Biography

Praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer for her, “crystalline sound, perfectly true intonation, glowing warmth, and total presence” and named “remarkable, artistically mature … a singer to watch” by Opera News, American soprano Sarah Shafer actively appears on the leading operatic and concert stages of the world. The 2019-2020 season sees Sarah Shafer returning to Opera Philadelphia for Iris in Semele, Cupid in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis with Opera Lafayette and the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in Le Nozze di Figaro. Continuing her thriving concert career, Ms. Shafer will appear with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra singing Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Nicola Luisotti, Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Pari with the Cincinnati Symphony, a concert entitled “Emerging Voices” with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with Omaha Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Spokane Symphony, and a world premiere work entitled Karkinos by Jacob Bancks with Quad City Symphony. Recital appearances include a collaboration with Martin Katz and the University Musical Society at University of Michigan presenting Hugo Wolf’s Mörike Lieder. Two recordings will be released: Poul Ruders’ The Thirteenth Child with Bridge Records, and with Naxos Records, Richard Danielpour’s Talking to Aphrodite.

In the 2018-2019 season, Sarah Shafer made her house and role debut as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with San Diego Opera, Virginia in Scarlatti’s La caduta de Decemviri at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and appeared with Harrisburg Symphony singing Poulenc’s Gloria and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5; Carmina Burana with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra conducted by Francesco Lecce-Chong, Handels cantata Aminta e Fillide,HWV 83 and Mozart’s Requiem, conducted by Jane Glover, with the Oregon Bach Festival, Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Indianapolis Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Toledo Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the St. John Passion with Louisiana Philharmonic, and Shanan Estreicher’s Songs of Emily Dickinson with Chamber Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall. Recital work included a residency and performance with Chamber Music Sedona, lieder recitals with Chamber Music Society of Detroit and at Spivey Hall with pianist Richard Goode, recitals in Palm Beach and New York City with Richard Stoltzman and Anna Polonsky, John Harbison’s monodrama IF as well as Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Five Boroughs Music Festival with Martin Katz.

The 2017-2018 season saw Ms. Shafer’s debut with the Metropolitan Opera singing Azema in the John Copley production of Semiramide, conducted by Maurizio Benini, and her company and role debut in the title role of L’incoronazione di Poppea with Cincinnati Opera. Concert work included her debut with Bergen Symphony Orchestra singing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Les Illuminations and “L’amerò, sarò costante” from Il Rè Pastore with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, her debut with Utah Symphony Orchestra singing Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Bach Mass in b minor with the New York Choral Society, and Messiah with Eugene Symphony Orchestra. Recital work included a return to the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago for their opening concert “Myths and Legends” and a salon concert with Myra Huang.

Concert work for the 2016-2017 season included Carmina Burana with the San Antonio Symphony conducted by music director Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Mozart’s Requiem with the Omaha Symphony, Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with both the Cheyenne and Williamsport Symphony Orchestras, the world premiere of Richard Danielpour’s “Talking to Aphrodite” with the Sejong Soloists at Carnegie Hall, a holiday concert with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, and Bach’s St. John Passion with Voices of Ascension chorus.

Highlights of recent opera include Pamina in the Jun Kaneko production of Die Zauberflöte, Zerlina in Jacopo Spirei’s new production of Don Giovanni, and the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women in the role of Rosetta, opposite Anna Caterina Antonacci and conducted by Nicola Luisotti, both with San Francisco Opera. Ms. Shafer had an enormous success in her return to Opera Philadelphia as Adina in the Stephen Lawless production of L’elisir d’amore, and created the role of Mary Lennox in the world premiere of Nolan Gasser’s The Secret Garden with San Francisco Opera. Other career highlights include Leïla in Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles at Tulsa Opera, 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, and Voce dal Cielo in Don Carlo.

An avid recitalist and chamber musician, Ms. Shafer enjoys an active collaboration with legendary pianist Richard Goode, having performed Schumann and Brahms lieder at Carnegie Hall and Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with clarinetist Anthony McGill at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. She has also collaborated with such musicians as 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 actively appears with Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and has sung for Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra’s chamber music series, the Mozart and Handel Académie européenne de musique in Aix-en-Provence, France, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, the Bard Summer Music Festival, and the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary.

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.