Biography

Praised by the New York Times for her “luminous voice” and “intensely expressive interpretations,” and named “remarkable, artistically mature” and “a singer to watch” by Opera News, soprano Sarah Shafer is quickly emerging as a sought-after artist on both the operatic and concert stage. The 2015 – 2016 season sees Ms. Shafer return to the San Francisco Opera for her role debut of Pamina in the Jun Kaneko production of Die Zauberflöte, which the Huffington Post called “a feisty, vocally powerful Pamina.” She will also return to Opera Philadelphia this season as Adina in L’elisir d’amore, directed by Stephen Lawless. Concert work includes Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with pianist Richard Goode and clarinetist Anthony McGill and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the New York Choral Society, and Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall.

Highlights of previous seasons include the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women at San Francisco Opera in the role of Rosetta, opposite Anna Caterina Antonacci and conducted by Nicola Luisotti, as well as creating the role of Mary Lennox in the world premiere of Nolan Gasser’s The Secret Garden, also with San Francisco Opera. Other career highlights include Barbarina and the cover role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Glyndebourne Festival and the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall, and several roles for Opera Philadelphia including Nuria in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar, Voce dal Cielo in Don Carlo, and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte.

A recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Ms. Shafer’s credits for Curtis Opera Theatre include over 20 productions and a variety of roles such as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Almirena in Rinaldo, Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Elizabeth Zimmer in Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers, Ilia in Idomeneo, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Sofia in Il Signor Bruschino, and Mélisande in Impressions of Pelléas. Most recently, she sang the role of Sister Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites.

On the concert stage, Ms. Shafer was recently heard in Carnegie Hall as soloist with the New York Choral Society in Mendelssohn’s St. Paul. Other recently performed works include Bach’s St. John Passion and Mass in B minor, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Poulenc’s Gloria, Lutoslawski’s Chantefleurs et Chantefables, Fauré’s RequiemDuet for Soprano and Tenor after Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy-Overture Romeo and Juliet, Strauss’ Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Handel’s Messiah, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. Ms. Shafer has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Mexico, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Wroclaw Symphony Orchestra (Poland), the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, among others.

An avid recitalist and chamber musician, Ms. Shafer enjoys an active collaboration with legendary pianist Richard Goode, most recently performing Schumann and Brahms lieder at Carnegie Hall. She has also collaborated with musicians including guitarist Jason Vieaux, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. Ms. Shafer was a resident artist at the Marlboro Music Festival for five summers, where she worked with Richard Goode, Mitsuko Uchida, Benita Valente, Sir Thomas Allen, and Martin Isepp. She has also performed at the Mozart and Handel Académie européenne de musique in Aix-en-Provence, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival France, the Bard Summer Music Festival, and was named a winner of the 2014 Astral Artists National Auditions.

A native of State College, PA, Ms. Shafer holds degrees in voice and opera from the Curtis Institute of Music, and is currently based in Philadelphia.

Photography by Vanessa Briceño