Legendary soprano and CMF patron
Praised for her “full-bodied, sparkling tone” (Cleveland Classical), Chicago-born lyric soprano Olivia Boen is increasingly in demand both on the operatic stage and in the recital hall. In the 2022-23 season, she will make her role debuts as Musetta and Gretel at the Hamburg Staatsoper, where she will be joining the International Opera Studio.
In January 2022, Olivia performed her first Vier Letzte Lieder in the Barbican with Dominic Wheeler conducting the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. Earlier in the season, she opened Robin Trischtler and Roger Vignoles’ recitals in the 2021 Oxford Lieder Festival as an emerging artist with pianist Dylan Perez and is looking forward to returning to the Festival for four recitals with founder Sholto Kynoch in May. She was a finalist in the 2021 Guildhall Gold Medal Prize hosted by the Barbican where she sang a diverse programme of songs by Messiaen, Marx, Maconchy, and Rachmaninov, and arias from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Strauss’ Daphne, and Floyd’s Susannah. Olivia is a current member of the Wigmore Hall French Song Exchange led by Dame Felicity Lott and François le Roux and was selected as a 2021 City Music Foundation Artist.
In 2019, she made her European debut at the Verbier Festival under the baton of Maestro Valery Gergiev as Die Stimme des Falken in Strauss’ Die Frau Ohne Schatten and as Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte with Maestro Stanislav Kochanovsky. During her time at Guildhall, she appeared in two new roles as the Countess Susanna in Wolf-Ferrari’s Il Segreto di Susanna and Queen Mother in Jonathan Dove’s The Little Green Swallow. Olivia has also been seen as the leading ladies in Händel’s Alcina and Serse, Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias, and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Furthermore, she covered Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Nevill Holt Opera in 2021.
In addition to opera, Olivia is particularly committed to new music; she has worked with Judith Weir personally on several of her song cycles, received awards for her performances of music by Thomas Adès, and is a featured soloist with Oberlin Conservatory’s Contemporary Music Ensemble on the Oberlin Music record label. Her love for art song has taken her to the London Song Festival with a programme of unknown works by Ivor Gurney, to the LSO @ St. Luke’s Church for two outreach concerts, to Wigmore Hall with the Prince Consort as a part of their Side-By-Side initiative, and to the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival as a vocal fellow. Her concert repertoire includes Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, and Händel’s Messiah.
Olivia has participated in masterclasses with such renowned artists as Renée Fleming, Kate Royal, Roderick Williams, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens, Helmut Deutsch, and Marilyn Horne. She was awarded the English Song Prize from the London Song Festival in 2019, the first place prize (Lynne Cooper Harvey Foundation Award) of the Musicians Club of Women Competition in 2018, a grant from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund for Musicians in 2018, and the first place prize of the Tuesday Musical Competition in 2017. Olivia graduated from the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2021, where she received a Distinction mark for both her Artist Masters and Artist Diploma degrees, and is a 2017 alumna of Oberlin Conservatory.