Susan Gonzalez

susangonzalez

soprano | teacher | director

Susan Gonzalez

Susan Gonzalez has professional experience internationally in both theater and opera. She began her career at an early age acting professionally with the North Carolina State Theater which led to additional credits including a BBC Series, SAILOR, which won the British National SUN AWARD for excellence.  Her love of the theater and singing paved the way to an active career in both opera and concert repertoire which began with the National Opera Company which led to leading roles with the Lyric Opera of Chicago at Grant Park, Chicago Opera Theater, and New Orleans Opera, among many others. Her international credits include debuts with the Bolshoi Opera in Cheboksary and Nishny Novgorod, Russia.  Other television credits include her appearance as Rosina in a filmed version of Il Barbierre di Siviglia which went on to receive an EMMY nomination.

Susan Gonzalez’s theatrical background provided her with the skills and inspiration to become a stage director.  She created the Hunter College Opera Theatre where she showcases full productions of new and rarely performed works.  Hunter College Opera Theatre launched its first season in the Kaye Playhouse producing Nicholas Flagello’s opera THE SISTERS.  In addition she has also staged her own adaptation of Mozart’s Impresario for regional professional musical organizations such as The Bronx Arts Ensemble and New Jersey’s Garden State Opera. Her love of new works has inspired a collaboration which has resulted in an invitation to assist internationally known stage director, Leon Major at the University of Maryland for a new work during the 2009-10 season.

Susan Gonzalez’s solo concert appearances include performances at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall with the National Symphony, and Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. She has also performed with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Annapolis Symphony and the Mozart Players. Her recordings include CDs released by Naxos featuring the songs and arias of Nicholas Flagello  and Leonarda labelentitled “Songs by Women”. 

Dr. Gonzalez holds degrees from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Eastman School of Music where she earned her Doctorate of Music in Literature and Performance.  She is a skilled vocal technician with an emphasis in classical music and musical theater.

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THE HUNTER OPERA THEATER

Susan Gonzalez has helped create and lead the Hunter Opera Theater since 2007. The Hunter Opera Theater offers the opportunity to singers, orchestral musicians, dancers, actors, and staff to collaborate in fully staged operatic productions. The program is primarily devoted to performing and work-shopping operatic New Works in English. Our dedication to developing new opera at Hunter College is a commitment that reaches out to an international community. Currently Hunter College offers The Richard Burke Opera Composition Prize biannually and is set to begin in 2017. The prize will award and commission a composer/librettist team to write a world premiere for Hunter Opera Theater giving students a chance to work with living composers in the creation of a new work.

OPERA AS A LIBERAL INSTITUTION
Talented singers and musicians come to Hunter because the college offers comprehensive training in all aspects of music as well as an invaluable liberal arts degree. The Hunter Opera Theater provides something rarely found at similar institutions, the opportunity to build a production from the ground up, to sing on a stage before a discerning public, and to work with students and faculty in an experience that will surely be an unforgettable moment in a student’s academic life.

Hunter Opera is committed to involving students in opera not just as performers but as an audience as well. Working within a superb liberal arts institution with a first-rate department of music gives the program a unique opportunity to engage students in the production through courses devoted to all areas of opera production. The college’s location on Manhattan’s Upper East Side also provides the program with a unique opportunity to take advantage of a primary NYC location. We believe that the Hunter Opera Theater will play an active role in New York City’s cultural life.

HISTORY
In the 1940s and 50s the Hunter College Opera Workshop was an important part of the cultural and educational life of New York City. Many of the singers who participated in the program went on to significant careers in the field of opera and musical theater. Among its alumni were Martina Arroyo, John Reardon, Evelyn Lear, and Donald Gramm. In the 1960s, like a number of other institutions, the workshop fell victim to the budgetary crises of the university and the city and presented its last production, Robert Ward’s The Crucible.

It is with this history and tradition in mind that the Department of Music decided to stage an opera in May of 2007. Under the guidance of Susan Gonzalez, the number of students in the vocal program had grown considerably. These singers, many of them extremely talented, would graduate without ever performing in a staged opera. The first production of the newly formed Hunter Opera Theater consisted to two one-act operas, fully staged and accompanied by an orchestra in the prestigious Kaye Playhouse.

OUR MISSION
Our mission is to give every student an opportunity to work on stage in some capacity as singers or stage assistants. Hunter Opera Theater is a format for living composers to live out loud. We are looking for great new works and rarely performed works to showcase in a fully staged production to be presented at the Kaye Playhouse, located on the Hunter College campus. The Kaye Playhouse is a beautiful centrally located union theater that seats 575 and is a perfect venue for young singers. It is professionally run and gives our undergraduates and graduate students a standard that raises the bar as a performance experience for the students involved.

We take great pride in offering undergraduate singers an opportunity to perform onstage in leading and supporting roles and offstage in the roles of assistants to the director, props management, sets and costumes. They perform alongside the Hunter graduate vocal performance majors and guest artists from the CUNY Graduate Center and are offered equal opportunities from the beginning of their studies in voice at Hunter. This is not typical of most conservatories and opera productions at the collegiate level, and is yet another reason that our program is the perfect choice for young singers looking to hone their performance skills.

DIRECTING

OUR PRODUCTIONS
2007

  • Jacques Offenbach, Monsieur Choufleuri Requests the Pleasure . . . .
  • operetta in one act Nicholas Flagello, The Sisters, opera in one act

2008

  • Edwin Penhorwood, Too Many Sopranos, opera in two acts

2009

  • Samuel Barber, A Hand of Bridge, opera in one act
  • Richard Burke, A Game of Poker, opera in one act – (WORLD PREMIERE)
  • Robert Ward, Roman Fever, opera in one act

2010

  • An Evening of Short Operas by Student Composers

2011

  • Vaughan Williams, Riders to the Sea
  • Mozart, The Impresario

2012

  • An Evening of Short Operas by Student Composers/Directors and orchestra members

2013

  • Beeson, Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment
  • Burke, The House – (WORLD PREMIERE)

2015

  • Pasatieri, The Hotel Casablanca
  • The Art of Cabaret

2016

  • Opera Scenes Program – OPERAFEST 2016
  • New York Opera Alliance -– an affiliate of OPERA AMERICA