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mezzo
soprano

 

 

"exquisite poignancy"
Opera News

"a gorgeous, deep, dark mezzo-soprano”
New York Times

"grand, expansive voice ... like a rich Columbian coffee blend"
Huffington Post

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WATCH AND LISTEN

Alto Rhapsody
Johannes Brahms 

Rückert Lieder
Gustav Mahler

Somewhere
West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein

Liber scriptus
Requiem, G. Verdi

Lachrymosa dies illa
Requiem, G. Verdi

Lux aeterna
Requiem, G. Verdi

Songs of Lili Boulanger 

BIOGRAPHY

 

Sara Murphy, “a gorgeous, deep, dark mezzo-soprano” (New York Times), is a vocal artist who has been called “absolutely unforgettable for her versatility and ability to conquer any sensitive soul” (El Nacional, Dominican Republic).

Sara’s current season includes Mahler’s 8th Symphony and Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall, where she is a frequent soloist, and a debut with the RAI Orchestra as Mary in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer conducted by James Conlon.

Sara recently made her European debut at Opera Theater of Rome as Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera under the baton of Jesús López-Cobos. Opera News named the release of Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner in which Sara portrays Mother Bayard and Ermengarde one of the “Top Ten Opera Recordings of 2015.” 

Past season highlights include several engagements with the Cincinnati Symphony at the May Festival, conducted by James Conlon: Verdi’s Otello, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mahler Symphony No. 8, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and Tchaikovsky’s Ode to Joy. With the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor Leon Botstein she has performed Elgar’s The Apostles, Ligeti Requiem, Schnittke’s Nagasaki and Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner. Her portrayal of Britten’s Phaedra, Barber’s Dover Beach and High Priestess (Aida) at Ravinia with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Conlon won acclaim from the Chicago Tribune: “a rich, voluminous mezzo voice, excellent diction and an acute feeling for words and music.” She enjoys frequent performances of Verdi Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mahler Symphony No. 8, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, Mahler’s Rückert Lieder and Elgar’s Sea Pictures and Dream of Gerontius.

Sara holds degrees from Oberlin College and Catholic University. She is a first-prize winner of the Oratorio Society of New York Solo Vocal Competition, and a grant recipient of Inter-Cities Performing Arts and the Wagner Society of New York.


COMPETITIONS, AWARDS AND GRANTS

2013 - First Prize, Oratorio Society of New York Solo Competition

2013 - Grant Recipient, Inter-Cities Performing Arts, Inc.

2010 - Grant Recipient, The Wagner Society of New York

2010 - Finalist, Joy in Singing Competition

2010 - Honorable Mention, George London Foundation Competition
 

EDUCATION

MM • Catholic University • Voice Performance

BA •  Oberlin College • Music Performance

 

ALBUMS

The Long Christmas Dinner

"Mezzo Sara Murphy plays both Mother Bayard, who has a nostalgic reverie in the first scene, and cousin Ermengarde, who is left alone at the end to sing a final meditation, which Murphy renders with exquisite poignancy."

Opera News, December 2015


"Sara Murphy’s closing aria as Ermengarde here is marvellously poignant."

Gramophone, November 2015


"Among the highlights of the Bridge recording is Mother Bayard’s quiet, complacent ariosa in the first scene, sung beautifully by Sara Murphy, a dramatic mezzo-soprano who also played the role of Cousin Ermengarde. Making a clear vocal delineation between the two characters, Murphy brought the performance to an affecting end with the spoken final line. In response to “They’re building a new house,” a line from a letter she reads, Ermengarde speaks two words after the orchestral accompaniment has faded away: 'Fancy that!'"

The Thorton Wilder Society, October 2015

 

"Sara Murphy as Ermengarde, who ends the opera imagining the family continuing without her, [is] a bit special."

The Guardian, September 2015

 

Newly released recording of The Long Christmas Dinner makes the top of Arts Beat's playlist in the New York Times.

