Special Faculty in Voice, soprano
Hailed as “nothing short of sensational” by Opera magazine and “a real creature of the stage” by Opera News, soprano Sari Gruber’s exciting and moving performances of a diverse operatic and concert repertoire have firmly established her as a beloved and revered artist on the international stage. In opera, she has garnered praise for her “shining soprano and vibrant presence” (Opera News), her “direct musicality” (The New York Times), as well as her “detailed, charming, resourceful and sympathetic” characterizations (Boston Herald). For her artistry as a recitalist, she was awarded First Place at the prestigious 2005 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation International Vocal Competition.
Her operatic credits include appearances with Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Netherlands Opera, Maggio Musicale di Firenze, Saito Kinen Festival, Seiji Ozawa’s Ongaku-Juku Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Pacific, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Portland Opera, Connecticut Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Arizona Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Berkshire Opera, among others, where she has performed leading roles including Susanna/Le nozze di Figaro, Pamina/Die Zauberflöte, Norina/Don Pasquale, Adina/L’elisir d’amore, Gretel/Hänsel und Gretel, Gilda/Rigoletto, Juliette/Roméo et Juliette, Anne Trulove/The Rake’s Progress, Vixen/The Cunning Little Vixen, Rose/Street Scene, Alexandra/Regina, Anna/Seven Deadly Sins, Musetta/La Bohème, Nannetta/Falstaff, Aricie/Hippolyte et Aricie, Poppea/Agrippina, Carolina/Il Matrimonio Segreto, Marzelline/Fidelio, Despina and Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte, Zerlina/Don Giovanni, Adele/Die Fledermaus, Beth/Little Women, Lisette/La Rondine , Miss Hedgehog/The Fantastic Mr. Fox (World Premiere), and Helena/A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Audiences nationwide saw her perform Gretel in a 1997 live PBS Great Performances telecast of Maurice Sendak’s production of Hänsel und Gretel.
An acclaimed recitalist, Ms. Gruber has appeared numerous times in solo recital at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, in addition to other noted recital venues, including Merkin Hall, San Francisco Performances, the 92nd Street Y, NYC’s Miller Theater, and San Francisco Opera’s Schwabacher Debut Recital Series, and was also the featured recital for the MTNA/NATS national convention in Salt Lake City. Ms. Gruber enjoys a special relationship with New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), with whom she has sung many times, and is honored to serve on its Artists Council. Ms. Gruber is also a founding member of the Pittsburgh Song Collaborative. She has given many recitals throughout the United States under the auspices of the Naumburg Foundation and Marilyn Horne Foundation. Other notable recital credits include a series of pre-concert recitals for Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Shakespeare Festival, Copland’s Poems of Emily Dickinson for New York Philharmonic’s Copland Festival, and appearances at Moab Music Festival, Skaneateles Festival, and Chicago Humanities Festival. She is featured on several recordings of songs by American composer Lori Laitman, as well as the most recent release by Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival.
On the concert stage, Ms. Gruber has sung with Boston Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque, Indianapolis Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Boston Baroque, NC Symphony, Portland Baroque, Columbus Symphony, ProMusica Chamber Ensemble, Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic, Berkshire Choral Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Gettysburg Festival, Jacksonville Symphony, Omaha Symphony, and Erie Philharmonic, in repertoire from Handel’s Messiah to Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 to Bernstein’s Songfest.
While Ms. Gruber still enjoys an active performing career, she teaches voice and performance at a variety of levels, ranging from high school students to active professionals. In addition to maintaining a private studio, she has conducted master classes and seminars at Pittsburgh Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Michigan State University, Aspen Opera Theatre Center, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Yale University, Skidmore College, SUNY Fredonia, Westminster College, Pittsfield (MA) Public Schools, and Roosevelt University. She has adjudicated for numerous organizations and competitions, including Opera America Discovery Grants for Female Composers, Vocal Arts DC Art Song Discovery Competition, MTNA District Competition, Denver Lyric Opera Guild, Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions. In past years, she has served on the voice faculties at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and Land of Enchantment Opera (now Rose Rock Opera). In addition to teaching classical singing at Carnegie Mellon, Ms. Gruber teaches musical theater vocal technique at Point Park University’s College of Performing Arts (COPA). Her students have performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera North (UK), Lyric Opera of Chicago, Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Seattle Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Colorado, Central City Opera, and Glimmerglass Festival, among others, as well as on Broadway and national tours.
The daughter of a physical chemist and a language teacher, Ms. Gruber grew up in Germany and the US, and went to college to study pre-med before she discovered a voice that matched her passion for acting, poetry, languages, and collaboration. Ms. Gruber holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Master of Music in Voice from The Juilliard School. She pursued further training at the Juilliard Opera Center and San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program. Her love of recital brought her to study song literature at both the Tanglewood Music Center and the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute. A semi-finalist in the 1996 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Gruber has also been awarded the Sara Tucker Grant from the Tucker Foundation, the William Sullivan Grant, a study grant from the Licia Albanese Foundation, two Richard F. Gold Career Grants, the DeRosa Prize from The Juilliard School, and the prestigious Louis Sudler Prize for Excellence in the Arts given to one graduating senior from Yale College each year at Commencement. While an undergraduate at Yale, she founded the Opera Theater of Yale College, which is still in existence and has helped to launch a number of today’s professional singers.