Alum Christine Goerke Returns Home to Rave Reviews at Met

Christine Goerke at SBU’s 2010 Distinguished Alumni Awards with (from left): President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., Professor David Lawton and former Alumni Association President Gloria Snyder

Grammy Award winning soprano Christine Goerke has performed in the world’s major opera houses. But her return after four years to New York City’s Metropolitan Opera — the stage where she made her debut in 1995 — was marked with an ovation not heard at the Met in recent years. Goerke is playing the role of Die Färberin in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten, and within days of her opening performance, the Met signed her to sing upcoming performances in Wagner’s Ring cycle and Lohengrin, as well as Strauss’ Elektra.

“Christine Goerke was extraordinary and received one of the biggest ovations I’ve heard there in some time,” said Ryan Minor, an associate professor in Stony Brook University’s Department of Music, after attending her November 12 performance at the Met. “She’s also gotten extraordinarily good reviews in The New York Times and elsewhere.”

“This was a breakthrough night at the Met for the American soprano Christine Goerke, who received an ecstatic ovation for her powerfully sung and wrenching portrayal of the hard-bitten Dyer’s Wife.” — The New York Times

“Christine got her start in Stony Brook’s opera program,” said David Lawton, a professor in the University’s Department of Music who worked with Goerke as an undergraduate. “She sang Fiordiligi in our production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Asteria in our production of Handel’s Tamerlano when she was an undergraduate. Normally we would not cast an undergraduate in a leading role, but her talent was exceptional and extraordinary.”

While at Stony Brook, Goerke studied voice with the internationally acclaimed mezzo soprano Elaine Bonazzi who provided her with the vocal foundation and musicianship to begin her career. In addition to Bonazzi and Lawton, she also worked with Sarah Fuller, Timothy Mount, Dan Weymouth and Peter Winkler.

Goerke grew up in Medford, New York. She graduated from Stony Brook in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, concentrating in vocal performance, and then became a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artist Program from 1994 to 1997. Since then Goerke has performed in lead roles in major opera houses throughout the world. She has also appeared at notable music festivals, given recitals at venues such as Carnegie Hall and has performed with the world’s leading orchestras.

Goerke has been the recipient of numerous awards and has won several music competitions. She is featured on two Grammy Award winning CDs: the 1999 recording of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem with the National Symphony Orchestra and the 2003 recording of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orcehstra. In 2001 she earned the prestigious Richard Tucker Award and in 2010 she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Stony Brook University.

“We are so pleased by Christine’s success in the competitive world of opera and are proud that the Department of Music’s rigorous undergraduate requirements in music history, musicianship, theory and performance provided the excellent foundations for her development as an artist of the highest caliber,” said Perry Goldstein, professor and chair of Stony Brook’s Department of Music.

Click here to read The New York Times review, and a follow-up Times article on her future roles at the Met.

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