Sunday, January 31, 2021 | 5:30 PM

Susanna Phillips, soprano
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano 

This concert is not available online. Please call 410.516.7164 for more information.

Location: Shriver Hall

The Mity Clarke Gann Memorial Concert

The “touching immediacy” (The Chicago Tribune) of soprano Susanna Phillips unites with the “elegant directness” (Opera News) of Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. Together, the two American singers perform a rare duo-recital with an imaginative program of solois, duets, and cycles written by men about women and women about men.

“Vocally riveting, dramatically confident, and with power in reserve.”—The Boston Globe on Susanna

“Her singing was throaty, eloquent,and shimmeringly rich.”—San Francisco Chronicle on Sasha Cooke

Susanna Phillips

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.

In the 2018-19 season, Ms. Phillips will return to the Metropolitan Opera for an eleventh consecutive season to sing her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème. She will also make two role debuts as Micaela in Carmen and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Metropolitan Opera. With Cincinnati Opera, Ms. Phillips will sing the role of Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. Orchestrally, Ms. Phillips will perform and record Berg’s Sieben Frühe Lieder with the San Francisco Symphony, led by Michael Tilson Thomas, and will sing Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest. Ms. Phillips will celebrate the bicentennial of Alabama with her native Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, performing Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder. This summer’s highlights include a recital with Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the 10th Anniversary of chamber music with Twickenham Fest.

The 2017-18 season saw Ms. Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera to sing her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème. She made her role and company debut as Birdie in Blitzstein’s Regina with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, sharing the stage with Susan Graham and James Morris. Orchestra engagements included Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, the soprano solo in Elijah with the Music of the Baroque in Chicago, concerts in New York and Chicago with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Teddy Abrams’s leading the Milwaukee Symphony. She also gave a recital at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. Highlights of Ms. Phillips’s previous opera seasons include numerous Metropolitan Opera appearances: Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with James Levine conducting, in what the New York Times called a “breakthrough night,” Rosalinde in a new production of Die Fledermaus, 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), as Clémence in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, 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 Ms. Phillips went on to perform, to rave reviews, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She also has sang Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony in St. Louis and at Carnegie Hall.

Ms. Phillips made her Zurich Opera debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Pamina, and subsequently performed a quartet of other Mozart roles with the company as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Arminda in La finta giardiniera, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Ms. Phillips also performed recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Celebrity Series of Boston, and with Eric Owens at the Washington Performing Arts in a program co-curated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 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, and the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor and Agrippina. Phillips has made appearances at Oper Frankfurt, Dallas Opera, Minnesota Opera, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Birmingham.

Highly in demand by the world’s most prestigious orchestras, Ms. Phillips has appeared with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Atlanta Symphony, Santa Fe Concert Association, Boston Baroque, and her native Huntsville Symphony.

An avid chamber music collaborator, Ms. Phillips recently teamed with bass-baritone Eric Owens for a recital of Schubert lieder, which they have taken on tour in Chicago with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the Gilmore Festival, and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Additional recital engagements included chamber music concerts with Paul Neubauer and Anne Marie McDermott, an appearance at the Parlance Chamber Music Series with Warren Jones, the 2014 Chicago Collaborative Works Festival, and the Emerson String Quartet in Thomasville, Georgia with Warren Jones and colleagues from the Metropolitan Opera. She co-founded Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival in her native Huntsville, Alabama, which will celebrate its 10th Season in 2019. Ms. Phillips made her solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall with pianist Myra Huang.

Other recent concert and oratorio engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Second and Fourth Symphonies, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, the Fauré and Mozart Requiems, Carmina Burana, 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.”

In August 2011, Ms. 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.

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. In 2005 Ms. Phillips won 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. Ms. Phillips 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 both a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School.

A native of Huntsville, Alabama, over 400 people traveled from her hometown to New York City in December 2008 for Ms. Phillips’ Metropolitan Opera debut in La Bohème. She returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances.

Sasha Cooke

Two-time Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has been called a “luminous standout” ( New York Times ) and “equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness” ( Opera News ). Ms. Cooke is sought after by the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber music ensembles for her versatile repertoire and commitment to new music. 

The 2019-20 season brings many returns including appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas respectively, Chicago Symphony under the baton of Riccardo Muti, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic with James Gaffigan, the Philadelphia Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Houston Symphony under Adrés Orozco-Estrada, Atlanta Symphony with Robert Spano and  the New York Philharmonic for a tour of Mahler's  2nd Symphony  under Jaap van Zweden with performances at the Barbican Centre and Concertgebouw. On the operatic stage, she appears twice with the San Francisco Opera returning to the title role in  Hansel and Gretel  and Laurene Jobs in Mason Bates'  The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs , a role she created in 2017 at Santa Fe Opera. As a recitalist Ms. Cooke returns to The Wigmore Hall with Malcolm Martineau and is presented by the 92nd St Y and Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater alongside Julius Drake. As artist in residence with the San Francisco Symphony her work will encompass concerts with the orchestra, educational events, chamber music performances, as well as a recital in Davies Hall.

Ms. Cooke has performed with opera companies worldwide including the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Santa Fe Opera, The Israeli Opera and English National Opera. A dedicated recitalist, Ms. Cooke was presented by Young Concert Artists in her widely acclaimed New York and Washington debuts at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and the Kennedy Center. Ms. Cooke’s recordings can be found on the Hyperion, BIS, Chandos, Naxos, Bridge Records, Yarlung, GPR Records and Sono Luminus labels. Most recently she appears on five recordings including  L'enfance du Christ  with Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony on Chandos,  Bates'  The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs  on Pentatone which won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, Mahler’s  2nd Symphony  with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra on BIS, Berlioz’s  Roméo et Juliette  with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony and  Sasha Cooke LIVE , a collection of her performances from the Music@Menlo chamber music festival released on their label. A devoted interpreter of new music, Ms. Cooke has premiered works b y Mark Adamo, Mason Bates, William Bolcom, Pierre Jalbert, Laura Kaminsky, Lowell Liebermann, Nico Muhly, John Musto, Marc Neikrug, Kevin Puts, Augusta Read Thomas and Joby Talbot. Next season she will premiere pieces by Jake Heggie and Michael Tilson Thomas.

A graduate of Rice University and The Juilliard School, Sasha Cooke also attended the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and Seattle Opera and Central City Opera’s Young Artist Training Programs. Ms. Cooke has given masterclasses throughout the United States and Canada. She lives near Houston, TX with daughters Evelyn and Julia and husband baritone  Kelly Markgraf.


She Her Ours

Works by Berlioz, Debussy, Fauré, A. Mahler, C. Schumann, R. Schumann, and more

Program Subject to Change Without Notice