Sara Hershkowitz

coloratura soprano

Sara Hershkowitz possesses a flexible, beautiful voice with huge presence — a wild, beautiful animal admires the magazine Opernwelt. The outstanding soprano is a native of Los Angeles, California, and fascinates the musical world with her enormous stage presence and wide range of repertoire. In 2020, she has been nominated by the Opernwelt Magazine for Singer of the Year the third time: for her interpretation of soprano 1 in Luigi Nono‘s Al gran sole carico d’amore at the Theater Basel. Earlier nominations include her portrayal of Zaide in the German Premiere of Mozart/Czernowin’s Zaide Adama and for Donna Anna in Don Giovanni.

In 2019, she created the role of Claire Claremont in the world premiere of Michael Wertmueller’s Diodati. Unendlich (musical direction: Titus Engel, staging: Lydia Steier) and sang Soprano 1 in Luigi Nono’s Al Gran Sole Carico D’Amore (musical direction: Jonathan Stockhammer, staging: Sebastian Baumgarten) at Theater Basel to great acclaim.

As a principal artist at the Bremen Opera between 2007-2012, she performed such roles as Chief of Gepopo in Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, Sophie in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, and Konstanze in Mozart’s The Abduction of the Seraglio. In 2017, she made her debut with the New Orleans Opera as Euridice in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and fascinated as the four heroines Olympia/Antonia/Giulietta/Stella in Offenbach’s Les Contes D’Hoffmann at the Opernhaus Wuppertal. Additional opera highlights include Zerbinetta in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos at the Nordnorsk Opera og Symfonieorkester in Norway, the role of the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at Teatro Comunale di Bologna and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Autonoe in Henze’s The Bassarides at Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma, The Snow Owl in Philip Glass’s The Civil Wars, with the Holland Festival, and Servillia in Gluck’s La Clemenzo di Tito at the Theater an der Wien.

Sara Hershkowitz thrilled audiences and critics alike with her own daring and controversial staging of Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre with the Noord Netherlands Orchestra in 2017, followed by further performances of this piece with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra at the Bergen International Festival in Norway as well as with the BBC Scottish Symphony in UK. Recently, she made her debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in John Cage’s Europeras, sang Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Detroit Symphony, Unsuk Chin’s Acrostic Word Play at the Bergen International Festival, an evening of Alban Berg and Philip Herschkowitz lieder for ORF Radio in Wien (together with pianist Elisabeth Leonskaya), and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Five Images After Sappho with the London Philharmonia.

In the season 2021/22, Sara Hershkowitz will sing the outstanding role of Venus/Chief of Gepopo in György Ligeti’s opera Le Grand Macabre at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest (conductor: James Gaffigan) i.a..

Sara Hershkowitz has a B.A. in voice from the Manhattan School of Music, is an alumni of the Academie Lyrique at Festival Aix-en-Provence and also of the Salzburg Festspiele Young Singers Project. She currently splits her time between Berlin and California. As a singer songwriter and a bluegrass/americana/folk vocalist, Ms. Hershkowitz also performs under the name Sara Shiloh Rae together with her band, Bluebird Junction.

