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Why I Sing

As the daughter of two orchestral musicians at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, I am often asked if I sing as a result of my upbringing. I was undeniably inspired by the countless passionate performances I saw at the Civic Opera House, but I would not credit my background with my motivation to sing. I think the need to sing has always been inside of me, so growing up at the opera simply showed me that all the captivating performers I witnessed on stage were real people, too; I was able to see from the wings backstage that these marvelous creatures who could bare their souls and fill a monstrous, unamplified hall each night were just as human as me.

I think being that close to the action helped me to understand the concept of a vessel from early on.

So, why do I sing?

I sing because it’s the best way I know how to communicate with my fellow human beings, how to put some sort of positivity into the world, and how to reconnect with my own humanity. Every time I pick up a new piece of music, I find comfort in the fact that I experience life as viscerally as the characters on the page. In a world that so often rejects vulnerability, it’s too easy to forget to acknowledge our emotions in everyday life.

I believe that as artists, we have the opportunity to touch people in the simplest and most profound way…by communicating heart-to-heart. In my mind, there is no greater privilege than when a listener entrusts me with an open ear and an unguarded spirit.

Get To Know Olivia

Heralded as “someone to watch” by ClevelandClassical.com, soprano Olivia Boen is currently finishing her undergraduate studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Daune Mahy. She was a 2016 Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the youngest singer of the season. Olivia has been seen on the Oberlin Opera Theater stage as the title roles in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias and Händel’s Alcina, as well as the leading ladies in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with the Oberlin in Italy program in Tuscany. In January 2016, she had the distinct honor of performing the North American premiere of Jesse Jones’ One Bright Morning with the Contemporary Music Ensemble on Oberlin’s 150th Anniversary Tour to her hometown, Chicago. The piece will be released on the Oberlin Music record label in late 2017. Olivia has participated in masterclasses with such renowned artists as Renee Fleming, Eric Owens, Marilyn Horne, Erie Mills, Enza Ferrari, and Nicole Cabell. Recent accolades include First Place Winner at the Tuesday Musical Competition, finalist in Oberlin’s Senior Concerto Competition, and Second Place Winner in the Art Song Division of The American Prize. Olivia is moving to Berlin in the fall to pursue opera and contemporary music abroad.
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Terms of Use: you may feel free to use these images in association with appearances or performances by Olivia Boen under the agreement that the following attribution items will be included via text and/or link:

Photo: Sandy Swanson
Olivia Boen, Soprano, http://OliviaBoen.com

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Olivia Boen © Sandy Swanson Photography
Olivia Boen © Sandy Swanson Photography
Olivia Boen © Sandy Swanson Photography
Olivia Boen © Sandy Swanson Photography
Olivia Boen © Sandy Swanson Photography

Applause

Mike Telin; ClevelandClassical.com

“…Boen brought youthful passion to “Je veux vivre” from Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. Her pure tone carried beautifully into the hall. The soprano’s delivery of Rachmaninoff’s poignant Vocalise was infused with sorrow. Boen, a recent graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, clearly has an instinct for the music of Richard Strauss, and her performance of Mädchenblumen was beguiling. Singing with a full-bodied, sparkling tone, the soprano brought charm to “Kornblumen” (cornflower), while “Mohnblumen” (poppy) was full of personality. Boen supplied the appropriate sense of sorrow to “Epheu” (ivy) and her delivery of “Wasserrose” (water lily) was captivating.” (source)

Mike Telin; ClevelandClassical.com

“Part of the fun of listening to concerts performed by young musicians is the chance to hear potential stars of the future. During the North American premiere of Jesse Jones’s engaging One Bright Morning, soprano Olivia Boen firmly established herself as someone to watch.” (source)

Gianna Rolandi; opera singer and former Director of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago 2006-2013

“Olivia is an enormously talented and innately musical singer with a beautiful voice and a solid technique. She also has excellent coloratura, impeccable rhythm and fantastic acting abilities. In addition, she is a sympathetic and supportive colleague…and probably one of the hardest working and most determined young singers I have known. One of her most distinctive gifts is the ability to actually say something with her use of language and expression, very unusual in such a young singer. I think she is destined for great things.”

Anna Fre; opera coach

“Olivia has a bright, clear, fresh and full-bodied soprano tone. She is able to move her voice without losing any quality, always with a great projection and maintaining the sparkle in it.”

Peter Slowik; Credo artistic director

“Olivia Boen’s clear, supple, yet powerful voice, her sincere and dignified stage presence, and her beautiful command of time and space have made her a favorite of Credo audiences in both Cleveland and Chicago. Working with her has been a delight, and I look forward to future collaboration!”

Candace Evans; opera director

“Olivia creates wonderful stage presence with her luminous voice and engaging acting abilities.”

