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IU School of Music

Last modified: Thursday, October 20, 2005

Acclaimed opera soprano Carol Vaness to join voice faculty at IU School of Music

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Carol Vaness, one of the most sought-after opera sopranos in the world, is set to join one of the world's pre-eminent voice programs.

Vaness, who performs regularly at major theaters, opera houses and concert halls around the world and sang opposite Luciano Pavarotti in his celebrated final operatic performance, has been appointed to the Department of Voice faculty at the Indiana University School of Music, pending approval of the IU Board of Trustees, it was announced today (Oct. 20).

Vaness joins pianist André Watts (2004) and violinist Jaime Laredo (2005) as recent "Commitment to Excellence" appointees to the school. The university's "Commitment to Excellence" program is helping the school add four eminent master teachers to its faculty ranks.

"I am overjoyed about the unique opportunity afforded by the Indiana University School of Music, enabling me to continue my international career while simultaneously nurturing and fueling the energies and visions of the future operatic stars of tomorrow," Vaness said.

"Carol Vaness is at the height of her profession," said School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards. "She has distinguished herself on the concert stages and the opera houses of the world. She has defined numerous operatic roles through live and recorded performances, establishing a body of work that will live beyond our age. Her growing interest in pedagogy has been much anticipated by the musical world. With her efforts now centered at Indiana, she joins a renowned voice faculty in shaping a program that remains close to the profession and that resonates internationally."

"I don't think we could have made a better appointment," said Mary Ann Hart, chair of the Department of Voice. "Earlier this month Carol completed her third residency at IU, and she has now worked with over 40 of our advanced students. Over the course of these visits it has become increasingly clear to everyone that Carol is not only an opera star, but also a sensational teacher of voice.

"Many famous singers in a master class situation speak in generalities, either out of a fear of offending, or because they don't really know how to explain even their own technique. Carol, on the other hand, zeroed right in on each student and got to work on their technical issues," Hart added. "She created a buzz around the school. The students loved working with her, and they could hear their voices respond to her challenges. With her enormous energy and commitment, I think Carol will sustain this excitement and attract even more talent to the School of Music."

Born in San Diego, Vaness launched her professional singing career at the New York City Opera, where she appeared regularly from 1979 to 1983. Since then, she has sung on the world's biggest stages and at premier music festivals, collaborated with today's foremost conductors in operatic and symphonic repertoires, appeared on numerous television broadcasts throughout North America and Europe, and compiled a distinguished catalog of recordings.

Her interpretations of Mozart's dramatic heroines, including Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Elettra in Idomeneo and Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, have been hailed as definitive, and she has become especially identifiable with the role of Floria Tosca. She performed the title role of Puccini's Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera in 2004 opposite Pavarotti in the legendary tenor's final operatic performance.

Vaness made her professional debut as Vitellia for the San Francisco Spring Opera and has been acknowledged as the world's leading interpreter of this role. She has appeared as Vitellia at the Met Opera, Paris Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Chicago Lyric Opera and Gran Teatro del Liceo and at the Salzburg Festival and other leading theaters.

Among her many celebrated television appearances, she has been featured on the Pavarotti Plus and Pavarotti and Friends telecasts from Lincoln Center, as well as the Richard Tucker Gala and In Performance at the White House with members of the New York City Opera.

The Department of Voice has been ranked first among graduate schools by U.S. News & World Report, and the School of Music as a whole was recently listed first among the "Top Ten Voice Schools in America" by Classical Singer. School of Music voice students are frequent winners in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in New York City each spring. The school has had five grand winners in the last five years and 33 grand winners overall.

Vaness is the second major appointment made to the school's voice faculty in less than six months. Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson was named to the faculty in May. Vaness' appointment will be presented to trustees at their next meeting in November.

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For more information about the Department of Voice, go to