Professor of Voice, soprano
Providence born soprano, Maria Spacagna has been a regular guest artist at many of the world’s most prestigious opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the Dallas Opera, Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Santa Fe Opera Festival, Florida Grand Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Arena di Verona, Teatro San Carlo, the Puccini Festival at Torre del Lago, the Spoleto Festival, the Zurich Opera, Bavarian State Opera of Munich, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opera Theater of Cologne, Opera Theater of Montreal, Canadian Opera, Shanghai Grand Opera, Capetown Opera of South Africa and many others. She was the first American-born artist to perform the role of MADAMA BUTTERFLY at La Scala. She has recorded for Vox Classics, the first commercial recording of the 1904 La Scala world premiere version of Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY which includes the revisions for Brescia and Paris. This is the first interactive recording of an opera designed for CD. VARIETY, the American daily of the entertainment industry has written, “Spacagna is the Cio-Cio-San of our generation”. The Spacagna Butterfly was selected by FANFARE, the recording industry quarterly, as one of the three opera “recordings of the year” for 1997. Fanfare, places her recording of the role along with those of Tebaldi, Scotto and Toti dal Monte. Her recordings of the title role of Mascagni’s Lodoletta for Hungaroton and Vivetta in Cilea’sL’Arlesiana for Harmonia Mundi have earned critical acclaim. In 1993, the LA SCALA ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE OPERA wrote: “The elegance of Spacagna’s phrasing, coupled with a voice that is consistent across the range and great sensitivity of interpretation, led her to being acclaimed as one of the great singers of her generation.” She has performed more than 40 roles in her career. Among them are: Violetta, Gilda, Desdemona, Luisa Miller, Amelia Boccanegra, Mimi, Liu, Tosca, Micaela, Marguerite and Rusalka.
As Liu in Turandot, Ms. Spacagna has been featured at the Metropolitan Opera (including the international radio broadcast), La Scala, Dallas Opera, Canadian Opera and in Korea and Japan with La Scala on tour. Her Violetta in La Traviata has been heard at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Arena di Verona, Cologne, Toronto, Metropolitan Opera, Torre del Lago, New York City Opera, Dallas Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and New Orleans Opera. As Gilda in Rigoletto she has been heard at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Dallas, Milwaukee, Rio de Janiero, Toronto, New Orleans, Toledo, Artpark Festival, Winnipeg and Providence.
She returned to La Scala in 1996 to perform Cio-Cio-San, repeated the role at the Metropolitan, returned to Cologne and Berlin for more performances of Madama Butterfly and opened the Santa Fe Festival in their new production of that opera. In the 1996/97 season she sang her first Tosca for Boston Lyric Opera and returned to the Met as Mimi in La Boheme and Cio-Cio-San inMadama Butterfly. In 1997 Ms. Spacagna made her first appearances in Australia at Perth as Mimi in La Boheme and sang the Verdi Requiem. Later that year she debuted in South Africa at Capetown with performances of Violetta in La Traviata. In 1998 she added Leonora in Il Trovatore at the Met and the Deutsche Oper Berlin and reprised Liu in Turandot for the Met. Other engagements included Madama Butterfly at L’Opera de Montreal, Pittsburgh Opera, and Deutsche Oper Berlin and La Traviata in New Orleans.
Important performances for Ms. Spacagna in 1998/99 included UnBallo in Maschera with Opera Grand Rapids, Andrea Chenier for Baltimore Opera, La Boheme at the Met, Madama Butterfly for the inaugural performances of the Fresno International Grand Opera,La Boheme for Opera Providence, and La Traviata for the Shanghai Grand Opera in Shanghai, China.
Other notable roles in her repertory (and their venue) include: Lina in Stiffelio and the title role in Luisa Miller (Metropolitan Opera), Maddalena in Andrea Chenier (Cincinnati Opera), Desdemona inOtello (Columbus Symphony and Florentine Opera), Marguerite inFaust (Trieste, Montreal, Winnipeg and Providence), the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro (Florentine Opera), Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore(Metropolitan Opera and Opera Theater of St. Louis), Micaela inCarmen (Dallas, Memphis, and Portland), Lord Byron‘s Love Letter(Trieste), and title roles in Rusalka (Spoleto Festival) and Lodoletta(New Jersey State Opera).
At the invitation of Placido Domingo, Ms. Spacagna performed at a State Dinner honoring the Prime Minister of Italy given by President and Mrs. Clinton at the White House.
In concert, Maria Spacagna has appeared with the Pittsburgh Symphony in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Lorin Maazel, and the Verdi Requiem with the Stamford Chamber Orchestra, Pioneer Symphony, MA, and the Chorale and Orchestra of Perth, Australia. She has also appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Civic Chorale, and New York’s Little Orchestra Society, the Queens Symphony and the Toronto Symphony.
Ms. Spacagna is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Voice and a Master of Music in Voice with Distinction. She was honored with an Alumni of the Year Award in 2004 from NEC. She was a member of the Juilliard Opera Center at the Julliard School of Music. In competitions, she was a second prize winner of the Busseto Verdi Competition in Italy, and the Paris International Voice Competition, and a New York regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. She is the recipient of 2 George London grants, the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Rockefeller Foundation and the Minna Kaufmann Rudd Distinguished Performance Award. Ms. Spacagna is a recipient of a Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts. In March, 2012, she received an award from the Italian Consulate General in Boston for Outstanding Achievement in Art, Culture and Entertainment. She is also Honorary President of the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra and has received its first Distinguished Artist Award. At the invitation of its founder, Sherrill Milnes, Ms. Spacagna is a faculty member of V.O.I.C.Experience, a training program for emerging professional singers. She was Lecturer in Voice at Boston University, College of Fine Arts from 2005 until 2012. Presently, she is Professor of Voice at Carnegie Mellon University School of Fine Arts.