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 2022-23 season sees Ms. Shafer returning to the Quad City Symphony Orchestra in the role of Krystyna Zywulska in Jake Heggie’s Two Remain, and making her debut with the Kalamazoo Symphony as the soprano soloist in Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem. She will also appear with the Gamut Bach Ensemble this spring with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Bellingham Symphony singing Mozart’s Requiem. Recent performances have included a return to Opera Philadelphia, first in a program entitled “Larry Brownlee and Friends” and then for a concert of arias hosted at the Mann Center. She also joined frequent collaborator Opera Lafayette as Jeanette in Philidor’s La maréchal ferrant, and presented a virtual recital for Friends of Chamber Music Portland (Oregon).
During the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Shafer returned to Opera Philadelphia for a comedic turn as Iris in Semele, sang Cupid in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis with Opera Lafayette, and joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in Le nozze di Figaro, covering the role of Barbarina. She presented Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Pari with the Cincinnati Symphony, a concert entitled “Emerging Voices” with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Omaha Symphony. Recital appearances included a collaboration with Martin Katz and the University Musical Society at University of Michigan presenting Hugo Wolf’s Mörike Lieder. Two recordings were released: Poul Ruders’ The Thirteenth Child with Bridge Records, and with Naxos Records, Richard Danielpour’s Talking to Aphrodite.
In opera, Sarah Shafer is experiencing a burgeoning career, including a debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Azema in Semiramide, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with San Diego Opera, and her role and company debut in the title role of L’incoronazione di Poppea with Cincinnati Opera. Ms. Shafer has appeared with San Francisco Opera as Pamina in Jun Kaneko’s production of Die Zauberflöte, Mary Lennox in the world premiere of Nolan Gasser’s The Secret Garden, 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. She had an enormous success in her return to Opera Philadelphia as Adina in Stephen Lawless’ production of L’elisir d’amore. Elsewhere, she has sung Leïla in Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles at Tulsa Opera, Barbarina and the cover of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Glyndebourne Festival and with 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.
In her young career, Ms. Shafer has enjoyed notable success in concert work. She has performed Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and San Antonio Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, and Oregon Bach Festival, Bach’s St. John Passion with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Voices of Ascension in New York City, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Bergen Symphony Orchestra, Les Illuminations and “L’amerò, sarò costante” from Il Rè Pastore with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of Richard Danielpour’s “Talking to Aphrodite” with the Sejong Soloists at Carnegie Hall, Bach’s Mass in B minor with the New York Choral Society, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Resurrection with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Poulenc’s Gloria and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, and Shanan Estreicher’s Songs of Emily Dickinson with the Chamber Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall.
An avid recitalist and chamber musician, Ms. Shafer enjoys an active collaboration with legendary pianist Richard Goode, having performed Schumann and Brahms lieder with him at Carnegie Hall, Spivey Hall, Chamber Music Sedona, and Chamber Music Society of Detroit as well as other venues in Palm Beach and New York. She has performed Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with clarinetist Anthony McGill at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Five Borough Music Festival. She has also collaborated with such musicians as guitarist Jason Vieaux, Anna Polonsky, 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 the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Mozart and Handel Académie in Aix-en-Provence, Bard Summer Music Festival, and 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 outside Philadelphia..