Daniel Hathaway; ClevelandClassical.com

“Perhaps the most engaging work on the program, Jesse Jones’s One Bright Morning is based on a nonsense poem that purports to be a folk text. Soprano Olivia Boen, a third-year student of Daune Mahy, gave a distinguished U.S. premiere of this sprightly work. Singing brightly with crisp diction, Boen put across the silliness of the text (“One bright morning in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight…”) with mock seriousness, supported by flute, piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet, percussion (including an obligatory slapstick), piano, guitar, violin, cello, and bass.” (source)

CV

  • Romilda; Serse, Händel; Oberlin in Italy; 2017
  • Thérèse; Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Poulenc; Oberlin Opera Theatre; 2016
  • Musetta (study cover); La Bohème, Puccini; Opera Theatre of St. Louis; 2016
  • Naiad (study cover); Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss; Opera Theatre of St. Louis; 2016
  • Apparition 3; Macbeth, Verdi; Opera Theatre of St. Louis; 2016
  • Alcina; Alcina, Händel; Oberlin Opera Theatre; 2016
  • Norina; Don Pasquale, Donizetti; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Lauretta; Gianni Schicchi, Donizetti; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Cosette; Les Miserables, Schonberg; Oak Park & River Forest HS; 2013
  • Lucia & Enrico Duet, Donizetti; Oberlin in Italy Gala; 2017
  • Lucia & Enrico Duet, Donizetti; Oberlin in Italy Scenes Concert; 2017
  • Caro Nome & Libiamo, Verdi; Cennina, Tuscany; 2017
  • The Body Electric, Jamie Leigh Sampson; soundSCAPE Festival; 2017
  • Don’t Blame Anyone, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez; soundSCAPE Festival; 2017
  • Souvenirs, Talia Amar; soundSCAPE Festival; 2017
  • Lulu’s Lied, Berg; soundSCAPE Festival; 2017
  • Black Anemones, Schwantner; Commencement Recital; Oberlin Conservatory; 2017
  • Mass, Sanctus & Agnus Dei, Daniel Karcher; Commencement Recital; Oberlin Conservatory of Music; 2017
  • Manon Saint Sulpice scene, Massenet; Oberlin Conservatory; Oberlin Opera Theatre; 2017
  • Senior Recital, Berg, Fauré, Strauss, Schwantner; Oberlin Conservatory of Music; 2017
  • Messiah, Händel; Grace Lutheran Church; Credo Music; 2016
  • La Cenerentola & Regina scenes; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Center Stage Gala; 2016
  • Dream House, Jonah Haven; Haven Senior Composition Recital; Oberlin Conservatory of Music; 2016
  • Bachianas Brasilerias no. 5 (arr. for bassoons), Villa-Lobos; Men Who Don’t Bite and Friends; Oberlin First Church, 2016
  • Junior Recital, Mozart, Poulenc, and Previn; Oberlin Conservatory of Music; 2016
  • One Bright Morning, Jones; Ganz Hall; Oberlin Conservatory 150th Anniversary Tour; 2016
  • Messiah, Händel; Grace Lutheran Church; Credo Music; 2015
  • Messiah, Händel; Oberlin Conservatory; Credo Music; 2015
  • One Bright Morning, Jones; Oberlin Conservatory; Contemporary Music Ensemble; 2015
  • Schumann Lieder; Oberlin Conservatory; Jonathan Boen Guest Recital; 2015
  • Don Pasquale selections; Cortona, Tuscany; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Don Pasquale selections; Siena, Tuscany; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Don Pasquale selections; Arezzo, Tuscany; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Don Pasquale selections; Bucine, Tuscany; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Five Songs, Shihui Yin; Oberlin Conservatory; Composition recital; 2015
  • Abduction Quartet, Mozart; Oberlin Conservatory; Oberlin Opera Theatre; 2015
  • Four Early Songs, Copland; Oberlin Conservatory; Voice Departmental; 2015
  • Messiah, Händel; Oberlin Conservatory; Credo Music; 2014
  • Messiah, Händel; Severance Hall; Credo Music; 2014
  • Liebeslieder, Brahms; Oberlin Conservatory; Oberlin College Choir; 2014
  • Foolish Heart, Weill; Oberlin Conservatory; Weill Cabaret; 2014
  • Italienisches Liederbuch, Wolf; Oberlin Conservatory; Voice Departmental; 2014
  • Songs From the Chinese, Britten; Oberlin Conservatory; Classical Guitar Ensemble; 2014
  • What Though That Light, Kramer; Oberlin Conservatory; Senior Composition Recital; 2014
  • Selected Italian songs and arias; Private Residence; Solo benefit recital; 2014