New York Times, July 2015

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This recording marks a major event in American music: the premiere recording of the original English language version of Paul Hindemith's final opera, “The Long Christmas Dinner” (1960/61) on a libretto by Thornton Wilder. Conductor Leon Botstein writes: “One aspect that Thornton Wilder and Paul Hindemith shared was their mastery of the short form in their respective fields: the single-act work. Nowhere is Wilder’s skill in this dramatic form so ambitiously and thrillingly demonstrated than in “The Long Christmas Dinner”, which transforms the concept of duration by compressing 90 years into under an hour, and thereby exposes fundamental issues of life and its rebirths. Hindemith, too, loved the form, and used it to invoke sudden spikes of emotion, whether it be horror, laughter, or astonishment. That these two great artists collaborated on a form that they both dominated and reinvigorated is a rare and happy historical convergence.” This CD release includes complete librettos in English and German, and extensive background notes by Hindemith scholar Joel Haney, conductor Leon Botstein, and Tappan Wilder, nephew and literary executor of Thornton Wilder.

REPERTOIRE

ORCHESTRAL WORKS

Alto Rhapsody  |  Johannes Brahms

Phaedra  |  Benjamin Britten

Symphony No. 9  | Ludwig Beethoven

Sea Pictures  |  Edward Elgar

Symphony No. 8  |  Gustav Mahler

Rückert-Lieder  |  Gustav Mahler

Ode to Joy  |  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Sheherezade  |  Maurice Ravel

Wesendonck Lieder  |  Richard Wagner

 

ORATORIO

Mass in C Major  |  Ludwig van Beethoven

Dream of Gerontius  |  Edward Elgar

Requiem  |  Maurice Duruflé

Stabat Mater   |  Antonín Dvořák

Messiah   |  G.F. Handel

Requiem  |  György Ligeti

Elijah  |  Mendelssohn

Requiem   |  Wolfgang Mozart

All Night Vigil, Op. 37, Mvt. 2   |  Sergei Rachmaninoff

Nagasaki  |  Alfred Schnittke

Requiem   |  Giuseppe Verdi

 

ORATORIO IN PREPARATION

Missa Solemnis   |  Ludwig van Beethoven

Requiem   |  Antonín Dvořák

Stabat Mater   |  Giacomo Rossini

Petite Messe Solennelle   |  Giacomo Rossini

 

 

OPERATIC ROLES

Azucena  |  Il Trovatore  |  Giuseppe Verdi

Amneris  |  Aida  |  Giuseppe Verdi

Ulrica  |  Un Ballo in Maschera  |  Giuseppe Verdi

Santuzza  |  Cavalleria Rusticana  |  Pietro Mascagni

Fricka  |  Die Walküre  |  Richard Wagner

Sieglinde  |  Die Walküre  |  Richard Wagner

Mère Marie  |   Les Dialogues des Carmelites  |  Francis Poulenc

Dido  |  Dido and Aeneas  |  Henry Purcell

 

OPERATIC ROLES IN PREPARATION

Eboli  |  Don Carlo  |  Giuseppe Verdi

Brangäne  |  Tristan und Isolde  |  Richard Wagner

Ortrud  |  Lohengrin  |  Richard Wagner

Cassandre  |  Les Troyens  |  Hector Berlioz

 

SONGS AND CHAMBER MUSIC

Dover Beach  |  Samuel Barber

Zigeunerlieder  |  Johannes Brahms

Liebesieder Walzer  |  Johannes Brahms

Two songs for alto, viola and piano, op. 91  |  Johannes Brahms

La Maja Dolorosa  |  Enrique Granados

Les Chansons de Bilitis  |  Claude Debussy

Five Mystical Songs  |  Ralph Vaughan Williams

Assorted Lieder  |  Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss, Franz Schubert

Assorted Mélodies  |  Henri Duparc, Reynaldo Hahn

Assorted Songs | Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland