Welcome back to Spotlight Sundays! Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring the cast and crew of Speaking Her Truth: an evening of music by composer Jessica Rudman! If you haven't heard, tickets are now on sale and are available through our website at the link below. We hope to see you on Saturday, April 28 at Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford for an exciting evening of contemporary opera by Jessica Rudman!
For this week's Spotlight, we are happy to welcome back soprano, Jennifer Sgroe! Jennifer made her debut with HOTOpera at our New in November Festival in 2016 singing the soprano role in the monodrama "Trigger" by Jessica Rudman. We are thrilled to have Jennifer return to HOTOpera to revisit this role on April 28! We hope you enjoy learning about Jennifer and what "Opera for the 22nd Century" means to her.
Soprano Jennifer Sgroe began her musical career in dance and musical theater before transitioning to classical repertoire. Having performed across the US in opera, concert and musical theater and internationally as a soloist at festivals in Finland, England and Austria, she specializes in contemporary American opera and art song and repertoire of the Baroque and Classical eras.
Praised for her “patrician ease and polished vocal refinement” by the Boston Music Intelligencer, Ms. Sgroe made her Jordan Hall debut in concert with The Shakespeare Concerts in April 2017 in works by Joseph Summer, Schumann, Brahms and Pesestky for voice, harp and horn including World Premieres by Summer and Pesestky. A commercial recording of this project is forthcoming including her performances of the rarely heard Drei Gesänge, Op. 93 by Schumann for Soprano and Harp.
Also in April 2017 Ms. Sgroe reprised her performance of Jessica Rudman’s monodrama “Trigger”, about the effects of domestic violence, for the Women Composer’s Festival of Hartford. Jennifer sang the US premiere of Rudman’s “Trigger” with Hartford Opera Theatre in November 2016 and will repeat this performance for the third time in April 2018 in a newly orchestrated version on a program of works by Jessica Rudman titled, Speaking her Truth.
Ms. Sgroe is also an active recitalist, having collaborated with pianists Cliff Jackson, James Busby, Nan McSwain and Beverly Soll. Recent recitals have included a program which investigates the connection between the human spirit and the natural world through song, poetry and photography, a survey of 20th Century American song, an introduction to the art of the song recital and she is currently developing the Refugee Voices project, a concert project of newly-commissioned song settings of refugee stories in collaboration with UNHCR and USA for UNHCR.
In 2017-2018 she continues to offer performances of the original recital program, To the Sea, developed with her collaborator, pianist Beverly Soll. Originally premiered in July 2016 for the Nahant Historical Society this recital will be repeated in venues across New England through Summer/Fall 2018.
Other recent opera and concert performances include Soprano Soloist for Cambridge Symphony's Holiday Pops Concert, Soloist for the 15th Anniversary Concert with Arbor Opera Theater, Miranda (cover) for Joseph Summer’s premiere of The Tempest, Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) with Sinfonietta Nova, Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) with Arbor Opera Theater, Lula/Lightfoot McClendon cover (Cold Sassy Tree) & Curley’s Wife (Of Mice & Men) with Sugar Creek Opera. Highlight concert performances include the Angel in Handel's Jephtha with Graeme Jenkins, and soprano soloist in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with David Temple at The Dartington Festival (United Kingdom), Handel’s Messiah, the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, and Schubert’s Mass in A-flat Major in Graz, Austria with Cornelius Eberhardt.
Most recently, she was selected to sing in masterclass with Maestro Pierre Vallet at Opera America in December 2017 and was the Soprano Soloist for Handel’s Messiah in Belmont, MA. In March 2018 she returns to Jordan Hall to sing Poulenc’s Gloria as part the NEC’s 150th Anniversary concert series.
Originally from NY, Jennifer Sgroe resides in historic Salem, MA with her husband Matt where she maintains a private voice studio and also teaches on the voice faculty of New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory School and School of Continuing Education. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Music in Opera from The Boston Conservatory and a Doctorate of Musical Arts, also from the University of Kentucky. For more about Jennifer Sgroe visit www.jennifersgroe.com
Here is what Jennifer had to say about "Opera for the 22nd Century"
Opera for the 22nd Century: I think it is fantastic to be thinking about the future opera 75 years down the road and beyond - I hope I’ll still be here! It’s my hope that opera continues to evolve and reflect the human stories of current cultural, social and political climates. It’s also my hope that it becomes more integrated into our musical culture in the US and through that integration more strongly represents the voices of women, the LBGT community and racially diverse perspectives. Opera has the power to transcend perceived barriers and that’s what I hope Opera in the 22nd Century will stand for.
Thank you for reading our Opera for the 22nd Century blog! Tune in next week for spotlights, interviews and much more! Want to learn more about composer Jessica Rudman? Visit her website at www.jessicarudman.com