Opera / Music theatre

Thomas Adès Powder Her Face (The Maid)
George Benjamin Written on Skin (Agnes)
Alban Berg Lulu (Lulu)
Leonard Bernstein Candide (Cunegonde), West Side Story (Maria)
Benjamin Britten The Turn of the Screw (Governess), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania)
Claude Debussy Pélleas and Mélisande (Mélisande)
Gaetano Donizetti Lucia di Lammermoor (Lucia), The Three Queens (Anna Bolena/Maria Stuarda/Robert Devereux)
Georg Friedrich Händel Giulio Cesare (Cleopatra), Alcina (Alcina/Morgana)
György Ligeti Le Grand Macabre (Gepopo)
Jules Massenet Manon (Manon)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Mitridate, re di Ponto (Ismene/Aspasia), Lucio Silla (Giunia), Idomeneo (Lia/Elettra)
Luigi Nono Al Gran Sole Carico D’Amore (Sopran 1)
Jacques Offenbach Les Contes d’Hoffman (Four Female Roles), Orpheus in the Underworld (Eurydice)
Francis Poulenc Dialogues des Carmélites (Sœur Constance)
Aribert Reimann Lear (Regan/Cordelia)
Stephen Sondheim Into the Woods (Cinderella)
Johann Strauß Die Fledermaus (Adele)
Richard Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos (Zerbinetta), Der Rosenkavalier (Sophie), Arabella (Zdenka/Fiakermilli)
Igor Strawinsky The Rake’s Progress (Anne Truelove)
Giuseppe Verdi La Traviata (Violetta)
Bernd Alois Zimmermann Die Soldaten (Marie)

Concert (selection):

Johann Sebastian Bach St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Jauchzet Gott
Samuel Barber Knoxville Summer 1915
Alban Berg Sieben frühe Lieder
Johannes Brahms Deutsches Requiem
Benjamin Britten Les Illuminations, War Requiem
Unsuk Chin Acrostic Wordplay
Gabriel Faure Requiem
Georg Friedrich Händel The Messiah
Joseph Haydn Die Schöpfung
György Ligeti Mysteries of the Macabre
Carl Orff Carmina Burana
Esa-Pekka Salonen Five Songs after Sappho
Albert Schönberg Pierrot Lunaire
Richard Strauss Brentano Lieder
Michael Tippet Child of Our Time
Antonio Vivaldi Laudate Pueri, Gloria

Lied (selection)

Alban Berg Sieben frühe Lieder
George Gershwin American Songbook
Enrique Granados Tonadillas
Franz Schubert Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, Die Forelle, Heideröslein, An die Musik, Frühlingsglaube
Kurt Weill Nana‘s Lied, Berlin im Licht, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Wie lange noch

27 November 2021, 13:30, Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam

Programme: György Ligeti Le Grand Macabre

Cast: Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Groot Omroepkoor, James Gaffigan (conductor), Seth Carico (Astradamors), Paul Curievici (White-Party Minister), Sofia Fomina (Amanda), Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Amando), Sara Hershkowitz (Venus/Gepopo), Peter Hoare (Piet the Pot), Tim Kuypers (Black-Party Minister), Heidi Melton (Mescalina), Vince Yi (Prince Go-Go), Martin Winkler (Nekrotzar)

(…) with Sara Hershkowitz, the ensemble has won the lottery.

As Zerbinetta, Sara Hershkowitz sang with remarkable agility and command of her top register, combined with touching sincerity in her duet with the composer., Aksel Tollåli, 22 March 2017

The audience offered the brilliant and exhausted Hershkowitz four ovations… with her superb soprano voice, she punctuated the frightfull interpretation.
Radio Bremen, Andreas Moll

Sara Hershkowitz possesses a flexible, beautiful voice with huge presence—a wild, beautiful animal— with which she masters the frivolous love doll Olympia, the morbid sensuality of Antonia, and the coldness of professional-seductress Giulietta.
Opernwelt, Michael Struck, November 2016

Sara Hershkowitz is practically the perfect incarnation of the Governess’s ambiguity, able to calmly communicate repressed hysteria, then a near-calm that is somehow terrifying, all the while in full control of the jagged tessitura with absolute precision, flawless intonation, clarity, and pleasing tone.

Breathtakingly expressive and stunningly beautiful, Hershkowitz allows the coloratura of Zaide to move like pearls through her throat, with more lightness than spoken language could ever dream of achieveing. The staging (…) Stop. Back again to Hershkowitz. (…) Hershkowitz is simply the perfect opera singer., Benno Schirrmeister, 27 May 2008



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Sara Hershkowitz
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Sara Hershkowitz
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