked the return of music director James Levine as well as performances of Rosalinde in a new production of Die Fledermaus which premiered on New Years Eve, and Musetta in La Bohème. Additional highlights included Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony and David Robertson on Britten’s 100th birthday at Carnegie Hall and later in St. Louis, as well as a return to Japan as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center. Concert engagements included both Fauré’s Requiem and Poulenc’s Gloria with Charles Dutoit and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edo de Waart, Fauré’s Requiem and Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Mostly Mozart Festival, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Jacksonville Symphony. She was also featured in a trio of performances with the Aspen Music Festival singing Strauss’ Brentano Lieder with conductor Jane Glover, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and in recital with Eric Owens and Robert Spano. Recital engagements included an all Schubert tour with Eric Owens and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in both Chicago and at the Gilmore Festival, chamber music concerts with Paul Neubauer and Anne Marie McDermott, and an appearance at the Parlance Chamber Music Series with Warren Jones. The soprano also made her solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall with pianist Myra Huang.
Highlights of Phillips’s previous seasons include numerous additional Metropolitan Opera appearances as 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. 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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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 two degrees 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’s 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.