"HANKEY ZIPPED THROUGH AGRIPPINA'S PUNISHING MUSIC WITH
beautiful tone, immaculate prosody & queenly authority."
Praised as “luscious,” “amber-toned,” and “dazzling” by Opera News, American mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey is quickly establishing a name for herself both at home and abroad. This summer, Samantha renewed the title role in Handel’s Agrippina in concert with Il Pomo d’Oro, following acclaimed performances of her original role debut while at Juilliard. She wrapped up her 2018-2019 season with her house and role debut at Opernhaus Zürich as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. In the 2019/2020 season, Samantha joins the ensemble of the Bayerische Staatsoper, performing several major roles including Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and more. She also makes her house debut at The Dallas Opera as Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte. After a full season of engagements at the Metropolitan Opera in 2018/2019, Samantha returns to the Met in the spring of 2020 for productions of Manon Lescaut as well as Kát’a Kabanová, where she will cover the role of Varvara.
In the 2018/19 season, Samantha made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Pantalis in Mefistofele, and returned to the Met throughout the year in Adriana Lecouvreur, Carmen, Das Rheingold, Götterdämmerung, and Rigoletto, debuting a myriad of named roles in her first season at the Met. Samantha’s 2017/18 engagements included important role debuts as both Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Den Norske Opera) and Siébel in Faust (Grand Théâtre de Genève). As a member of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Opera Program, Samantha sang the role of Angelina in La Cenerentola to enthusiastic critical acclaim, with the SF Gate praising her performance as “dark-hued, confident... formidable.” Equally at home in classic repertoire and new music, Samantha took part in two significant workshops: Ricky Ian Gordon’s Intimate Apparel, in association with the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theatre, and David Hertzberg’s The Wake World, commissioned for Opera Philadelphia. Samantha enjoys a close collaboration with composer David Hertzberg and was instrumental in developing the title role of his opera The Rose Elf, which was written for her. Its 2018 premiere at the Green-Wood Cemetery Catacombs was hailed by Operavore as “one of the most important opera events of the year.”
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.
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.
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.
"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.
Samantha is passionate about using her music to support philanthropic causes, and in her free time, gladly volunteers to appear in charity recitals that raise awareness for the Voices of Hope, Parkinson’s research, and more.