Eric Owens, bass-baritone & Susanna Phillips, soprano
Wednesday, December 6, 10:30am
Thursday, December 7, 2017, 7:30pm
This concert will feature vocal superstars Eric Owens and Susanna Phillips in a program featuring Schubert in the Ordway Concert Hall. Bass-baritone Eric Owens is loved for his rich, velvety voice and is a regular at major opera companies like the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera Chicago. Susanna Phillips, winner of the The Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, is in her ninth consecutive season with the Metropolitan Opera. This will be her International Artist Series debut. This popular duo recital program has been adored by audiences at Carnegie Hall and across America, and we are thrilled to share it with our Schubert Club audience. The Inquirer in Philadelphia comments on this recital program, “Owens is a master storyteller, who often gives not just the characters of the song’s scenario but the larger world in which they exist, Phillips delivers an almost microscopically close reading of the song and its protagonists, revealed with the detail of a fine Shakespearean actress. Never does she force her Mozart-weight voice while hitting various emotional peaks. No longer a merely promising young singer, she’s a mature artist with a highly personal relationship with Schubert.”
Bass-baritone Eric Owens has a unique reputation as an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. Equally at home in orchestral, recital, and operatic repertoire, Mr. Owens brings his powerful poise, expansive voice, and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the world.Continue Reading
Eric Owens launches the 2016-17 season with his role debut as Wotan in David Pountney’s new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He will sing a trio of operas at the Metropolitan Opera that include the MET premiere of Kaijo Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin, a new production of Rusalka under Sir Mark Elder, and a revival of Idomeneo conducted by James Levine. Other highlights include recitals with Susanna Phillips at Carnegie Hall and Lawrence Brownlee at Lyric Opera of Chicago, a gala celebrating the Metropolitan Opera’s 50th anniversary at Lincoln Center, and for the third time he joins the Chicago Symphony’s Negaunee Music Institute to present an interactive recital for incarcerated youth with Riccardo Muti and Joyce DiDonato. Mr. Owens rounds out his season singing Rimsky-Korsakov’s Le Coq d’Or at Santa Fe Opera.
The 2015-2016 season featured Mr. Owens in several collaborations with the New York Philharmonic as the Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, including a tribute to legendary African-American singers and their legacy titled In Their Footsteps, a concert of Strauss selections and excerpts from Act 3 of Wagner’s Die Walküreconducted by Alan Gilbert, and a festive concert celebrating the holiday season. Other orchestral engagements during the season included performances of Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the St. Louis Symphony, as well as with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra. He also joined Music of the Baroque as Simon in concert performances of Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus.
Operatic highlights of his 2015-16 season included his return to the Metropolitan Opera as Orest in a new production of Elektra by legendary director Patrice Chéreau, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, which was broadcast on the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning Live in HD series. He also hosted the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HDbroadcast of Otello. He returned to Washington National Opera as Stephen Kumalo in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars. At the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, he performed an evening of jazz standards featuring the music of Billy Eckstine and Johnny Hartman, and he will also appear in recital under the auspices of the Oberlin College and Conservatory, Troy Chromatic Concerts, and the Curtis Institute of Music.
Mr. Owens began his 2014-2015 season with the Berlin Philharmonic in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and directed by Peter Sellars, with staged performances at the Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms, and New York’s Park Avenue Armory as part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. He returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he is a Community Ambassador, for performances of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Mr. Owens also made his role debuts as the title role in Der fliegende Holländer with Washington National Opera, King Philip II in Don Carlo at Opera Philadelphia, and the title role in Macbeth at the Glimmerglass Festival, where he returned as an Artist-in-Residence.
Symphonic highlights of Mr. Owens’ recent seasons included performances of Verdi’s Requiem with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilegeswith the Swedish Radio Symphony and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, both under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. He also performed a duo recital with soprano Susanna Phillips under the auspices of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
Mr. Owens has created an uncommon niche for himself in the ever-growing body of contemporary opera works through his determined tackling of new and challenging roles. He received great critical acclaim for portraying the title role in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera, and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Mr. Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, for whom he performed the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, and of the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars’s New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna and later with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Doctor Atomic was later recorded and received the 2012 Grammy for Best Opera Recording. Mr. Owens made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of David Robertson in Adam’s El Niño.
