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Carrie Hennessey, soprano

Finalist Series Concert I :: I Dreamed a Dream / Juliet’s Waltz

Known for her soaring voice and richly nuanced characters, soprano Carrie Hennessey is consistently thrilling audiences and critics in opera and concert appearances around the world.  Ms. Hennessey’s much-awaited debut in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire “gave us a Blanche that let us burrow into her character’s soul, even into the darkest crevices…Hennessey, using a one-two punch of music and drama, made it resonate in a way that equaled the finest stage performances of the part I’ve seen.” (Fresno Bee)  Ms. Hennessey’s embodiment of the title role in the West Coast Premiere of Tobias Picker’s opera Emmeline earned her a Bay Area Broadway World Awards for “Best Leading Actress in a Musical” nomination.  Praised for bringing her signature “exquisite vocal purity and range to the title role” and was “nothing short of sensational” (San Francisco Classical Voice).  As Mimì in La Bohème, Ms. Hennessey “…possessed of a full, powerful lyric soprano, which delivers Puccini’s arias and duets richly. Her “Mi chiamano Mimì” (yes, they call me Mimì) in Act 1 is gorgeous.” (San Francisco Classical Voice).  On only one day’s notice, Ms. Hennessey made her debut with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, as soprano soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, to great acclaim.

The 2021/2022 joyous return to the stage includes title role debut in Kát’á Kabanová by Leoš Janáček with West Edge Opera and Rose in At the Statue of Venus with Festival Opera accompanied on piano by composer Jake Heggie.  Ms. Hennessey will appear in the inaugural season of the Capitol Public Radio Garden Concert Series, as soloist of operatic arias with the Cleveland Philharmonic, as well as numerous recitals, chamber music concerts, and continuous music education projects.

Recent engagements include Ms. Hennessey’s performing the world premiere of Bones of Girls by librettist Cristina Fríes and composer Ryan Suleiman, with The Rogue Music Project, a collective of performers that cultivates adventurous musical and theatrical experiences.  “And Yet She Persisted” was a visceral and heartfelt recital with longtime collaborator Jennifer Reason of all female composers, for Festival Opera’s online concert series SalON Demand.  Debuting as Estelle in a sold-out run of an immersive production in the opera The Stronger was a highlight in the Sacramento restaurant Magpie.  “Crisis of Faith” explored duets and scenes from new operas including several world premieres.  Song of Sacramento benefitted the Sacramento Children’s Chorus, while amplifying the voices of local composers, which included eight world premieres of their songs.  Other performances included Carmina Burana with Sacramento Ballet, Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate! and Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, chamber works including Respighi’s Il Tramonto, Ravel’s Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé and William Walton’s Façade, as well as several appearances in recital.

Previous performances include orchestral debut of the Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder with conductor Daniel Stewart, collaborating in the development and performance of a world premiere ballet with choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie and the Sacramento Ballet, Carmina Burana, Gounod’s Messe solennelle en l’honneur de Sainte Cécile, Brahms’ Requiem, a celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s music with concert “Bernstein 100” with the Colorado Symphony and Sinfonia Chamber Brass, Britten’s War Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 as well as debuts at the Concertgebouw in Bruges, in Ypres, Belgium and at the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Germany singing the soprano solo in the Verdi Requiem.  Alongside the world-renowned composer Ricky Ian Gordon in the fall of 2016, Ms. Hennessey gave Master Classes and performed a recital of his original art songs.

Notable recent opera highlights include Blanche Du Bois in André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Sarah Miles in the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair with West Edge Opera, Mimì in La Bohème, Elle in La Voix Humaine in NYC, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Magda and Floria Tosca in Puccini: A Man and His Muses for Sacramento Opera.  Other highlights include her debut with the Houston Symphony at Jones’ Hall, Mozart’s Mass in C minor at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Budapest, Hungary, and Reduta Hall in Bratislava, Dvorak’s Requiem in Rudolfinum Hall in Prague, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen at the International Mahler Festival in the Czech Republic, Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Villa Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Lobgesang, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Vaughn Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem.  Handel’s Messiah with the renowned Pacific Symphony, Stravinsky’s ballet Pulcinella, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, a world premiere song cycle written for Ms. Hennessey, and the Rootstock Percussion Trio, Orff’s Carmina Burana with Grand Rapids Symphony, and Fauré’s Requiem and Brahms’ Requiem with Oakland Symphony where Hennessey brought “bright tone and elegant legato”.

Ms. Hennessey directed the Sacramento Children’s Chorus’s joint production of Brundibar with Sacramento Opera, and is currently an artistic advisor to the Board.  Ms. Hennessey continues to actively support music education through lectures, workshops, and Master Classes in the communities in which she works, as well as nurturing a thriving private vocal studio.
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