  • Selected Bach cantata arias; Boston, MA; Emmanuel Music; 2014
  • High School Senior Recital; Good Shepherd Church; Solo recital; 2013
  • Musical Theatre Cabaret; Logan Center; Chicago Children’s Choir concert; 2013
  • Chorale Fantasia, Beethoven; National Pastime Theatre; International Beethoven Festival; 2012
  • Chichester Psalms, Bernstein; Ravenna Festival, Tuscany; Chicago Children’s Choir Tour; 2012
  • Chichester Psalms, Bernstein; Preston Bradley Hall; Chicago Children’s Choir concert; 2012
  • High School Junior Recital; Private Residence; Joint recital; 2012
  • Rejoice in the Lamb, Britten; Preston Bradley Hall; Chicago Children’s Choir Concert; 2012
  • Chorale Fantasia, Beethoven; Harris Theater; Chicago Children’s Choir Concert; 2011
  • Carmina Burana, Orff; Oak Park & River Forest HS; Winter Choral Concert; 2011
  • Opera Theatre of St. Louis; Gerdine Young Artist; April-July 2016
  • Oberlin in Italy; Opera Division; June-July 2015
  • Ryan Opera Center Internship; Lyric Opera of Chicago; January 2015
  • Oberlin in Italy; Opera Division; June-July 2014
  • Bach Institute; Emmanuel Music; January 2014
  • Vocal Academy for High School Students; Oberlin Conservatory; July 2012
  • MPulse Vocal Arts Institute; University of Michigan; July 2011
  • Lamont Summer Academy; University of Denver; June 2011
  • Bach Cantata Camp; Grace Lutheran Church; July 2010
  • Bach Cantata Camp; Grace Lutheran Church; July 2009
  • Opera Theatre of St. Louis; 2016
  • Oberlin College Choir; 2013-2015
  • Grant Park Music Festival Chorus; 2013
  • Chicago Children’s Choir Concert Choir; 2011-2013
  • Chicago Children’s Choir Voice of Chicago; 2012-2013
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS Madrigals Ensemble Leader; 2012-2013
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS Choirs; 2009-2013
  • Chicago Children’s Choir Italy Tour; 2012
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS Ireland Tour; 2012
  • Chicago Children’s Choir Madrigals; 2011-2012
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS Madrigals; 2009-2012
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS jazz ensembles; 2009-2011
  • Marilyn Horne; Oberlin Conservatory, 2017
  • Erie Mills; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; 2016
  • Eric Owens; Oberlin Conservatory; 2015
  • Enza Ferrari; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Kevin Class; Oberlin in Italy; 2014
  • Renée Fleming; Lyric Opera of Chicago; 2013
  • Nicole Cabell; Chicago Children’s Choir; 2012
  • Tuesday Musical Competition; Voice Division; 1st Place Winner; 2017
  • Oberlin Conservatory Senior Concerto Competition; Finalist; 2016
  • The American Prize; College Art Song Division; National 2nd Place Winner; 2016
  • Oak Park Area Arts Council Scholarship; 2013
  • Chicago Federation of Musicians Scholarship; 2013
  • MacDowell Scholarship; 1st place winner; 2013
  • The American Prize; High School Division; National 2nd place winner; 2013
  • Bel Canto Foundation; All Divisions; Bravo Award; 2013
  • Bel Canto Foundation; Junior Division; Winner; 2013
  • Chicago Chapter NATS; High School Division; 2nd place winner; 2012
  • Classical Singer Competition; High School Division; National Semifinalist; 2012
  • Chicago Chapter NATS; High School Division; 3rd place winner; 2011
  • Daune Mahy; Oberlin Conservatory; 2013-Present
  • Gianna Rolandi; Private studio; 2012-Present
  • Elizabeth Gottlieb; Private studio; 2008-2013
  • Bretton Brown
  • Sir Andrew Davis
  • Enza Ferrari
  • Anna Fre
  • Phillip Highfill
  • Danielle Orlando
  • Craig Terry
  • Emmanuel Villaume
  • 13 years of private piano study; 2000-2013
  • 8 years of private violin study; 2002-2010
+ Operatic & Musical Theatre Roles
  • Romilda; Serse, Händel; Oberlin in Italy; 2017
  • Thérèse; Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Poulenc; Oberlin Opera Theatre; 2016
  • Musetta (study cover); La Bohème, Puccini; Opera Theatre of St. Louis; 2016
  • Naiad (study cover); Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss; Opera Theatre of St. Louis; 2016
  • Apparition 3; Macbeth, Verdi; Opera Theatre of St. Louis; 2016
  • Alcina; Alcina, Händel; Oberlin Opera Theatre; 2016
