Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is Michelle Johnson The Next Great African-American Star?

"Io son l'umile ancella"
Adriana Lecouvreur (Cilea)
"Ms. Johnson seems to have the vocal goods as well as star power," wrote The New York Times about the 28-year old soprano who last week won a $15,000 prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals concert in New York. Michelle Johnson hails from Pearland, Texas, and has received degrees from New England Conservatory of Music and Boston University. She is a former member of the Young Artist Programs of Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Opera Tampa, as well as participating in the International Institute of Vocal Arts (Chiari, Italy), Tanglewood Music Center and the Music Academy of the West. Winning important competitions since 2006, she is currently a third-year artist resident at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Her repertoire includes the title role in Suor Angelica, Countess in Capriccio, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Monisha in Treemonisha, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. She is clearly a singer on the rise destined to have contracts floated her way from companies all around the world, surely it is the moment of a lifetime. Let's hope it is not fleeting.

Looking back at a dozen African-American sopranos over the last three decades that have been in Ms. Johnson's position and were hailed as the new great singer to take up the mantle of the lyric, spinto or dramatic repertoire, somehow they have lacked staying power to reach the heights that Marian Anderson forged the groundwork for 56 years ago and that Leontyne Price cemented as the standard for performance. Ms. Johnson will have to work hard in order to have a career that lasts more than a debut at the Metropolitan Opera and remain a household name. [Source, Source, Source]

Wilhelmenia Fernandez

"Ebben? ne andrò lontana" La Wally (Catalani)
Carmen Balthrop

"Che sento? Oh Dio!" Giulio Cesare (Händel)
Indra Thomas

"Pace, pace mio Dio" La Forza del Destino (Verdi)
Marvis Martin

"Glück das mir verblieb" Die tote Stadt (Korngold)*
Cynthia Haymon

"Signore, ascolta" Turandot (Puccini)
Angela Brown

"Ecco l'orrido campo" Un Ballo in Maschera (Verdi)
Michele Crider

"Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore" Tosca (Puccini)
Cynthia Clarey

"My Man's Gone Now" Porgy & Bess (Gershwin)
Leona Mitchell

"Ernani, involami" Ernani (Verdi)
Faye Robinson

"Quel guardo il cavaliere" Don Pasquale (Donizetti)
Jonita Lattimore

"Canción de amor"
Measha Brueggergosman

"D'Oreste, d'Ajace" Idomeneo (Mozart)
*bonus: second clip will automatically play "Io son l'umile ancella" Adriana Lecouvreur (Cilea)

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of you. God bless you career. The Lord is with you.