Mezzo-soprano Sarah Nelson Craft, hailed as a “born storyteller” (Voce di meche), is catching the attention of audiences around the world with her “warmly romantic vocalism” (New York Observer). Last season, Carnegie Hall presented her in a solo Spotlight Recital with renowned pianist Warren Jones, a triumphant performance that drew high praise from critics; Opera News described her performance as “exquisite… glowing… charming… affecting, genuine… Craft fully inhabited the music with intensity and focus.” Her recent performance as Dorabella in LoftOpera’s Così fan tutte drew universal acclaim as well; the New York Times praised her “soft-grained mezzo” while Parterre.com called her performance “excellent… pliant and luminous” with “fluid, robust singing.” The 2014-15 season brought her to France where she participated in “The Song Continues: Paris Residency” presented by Carnegie Hall at the Opéra Bastille. That season also saw her debuts at Alice Tully Hall as alto soloist with the American Classical Orchestra in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and at Carnegie Hall in Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Masterworks Festival Chorus.
Ms. Craft’s operatic roles have included Cherubino, Dorabella, Dido, Rosina, Hansel, Orfeo, Hermia, Annio in La clemenza di Tito, Nancy in Albert Herring, and the title role in Cendrillon, with companies including Opera North, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, and the Macau International Music Festival. Ms. Craft made her Caramoor Festival mainstage debut in 2013 as Ninetta in Verdi’s Les vêpres siciliennes, and she triumphed as Giunone in Handel’s Agrippina with New York City’s operamission “knock[ing] this exciting aria out of the park.” (Parterre) She has performed the title role in La cenerentola with both Fargo-Moorhead Opera and Opera at Florham, and appeared in Matt Aucoin’s mini-opera for NPR’s This American Life live at BAM.
Highly sought after as a concert soloist, Ms. Craft made her Lincoln Center debut at Avery Fisher Hall 2012 as both the alto and soprano II soloist in Bach’s Mass in B minor and Handel’s Messiah with the National Chorale. Other notable performances have included Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Mahler’s Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, both with Princeton Pro Musica; Mahler’s Symphony No.2 with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra; and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra. Other favorite concert roles include Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion and Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem, Copland’s In the Beginning, and Duruflé’s Requiem.
Ms. Craft is a frequent recitalist as an Artist-in-Residence with Judson Arts at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village and as a member of Con Vivo chamber ensemble. Her passion for both new music and early music is reflected in her multiple appearances in readings of new works with American Opera Projects and in regular concerts with Amor Artis chorus and New York Baroque Incorporated.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Ms. Craft earned her Bachelor’s Degree (cum laude) in Italian and music from Dartmouth College and earned her Master’s Degree in vocal performance from the University of North Texas College of Music. She received further training at the Music Academy of the West where she worked with Marilyn Horne who continues to be a mentor. She has been a first prize and audience choice award winner at the district level of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a semifinalist in the Opera Columbus Irma M. Cooper International Vocal Competition, and won third place in The American Prize in Art Song and Oratorio 2016.