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Soprano Susanna Phillips premieres new song cycle

While her repertoire of roles in the operatic canon continues to increase in range and acclaim, soprano Susanna Phillips is also making her mark as a noted interpreter of contemporary music and as a passionate recitalist and chamber musician. This month, as soon as she finishes her performances of Mozart’s Idomeneo at Ravinia Festival (August 17 and 19), the soprano will immerse herself in chamber music at Twickenham Fest, the summer chamber music festival that she co-founded in her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama.
The festival’s first concert this year, on August 24, is headlined by the world premiere of Speaking for the Afghan Woman, written for Phillips by the American composer William Harvey. Combining texts in the Afghan languages of Pashto and Dari (including traditional Pashto folk poems called Lundaye, letters from Afghan women, and the work of Afghan women poets), Harvey has created a song cycle that reflects on the lives and experiences of women in Afghanistan, where he lives and works.
Harvey’s piece is only one contemporary work in Phillips’s repertoire.  Phillips can also be heard performing the world premiere recording of a newly composed suite for soprano and orchestra from Dutch composer Poul Ruders. Just released on Bridge Records and based on material from Ruders’ seminal opera, A Handmaid’s Tale, “Offered Suite” has already drawn critical acclaim, including praise for Phillips from International Record Review: “[The piece is] eloquently realized by Susanna Phillips, a singer whose rich-toned soprano and impeccable diction are much in evidence throughout this memorable recording, not least in the poignant soliloquy that is “Ev’ry Moon’.” The soprano will also be part of an upcoming disc from Delos featuring music by Philip Lasser, with Margo Garrett as pianist, that includes the song cycle In Colors of Feelings, of which Phillips gave the world premiere performance at Alice Tully Hall in 2009, as well as Nicolette et Aucassin, a duet cycle with soprano Elizabeth Futral. She will record an album of Mozart arias in the coming months, which will be released on Bridge Records as a follow up to her critically acclaimed debut solo album, Paysages, featured French mélodie by Messiaen, Fauré and Debussy.
Following her weekend of concerts at Twickenham Fest, all of which are free and open to the public, Phillips, who won the Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, launches a busy 2012-13 season that includes her return to the Met in Don Giovanni (November), as well as appearances with the Baltimore Symphony and St. Louis Symphony. She will embark on a recital tour with pianist Myra Huang in January, which will take her from her native Huntsville, Alabama to Sarasota, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. In April 2013, she will sing the role of Stella in André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire with Renée Fleming in performances at Carnegie Hall and Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Additional information about Susanna Phillips is available at, and a list of her upcoming engagements follows.
Acclaim for Susanna Philips
“Susanna Phillips…demonstrates rare stylistic fluency, canny pathos, and dynamic finesse. Susanna Phillips: Remember the name.”
Financial Times
“Phillips is an attractive, splendidly musical singer with uncanny agility, tonal allure, smoothness of legato and evenness of tonal production. Such technical aplomb allied to such radiant sound is a precious commodity.”
Chicago Tribune
“Possessing an opulent instrument, Phillips has all the agility her role requires. But she is no wind-up nightingale: her coloratura is about communication, not display. Her quiet singing, with its floated, otherworldly high notes, is exquisite; her acting, lit with intelligence, is charismatic enough to hold the audience’s gaze through her quarter-hour mad scene.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Upcoming Engagements – Susanna Phillips
Aug 17, 19, 2012
Highland Park, IL
Ravinia Festival
Martin Theater – Ravinia Festival
Aug 24, 25, 26, 2012
Huntsville, AL
Twickenham Fest
Church of the Nativity
Sept 8, 2012
Chicago, IL
Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Sept 14, 15, 2012
Birmingham, AL
Alabama Symphony
Barber: Knoxville Summer of 1915  
Alys Stephens Center / Jemison Concert Hall
Oct 5, 7, 2012
Chicago, IL
Music of the Baroque
Haydn: “Lord Nelson” Mass
Harris Theater
Oct 14, 2012
Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music
Recital with Sivan Magen (Harp)
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church
Oct 22, 2012
New York, NY
Musica Sacra
Mozart: “Exsultate, jubilate”; Haydn: “Lord Nelson” Mass
Alice Tully Hall
Oct 26, 2012
New York, NY
Fabbri Chamber Concert Series
Recital with Sivan Magen (harp)
House of the Redeemer
Nov 5, 2012
New York, NY
Oratorio Society of New York
Moravec: The Blizzard Voices
Carnegie Hall – Isaac Stern Auditorium
Nov 28, Dec 1, 5, 8, 11, 15, 20, 2012
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Don Giovanni
Metropolitan Opera House
Jan 12, 13, 2013
Sarasota, FL
Recital with Myra Huang, piano
Historic Asolo Theater
Jan 25, 2013
Huntsville, AL
Recital with Myra Huang, piano
Trinity Methodist Church
Feb 8, 2013
Philadelphia, PA
Recital with Myra Huang, piano
American Philosophical Society
Feb 24, 2013
Berkeley, CA
Cal Performances
Recital with Myra Huang, piano
Hertz Hall – University of California, Berkeley
Feb 28, 2013
Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Mozart Requiem
The Music Center at Strathmore
Mar 2, 3, 2013
Baltimore, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Mozart Requiem
Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Mar 14, 2013
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall Perspectives
A Streetcar Named Desire
Carnegie Hall – Stern Auditorium
Mar 26, 29, April 3, 6, 2013
Chicago, IL
Lyric Opera of Chicago
A Streetcar Named Desire
The Civic Opera House



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