The Metropolitan Opera has named soprano Lisette Oropesa as the winner of the 14th annual Beverly Sills Artist Award. The $50,000 award is given to extraordinarily gifted singers with rising Met careers. Given in honor of the legendary American soprano Beverly Sills, the award was established in 2006 by an endowment gift from the late Agnes Varis, a managing director on the Met's Board of Directors.
Oropesa will sing two leading roles in the Met's 2019-20 season: the title role in Massenet's Manon and Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata. She began her career at the Met as a winner of the 2005 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and then spent three seasons in the company's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She made her Met debut in 2006 as a Woman of Crete in Mozart's Idomeneo, and has gone on to make her mark in more than 100 memorable performances of such roles as Susanna in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto, Nannetta in Verdi's Falstaff, Sophie in Massenet's Werther, and Woglinde and the Woodbird in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Earlier this season, she was also named the winner of the 2019 Richard Tucker Award.
"I am tremendously grateful to be named this year's recipient of the Beverly Sills Artist Award," Oropesa said. "This award honors one of the great American icons of opera. Growing up, I idolized Beverly Sills for her lovable personality, her unmatched stage presence, and her extraordinary singing. I have the privilege of performing two of her most distinguished roles next season at the Met-may her inspiration live on for many more years to come."
The Sills Award was created to help further the careers of rising stars by providing additional funding for vocal coaching, language study, travel costs, and other professional expenses. Sills, who died in 2007, was well known as a supporter and friend to developing young artists, and this award continues her legacy as an advocate for important emerging singers. The 35-year-old Oropesa follows an outstanding list of previous winners: baritone Nathan Gunn in 2006, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in 2007, tenor Matthew Polenzani in 2008, bass John Relyea in 2009, soprano Susanna Phillips in 2010, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard in 2011, soprano Angela Meade in 2012, tenor Brian Hymel in 2013, tenor Michael Fabiano in 2014, baritone Quinn Kelsey in 2015, soprano Ailyn Pérez in 2016, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton in 2017, and soprano Nadine Sierra in 2018.