Thursday, July 23, 2020

Mary Elizabeth Williams to perform in 'Songs of Summer'

Mary Elizabeth Williams (Abigaille). Philip Newton photo 
Seattle Opera announces upcoming KING FM broadcasts and online recitals 

Seattle Opera is announcing the final singers to perform in its online recital series, Songs of Summer. Artists include beloved soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams—star of Tosca, Nabucco, and Mary Stuart. The “vocal phenomenon and immense actress” ( performed at McCaw Hall most recently as Serena in Porgy and Bess (’18), when she sang the show-stopping rendition of “My Man’s Gone Now.” For Williams’ portrayal of Elizabeth I in Mary Stuart, The Seattle Times wrote: “Feisty and mighty, Williams’ soprano was equally impressive when she lightened it in moments of highly effective refinement. She knows how to command the stage and how to establish the power of her personality through gesture and movement, as well as with her voice.”

Scheduled to stream on Seattle Opera’s Facebook, YouTube, and website on August 27, Williams’ program includes three new-to-her arias that she’s always dreamed of debuting.

“Despite the fear and uncertainty of this moment, creating this recital has helped me focus and remember why I dedicated my life to music,” Williams said. “What better time is there than this very moment to look forward to the future? To be brave and reinvent myself as an artist? Share this journey with me—digitally for now, and hopefully in person in the very near future."

Additional Songs of Summer artists include Theo Hoffman, a sought-after baritone who’s recently sung with LA Opera and Opera Philadelphia; Vanessa Vasquez, Winner of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions who was set to make her company debut as Mimì in La bohème; and Will Liverman, Figaro in The Barber of Seville (’17) who last season made history as the first Black Papageno at the Metropolitan Opera. Damien Geter, who impressed audiences as the Colonel in The Falling and the Rising (’19) and composed “An African American Requiem,” will also give a recital for Songs of Summer, as well as internationally renowned Ben Bliss (Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, ’18), recipient of the Martin E. Segal award from the Metropolitan Opera. Upcoming Songs of Summer pianists include Brad Moore, David McDade, Jonathan King and Jessica Hall.

Mary Elizabeth Williams
Through this shift to digital and radio platforms, Seattle Opera has continued to employ artists—more than 50—including singers and pianists for online recitals, and teaching artists for educational programming such as the Teen Vocal Studio.

“Seattle Opera has experienced devastating losses during COVID-19, and yet we are here—creating art and employing artists. These singers have all had their livelihoods impacted from lost jobs and cancelled performances, and they bring an unstoppable desire to perform for you, their audiences,” said General Director Christina Scheppelmann.

Seattle Opera’s online and radio programming has been far-reaching: More than 12,000 viewers have tuned in to watch a recital, and more than 100,000 listeners have tuned in to Classical KING FM (either on the radio or online) to listen to broadcasts of previous Seattle Opera performances.

In addition to the online recital, Mary Elizabeth Williams can also be heard on the radio during Seattle Opera Mornings on KING FM, which will continue into August and beyond. Williams can be heard during the August 1 broadcast of Nabucco.

To watch Songs of Summer online recitals, go to Seattle Opera’s Facebook, YouTube, or Each recital is available for two weeks following its premiere date. To listen to Seattle Opera Mornings on KING FM, tune in to 98.1 or go to every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. A full schedule is available at

Mary Elizabeth Williams as Elizabeth I in Mary Stuart. Philip Newton photo 

Online Recitals & Radio Broadcasts:
Thursday, July 23 at 7:00 PM: Theo Hoffman and pianist Brad Moore
Saturday, July 25 at 10:00 AM: Rigoletto on KING FM
Thursday, July 30 at 7:00 PM: Vanessa Vasquez and pianist David McDade
Saturday, August 1 at 10:00 AM: Nabucco on KING FM
Thursday, August 6 at 7:00 PM: Will Liverman and pianist Jonathan King
Saturday, August 8 at 10:00 AM: The Tales of Hoffmann on KING FM
Thursday, August 13 at 7:00 PM: Damien Geter and pianist Jessica Hall
Saturday, August 15 at 10:00 AM: Lohengrin on KING FM
Thursday, August 20 at 7:00 PM: Ben Bliss
Saturday, August 22 at 10:00 AM: The Barber of Seville on KING FM
Thursday, August 27 at 7:00 PM: Mary Elizabeth Williams