American mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, Grand Finals winner of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and First Prize winner of the Dallas Opera Guild Competition is quickly making a name for herself at home and abroad. Acclaimed by Opera News as an “ingenious square-shouldered beauty with a maple-flavored mezzo” and as “serious and penetrating” by The New York Times, she was recently an artist at the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, and performed the title role in La Cenerentola. In the 2017/18 season, Ms. Hankey makes her debuts as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Den Norske Opera and as Siébel in Faust at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. She will also make her Carnegie Hall debut in Handel’s Messiah with Musica Sacra.
Recent engagements during the 2016/17 season included the title role in Handel’s Agrippina at The Juilliard School, about which Opera News wrote she “zipp[ed] through Agrippina's punishing music with beautiful tone, immaculate prosody and queenly authority”, as well as Varvara in Stephen Wadsworth’s production of Káťa Kabanová. Equally gifted in recital, Samantha presented two concerts at the Alice Tully Hall: 'Juilliard Songfest: Songs of Richard Strauss’ curated by Brian Zeger; and a program of Liszt, Schumann, and Strauss songs that she presented as winner of the Vocal Arts Honors Recital. She also appeared in a concert of the Rossini Stabat Mater with The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle in North Carolina and the workshop, The Wake World, a new commission by David Hertzberg for Opera Philadelphia.
In prior seasons, Ms. Hankey has appeared as Diana & Diana in Giove (La Calisto),Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), and Mercédès (Carmen). Additionally, she was featured in the HBO documentary A YoungArts MasterClass with soprano Renée Fleming, and has been heard on NPR’s From the Top as a recipient of a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, as well as on radio broadcasts played on WQXR and BR Klassik. Other notable accolades include a 2017 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, a 2015 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, and prizes from The James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, The Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, the Gerda Lissner Foundation Opera and the Lieder & Song Competitions, and Opera Index.
A recent graduate of The Juilliard School, she was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon receiving her Bachelor of Music degree and went on to become a Kovner Fellow during her Master of Music degree. Ms. Hankey is a native of Marshfield, Massachusetts and attended the Walnut Hill School for the Arts.
Doug Martin - Pianist
Mr. Martin conducts Fledermaus this Holiday season for Amore Opera. Last season Maestro Martin conducted a gala at Amore which featured Met singers Francisco Casanova and Aprile Millo. He has treasured an association of almost 20 years with the astounding Eve Oueler who will celebrate her 50th year with Opera Orchestra of New York this coming season. Mr. Martin is one of very few who can say they've conducted 100 performances of Puccini's La Boheme; Doug was one of two conductors of Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme on Broadway, which was sung without cuts in Italian with 28 piece orchestras in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Mr. Martin has a Performer‘s Certificate in piano from SUNY Fredonia, and a Masters of Music degree in piano performance from University of Indiana Bloomington, where he worked extensively with Virginia Zeani, and John Wustman. As an Associate Instructor at IU - he coached productions including Wozzeck, and Love for Three Oranges; while attending classes alongside Gayletha Nichols!