Mr. Owens’s career operatic highlights include Alberich in the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring cycle directed by Robert Lepage; his San Francisco Opera debut in Otelloconducted by Donald Runnicles; his Royal Opera, Covent Garden, debut in Norma; Vodnik in Rusalka at Lyric Opera of Chicago; the title role in Handel’s Hercules with the Canadian Opera Company; Aida at Houston Grand Opera; Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and La Bohème at Los Angeles opera; Die Zauberflöte for his Paris Opera (Bastille) debut; andAriodante and L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the English National Opera. He sang Collatinus in a highly-acclaimed Christopher Alden production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at Glimmerglass Opera. A former member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Mr. Owens has sung Sarastro, Mephistopheles in Faust, Frère Laurent, and Aristotle Onassis in the world premiere of Jackie O (available on the Argo label) with that company. Mr. Owens is featured on two Telarc recordings with the Atlanta Symphony: Mozart’s Requiem and scenes from Strauss’ Elektra and Die Frau ohne Schatten, both conducted by Donald Runnicles. He is featured on the Nonesuch Records release of A Flowering Tree.
Mr. Owens has been recognized with multiple honors, including the 2003 Marian Anderson Award, a 1999 ARIA award, second prize in the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition.
A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Owens began his musical training as a pianist at the age of six, followed by formal oboe study at age eleven under Lloyd Shorter of the Delaware Symphony and Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He studied voice while an undergraduate at Temple University, and then as a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music. He currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the Board of Trustees of both the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services.
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 2016-17 season will see Ms. Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera for a ninth consecutive season starring as Clémence in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin conducted by Susanna Mälkki, as well as a return of her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème. In March 2017, Ms. Phillips will make her Zurich Opera debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She also appears as Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Boston Baroque and Martin Pearlman.Continue Reading
2016-2017 orchestra engagements include a return to the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting a program of American songs, Mozart’s “Exsultate Jubilate” and his Mass in C Minor with Jane Glover and the Music of the Baroque, the Britten War Requiem with Kent Tritle and the Oratorio Society of New York, as well as Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Robert Spano leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Phillips will also perform recitals at the Celebrity Series of Boston, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, and her popular dual recital program with Eric Owens at Carnegie Hall and the Washington Performing Arts.
Last season saw Ms. Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera starring as Rosalinde in the Jeremy Sams production of Die Fledermaus conducted for the first time by music director James Levine, as well as a reprise of her house debut role of Musetta in La Bohème. Additional engagements included a return to the stage of Lyric Opera of Chicago as Juliette in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet under the baton of Emmanuel Villaume. Additional engagements included Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Michael Tilson Thomas leading the San Francisco Symphony, the Filas Requiem with Kent Tritle leading the Oratorio Society of New York, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the St. Louis Symphony and David Robertson, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with David Robertson leading the Sydney Symphony, as well as a recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Brian Zeger.
Highlights of Ms. Phillips’ previous opera seasons include numerous additional Metropolitan Opera appearances as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte in what the New York Times called a “breakthrough night,” Rosalinde in 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), 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 she went on to perform, to rave reviews, at Lyric Opera of Chicago and as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony. She 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. 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, as well as appearances with the 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 Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Santa Fe Concert Association.
A fervent chamber music collaborator, Ms. Phillips recently teamed with bass-baritone Eric Owens for a recital of all Schubert 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, 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. The soprano also 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 Fourth Symphony, 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 and continues collaboration with her teacher Cynthia Hoffmann.
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.
Date & Venue
Wednesday, December 6, 10:30am & Thursday, December 7, 2017, 7:30pm
Ordway Concert Hall
Please join us one hour prior to the performance for a pre-concert talk.
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Single tickets will go on sale August 1, 2017.
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Program to be announced. Concerts are estimated to be approximately 2 hours with one intermission.
Owens’ idiomatic use of the text went beyond the typical big-operatic moment, turning the scene into a startlingly intimate outpouring of a being who has been all-powerful until this very moment, when he must exile his favorite daughter. The sense of resignation was monumental in singing that was disarmingly quiet but audible, thanks to his rhetorical conviction – though conductor Smith didn’t always hold back the orchestra.The Philadelphia Inquirer
Susanna Phillips sang strongly in the luminous central role of Clémence, a woman who finds herself adored, shimmering in a silvery dress that picked up the colors of the lights around her. She pulled off a role that requires a singer to traverse the whole operatic emotional arc from daydream exultation to anguish when Jaufré dies in her arms without actually having much happen to her on stage.The Washington Post