"HANKEY ZIPPED THROUGH AGRIPPINA'S PUNISHING MUSIC WITH
beautiful tone, immaculate prosody & queenly authority."
Praised as “luscious,” “distinctive,” and “vividly dramatic” by Opera News, American mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey is quickly establishing a name for herself across the United States and abroad.
Highlights 2021-22 include opening the season of the Gran Teatre del Liceu Opera Barcelona in her role debut as Der Komponist Ariadne auf Naxos, Dorabella Cosí fan tutte at San Diego Opera, and Glyndebourne Festival in her first festival appearance as Ruggiero Alcina. Samantha returns to The Metropolitan Opera for the beloved holiday tradition production of Cinderella in December and performs recitals at Alice Tully Hall featuring pianist Brian Zeger and at the Wigmore Hall with Malcolm Martineau. Samantha returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper for Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro and reprises the role of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, which she debuted to critical acclaim in the 2020-21 season in the eagerly anticipated new production of Barrie Kosky, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
Alongside Der Rosenkavalier, Samantha made other notable appearances during her residency at the Bayerische Staatsoper as Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel, Wellgunde Das Rheingold, Zweite Dame Die Zauberflöte, Mercédès Carmen, and as Carmen in Marina Abramović’s new production of 7 Deaths of Maria Callas at the Opernfestspiele.
In addition to her stage performances, Samantha is an accomplished recital and concert artist. In 2017, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in Handel’s Messiah with Musica Sacra and performed Rossini’s Stabat Mater in North Carolina. Prior to that, Samantha was heard at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in “Juilliard Songfest: Songs of Richard Strauss,” curated by Brian Zeger, as well as a program of Liszt, Schumann, and Strauss songs that she presented as winner of the Vocal Arts Honors Recital. Her voice has also been heard on the radio, including broadcasts from PlayRTS, BR-Klassik, WQXR, and NPR. In 2012, Samantha was featured in HBO’s documentary A YoungArts Master Class with renowned soprano Renée Fleming.
Samantha is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she received both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. While there, Samantha performed in no fewer than six productions; her highlighted roles included Diana in La Calisto, Varvara in Katya Kabanova, and the title role in Agrippina, of which Musical America wrote, "Samantha Hankey sang Agrippina in a lustrous, commanding mezzo soprano." Samantha’s academic and vocal accomplishments at Juilliard were recognized with several distinctions, including the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music and the Juilliard Kovner Fellowship. During her training, Samantha also participated in several summer programs, such as The Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy, and The Aspen Music Festival.
Other recent significant role and house debuts include Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (Opernhaus Zürich), Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Den Norske Opera), Zweite Dame Die Zauberflöte (The Dallas Opera) and Siébel in Faust (Grand Théâtre de Genève). In addition, Samantha made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Pantalis in Mefistofele, and returned to the Met for Adriana Lecouvreur, Carmen, Das Rheingold, Götterdämmerung, and Rigoletto, debuting a myriad of named roles within a single season at the Met. On the concert stage, Samantha performed the title role in Handel’s Agrippina in concert with Il Pomo d’Oro in Turku, Finland, where she was praised by Turun Sanomat for her “marvelously rich mezzo.”
Equally at home in classical repertoire and new music, Samantha took part in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Intimate Apparel, in association with the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theatre, and has been involved in numerous world premieres including productions with Opera Philadelphia and the Met. She has a longstanding relationship with composer David Herzberg with whom she co-developed the title role in The Rose Elf as well as The Fairy Prince in The Wake World, both of which received considerable praise through multiple workshops, premieres, and CD recordings.
Samantha’s growing career includes awards in a vast number of national and international competitions. In 2018, she won both First Prize and the Media Prize at the Inaugural Glyndebourne Cup. The Arts Desk wrote of her victory: “Polished, golden of tone, and convincing.... She has a natural charisma, centering on the voice itself...allowing her unfailing musicality to shine through.” That same year, she took home multiple prizes at Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition, winning top awards in the general division as well as the Birgit Nilsson Prize for her interpretation of the work of Richard Strauss. In 2018, Samantha also received a Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, following an earlier 2016 award of a Sara Tucker Study Grant. In 2017, she was named a Grand Finals Winner by the Metropolitan Opera National Council, took First Prize in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, and received a Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship in that foundation’s final year.
"ALSO IMPRESSIVE WAS HIS DIANA, SAMANTHA HANKEY, THE MOST INGENIOUS & ECONOMICAL ACTOR IN THE COHORT OF TEN SINGERS.
A SQUARE-SHOULDERED BEAUTY WITH A MAPLE-FLAVORED MEZZO,
HANKEY WAS ABLE TO INDICATE WITH ADMIRABLE SUBTLETY WHEN SHE WAS MEANT TO BE THE "REAL" DIANA AND WHEN SHE WAS MEANT TO BE THE GOD GIOVE DISGUISED AS DIANA."
"OF THE LOVERS, SAMANTHA HANKEY MAKES THE BIGGER IMPACT AS A PUNK-ISH ROSINA WHO IS CLEARLY GOING TO BE TOO MUCH OF A HANDFUL FOR HER HAPLESS AND DELUDED GUARDIAN.
SHE SANG WITH POWER & POISE & Held the attention even on a crowded stage."
PLAYS TO SEE
A native of Marshfield, Massachusetts, Samantha embraced her passion for music from an early age after performing in a local production of Annie at age six. She sang with the Boston Children’s Chorus for several years as a youth, attended the distinguished Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and pursued pre-college vocal training at the Longy School of Music and the New England Conservatory. In April 2018, Samantha was thrilled to return to her roots with Boston Children’s Chorus by joining them at Carnegie Hall for their 15th anniversary concert.