New York, NY (May 7, 2019)—The Metropolitan Opera has named soprano Lisette Oropesa as the winner of the 14th annual Beverly Sills Artist Award. The $50,000 award is given to extraordinarily gifted singers with rising Met careers. Given in honor of the legendary American soprano Beverly Sills, the award was established in 2006 by an endowment gift from the late Agnes Varis, a managing director on the Met’s Board of Directors.
Oropesa will sing two leading roles in the Met’s 2019–20 season: the title role in Massenet’s Manon and Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. She began her career at the Met as a winner of the 2005 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and then spent three seasons in the company’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She made her Met debut in 2006 as a Woman of Crete in Mozart’s Idomeneo, and has gone on to make her mark in more than 100 memorable performances of such roles as Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, Sophie in Massenet’s Werther, and Woglinde and the Woodbird in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. Earlier this season, she was also named the winner of the 2019 Richard Tucker Award.
“I am tremendously grateful to be named this year’s recipient of the Beverly Sills Artist Award,” Oropesa said. “This award honors one of the great American icons of opera. Growing up, I idolized Beverly Sills for her lovable personality, her unmatched stage presence, and her extraordinary singing. I have the privilege of performing two of her most distinguished roles next season at the Met—may her inspiration live on for many more years to come.”
The Sills Award was created to help further the careers of rising stars by providing additional funding for vocal coaching, language study, travel costs, and other professional expenses. Sills, who died in 2007, was well known as a supporter and friend to developing young artists, and this award continues her legacy as an advocate for important emerging singers. The 35-year-old Oropesa follows an outstanding list of previous winners: 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, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton in 2017, and soprano Nadine Sierra in 2018.
About Lisette Oropesa
Lisette Oropesa was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Cuban parents, and played the flute for 12 years before she began her studies in vocal performance at Louisiana State University. After winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2005, she entered the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She sang her first major role, Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, at the Met at the age of 22, and has sung more than 100 performances with the company in many different roles since. She has appeared in concert halls and opera stages all over the world since graduating from the Met’s young artist program in 2008, and has become one of the most celebrated singers of her generation. Known for her liquid legato and seamless technique, stylistic integrity, precise coloratura, and superlative acting, she excels in music by Mozart and the bel canto composers, as well as the French repertoire. She is also regarded for her inspiring personal story—she is a devoted runner who has completed six marathons and is an advocate for health and fitness.
In the fall of 2018, she starred as Marguerite de Valois in a new production of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots at the Paris Opera, and sang Adina in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore immediately after. She then sang Gilda in a new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, and made role and house debuts in the title role of Handel’s Rodelinda at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and Isabelle in Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable at La Monnaie in Brussels. In the United States, she revisited the role of Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Pittsburgh Opera. Next, she will make her debut at La Scala as Amalia in a new production of Verdi’s I Masnadieri. The production tours to the Savonlinna Festival over the summer. Immediately following, she sings the role of Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata in Athens and Verona.
She returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the opening week of the 2019–20 season in the title role of Massenet’s Manon, and in February portrays Violetta at the Met for the first time. She sings Ophélie in Thomas’s Hamlet with Washington Concert Opera, and heads back to Paris Opera to make her role debut as Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In spring 2020, she sings the title role of Donizetti’sLucia di Lammermoor at Bavarian State Opera, followed by Violetta at the Teatro Real in Madrid. She has solo concerts planned in Switzerland, Brazil, and her hometown of New Orleans.