WATCH AND LISTEN
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
MM • Catholic University • Voice Performance
BA • Oberlin College • Music Performance
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
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.
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
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
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