Artist of the Week: Leah Hawkins

American Soprano Makes Role & House Debut in ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’ at Arizona Opera

By Francisco Salazar

This week the Arizona Opera is set to open its season with Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” featuring two stellar casts including Leah Hawkins, one of the most promising young singers of her generation.

The soprano, who hails from Philadelphia, is set to have one of her most exciting seasons yet featuring numerous role debuts and house debuts. With Ariadne, Hawkins will make her Arizona Opera debut as well as her role debut in the iconic Strauss opera. It will mark her first major Strauss role after performing Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with the Apollo Orchestra.

Regarding her debut with Arizona, Hawkins recently said, “I think often with opera, we make these characters really stock, obnoxious characters and they don’t have to be. They can be real, honest people within that. You want to believe the people you’re watching on stage.” She added that audiences should not “be afraid to laugh. Don’t be afraid to cheer. Truthfully, I want the way we approach opera to be how we approach rock concerts, RnB and pop concerts. We want that same love too!”

For those not in Arizona for her two performances, the soprano is set to bring “Tosca” to the stage first in Memphis and then in Santa Fe, where she will also make her anticipated debut. She also returns to the Metropolitan Opera, where she had great success in “Porgy and Bess” and performs this season in “La Boheme.” Hawkins is also set to perform at the Kennedy Center in the Marian Anderson Award Recital.


For those not familiar with Hawkins’ voice, here are some clips of the soprano performing in Pittsburgh and with the Apex Ensemble.


Artist of the WeekSpecial Features