This year's Vocal Arts Honors recitalists, Cody Quattlebaum and Samantha Hankey, have been leading parallel lives lately. Both graduate students performed together last month in staged and concert versions of Handel's Agrippina—Quattlebaum, a bass-baritone, as Claudio and Hankey, a mezzo-soprano, in the title role. And they have both advanced to the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition semifinals as winners in the Eastern Region (the national winners will be announced March 19).
Alice Tully Hall
Potential singers in Juilliard's annual Vocal Arts Honors Recital—held this year on March 23—are nominated by their teachers to audition for the chance to sing half a recital program in a major Lincoln Center venue, Alice Tully Hall. Quattlebaum's program, which opens the recital, includes Jacques Ibert's Chansons de Don Quichotte, a set of Hugo Wolf songs, and Antón García-Abril's Galician cycle, Cuatro Canciones Sobre Textos Gallegos. Second-year Michał Biel will accompany him. Hankey's all-German program opens with two Goethe settings by Liszt followed by a set of Schumann's Rückert settings and closes with a set by Richard Strauss. She'll be accompanied by first-year Chris Reynolds.
Though Quattlebaum and Hankey didn't compare notes in developing their programs, each chose repertoire inspired in part by experiences they've had studying abroad. Quattlebaum spent a summer in Spain as an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and while he was there became intrigued with the songs of—and then met and worked with—García-Abril, a little-known composer. Meanwhile, Hankey spent a summer honing her German skills at the Goethe Institute in Munich, a venture made possible by her receiving the Lucrezia Bori Prize, which funds cultural immersion projects for Juilliard singers and collaborative pianists.
Quattlebaum and Hankey's time together will continue after graduation, when they'll both participate in the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco; she has the title role in Rossini's La Cenerentola and he'll sing the title role in William Walton's The Bear.