Soprano Nadine Sierra Wins the 2018 Beverly Sills Artist Award
Soprano Nadine Sierra has been named the winner of the 13th annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera. The $50,000 award, the largest of its kind in the United States, is given to extraordinarily gifted singers between the ages of 25 and 40 who have already appeared in featured solo roles at the Met. The award, given in honor of Beverly Sills, was established in 2006 by an endowment gift from the late Agnes Varis, a managing director on the Met board. In 2009 Sierra became the youngest ever winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has gone on to make her mark at the Met with memorable performances in Verdi's Rigoletto, and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Idomeneo and Don Giovanni. In the Met's 2018-19 season, Sierra will reprise the role of Gilda in Rigoletto.
Met General Manger Peter Gelb presented Sierra with the award today, saying: "Nadine is a most deserving recipient. I'm sure that Beverly would have been pleased with our choice."
The Sills Award was created to help further recipients' careers, including funding for voice lessons, vocal coaching, language lessons, related travel costs, and other professional assistance. Sills, who passed away in 2007, was well known as a supporter and friend to developing young artists, and this award continues her legacy as an advocate for rising singers. The 29-year-old Sierra is the 13th recipient of the award, following baritone Nathan Gunn in 2006, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in 2007, tenor Matthew Polenzani in 2008, bass John Relyea in 2009, soprano Susanna Phillips in 2010, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard in 2011, soprano Angela Meade in 2012, tenor Brian Hymel in 2013, tenor Michael Fabiano in 2014, baritone Quinn Kelsey in 2015, soprano Ailyn Pérez in 2016, and mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton in 2017.
Nadine Sierra said: "This award is a true gift to singers because it honors not only a beautiful artist in Beverly Sills, but treasures the legacy she left behind. It's not enough to say that I'm honored to be receiving it, but more that I feel incredibly humbled. Opera can and should belong to anyone who has the pleasure of witnessing its timeless beauty. I believe Ms. Sills, through all of her achievements and generosity of sharing this music with people around the world for many decades, would certainly agree. I'm very thankful to the Metropolitan Opera for selecting me as the recipient of such a meaningful and empowering award."
Nadine Sierra made her Met debut in 2015 as Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto. She followed that with three Mozart roles at the Met: Zerlina in Don Giovanni, her role and Live in HD debuts as Ilia in Idomeneo, and earlier this season, her role debut as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. She made her professional debut with Palm Beach Opera while still a teenager, in her home state of Florida. She studied in New York at Mannes College of Music and was an Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera. She made her debut at San Francisco Opera in 2011 as Juliet/Barbara in the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis's Heart of a Soldier. Recent engagements include Gilda in Rigoletto (La Scala, Milan, Chorégies d'Orange, Opéra Bastille, Seattle Opera), Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor (La Fenice, Venice, San Francisco Opera, Zürich Opera), Zerlina in Le Nozze di Figaro (Paris Opera), Tytania in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Norina in Don Pasquale (Valencia), Musetta in La Bohème, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (San Francisco Opera), Flavia Gemmira in Eliogabalo (Paris Opéra) and Nannetta in Falstaff (Staatsoper Berlin). In June she sings the role of Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale (Paris Opéra). She is the winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition, the 2017 Richard Tucker Award Winner, and has recently signed a record contract with Deutsche Grammophon/Universal.
Photo: Nadine Sierra makes her Met debut as Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto on December 2. Photo Credit: Jonathan Tichler/Metropolitan Opera