"HANKEY ZIPPED THROUGH AGRIPPINA'S PUNISHING MUSIC WITH
beautiful tone, immaculate prosody & queenly authority."
Praised for her “luscious” voice and “distinctive…vividly dramatic” performances by Opera News, Samantha Hankey has established herself as one of the leading young mezzo sopranos of her generation. Increasingly lauded for her powerful stage presence, Samantha shines when faced with a complex character, praised for her “exquisite feeling… and a certain splendour” (The Arts Desk).
Samantha opens her 2022-2023 season as Federico García Lorca in Golijov’s Ainadamar at Scottish Opera, directed by Olivier Award-winning choreographer and director Deborah Colker. Her much-anticipated house debut at Chicago Lyric Opera follows as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel before she reprises the role of Dorabella in Così fan tutte at Palm Beach Opera. Other season highlights include her return to the Metropolitan Opera, this time as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, including a Live in HD cinema broadcast, and her role and house debut as Mélisande in a new production of Pelléas et Mélisande by Katie Mitchell at Santa Fe Opera. In concert, Carnegie Hall presents Samantha in a prestigious debut solo recital of Zemlinksy, Strauss and Ravel.
Samantha made significant house and role debuts in the 2021-2022 season at the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona as Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos, Dorabella at San Diego Opera, and Ruggiero in Glyndebourne Festival’s new production of Alcina. She made her role debut as Prince Charmant in Cendrillon at the Metropolitan Opera, and her house debut in the same role at the Opéra de Paris, before returning to Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, a role which she debuted to critical acclaim in the new production by Barrie Kosky, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
From 2019-2021, Samantha held a Fest contract at the Bayerische Staatsoper where she made notable appearances as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Wellgunde in Das Rheingold, Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and as Carmen in Marina Abramović’s new production of 7 Deaths of Maria Callas at the Opernfestspiele. Other recent significant house debuts include Opernhaus Zürich, Den Norske Opera, The Dallas Opera, and Grand Théâtre de Genève. 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”; she appeared at Bard Festival in Lili Boulanger’s Faust et Hélène, at Carnegie Hall in Handel’s Messiah; in solo recital at London’s Wigmore Hall with Malcolm Martineau and in New York City at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Brian Zeger.
Equally at home in classical repertoire and new music, Samantha 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. She also has been involved in numerous world premieres including productions with Opera Philadelphia and The Metropolitan Opera.
Samantha’s 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 same year, she took home multiple prizes at the 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 the 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
Samantha is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where she received both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees and was recognized with several distinctions, including the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music and The Juilliard Kovner Fellowship.
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.