  • Norina; Don Pasquale, Donizetti; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Lauretta; Gianni Schicchi, Donizetti; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Cosette; Les Miserables, Schonberg; Oak Park & River Forest HS; 2013
+ Soloist Experience
  • Lucia & Enrico Duet, Donizetti; Oberlin in Italy Gala; 2017
  • Lucia & Enrico Duet, Donizetti; Oberlin in Italy Scenes Concert; 2017
  • Caro Nome & Libiamo, Verdi; Cennina, Tuscany; 2017
  • The Body Electric, Jamie Leigh Sampson; soundSCAPE Festival; 2017
  • Don’t Blame Anyone, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez; soundSCAPE Festival; 2017
  • Souvenirs, Talia Amar; soundSCAPE Festival; 2017
  • Lulu’s Lied, Berg; soundSCAPE Festival; 2017
  • Black Anemones, Schwantner; Commencement Recital; Oberlin Conservatory; 2017
  • Mass, Sanctus & Agnus Dei, Daniel Karcher; Commencement Recital; Oberlin Conservatory of Music; 2017
  • Manon Saint Sulpice scene, Massenet; Oberlin Conservatory; Oberlin Opera Theatre; 2017
  • Senior Recital, Berg, Fauré, Strauss, Schwantner; Oberlin Conservatory of Music; 2017
  • Messiah, Händel; Grace Lutheran Church; Credo Music; 2016
  • La Cenerentola & Regina scenes; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Center Stage Gala; 2016
  • Dream House, Jonah Haven; Haven Senior Composition Recital; Oberlin Conservatory of Music; 2016
  • Bachianas Brasilerias no. 5 (arr. for bassoons), Villa-Lobos; Men Who Don’t Bite and Friends; Oberlin First Church, 2016
  • Junior Recital, Mozart, Poulenc, and Previn; Oberlin Conservatory of Music; 2016
  • One Bright Morning, Jones; Ganz Hall; Oberlin Conservatory 150th Anniversary Tour; 2016
  • Messiah, Händel; Grace Lutheran Church; Credo Music; 2015
  • Messiah, Händel; Oberlin Conservatory; Credo Music; 2015
  • One Bright Morning, Jones; Oberlin Conservatory; Contemporary Music Ensemble; 2015
  • Schumann Lieder; Oberlin Conservatory; Jonathan Boen Guest Recital; 2015
  • Don Pasquale selections; Cortona, Tuscany; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Don Pasquale selections; Siena, Tuscany; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Don Pasquale selections; Arezzo, Tuscany; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Don Pasquale selections; Bucine, Tuscany; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Five Songs, Shihui Yin; Oberlin Conservatory; Composition recital; 2015
  • Abduction Quartet, Mozart; Oberlin Conservatory; Oberlin Opera Theatre; 2015
  • Four Early Songs, Copland; Oberlin Conservatory; Voice Departmental; 2015
  • Messiah, Händel; Oberlin Conservatory; Credo Music; 2014
  • Messiah, Händel; Severance Hall; Credo Music; 2014
  • Liebeslieder, Brahms; Oberlin Conservatory; Oberlin College Choir; 2014
  • Foolish Heart, Weill; Oberlin Conservatory; Weill Cabaret; 2014
  • Italienisches Liederbuch, Wolf; Oberlin Conservatory; Voice Departmental; 2014
  • Songs From the Chinese, Britten; Oberlin Conservatory; Classical Guitar Ensemble; 2014
  • What Though That Light, Kramer; Oberlin Conservatory; Senior Composition Recital; 2014
  • Selected Italian songs and arias; Private Residence; Solo benefit recital; 2014
  • Selected Bach cantata arias; Boston, MA; Emmanuel Music; 2014
  • High School Senior Recital; Good Shepherd Church; Solo recital; 2013
  • Musical Theatre Cabaret; Logan Center; Chicago Children’s Choir concert; 2013
  • Chorale Fantasia, Beethoven; National Pastime Theatre; International Beethoven Festival; 2012
  • Chichester Psalms, Bernstein; Ravenna Festival, Tuscany; Chicago Children’s Choir Tour; 2012
  • Chichester Psalms, Bernstein; Preston Bradley Hall; Chicago Children’s Choir concert; 2012
  • High School Junior Recital; Private Residence; Joint recital; 2012
  • Rejoice in the Lamb, Britten; Preston Bradley Hall; Chicago Children’s Choir Concert; 2012
  • Chorale Fantasia, Beethoven; Harris Theater; Chicago Children’s Choir Concert; 2011
  • Carmina Burana, Orff; Oak Park & River Forest HS; Winter Choral Concert; 2011
+ Music Festivals, Programs, & Training
  • Opera Theatre of St. Louis; Gerdine Young Artist; April-July 2016
  • Oberlin in Italy; Opera Division; June-July 2015
  • Ryan Opera Center Internship; Lyric Opera of Chicago; January 2015
  • Oberlin in Italy; Opera Division; June-July 2014
  • Bach Institute; Emmanuel Music; January 2014
  • Vocal Academy for High School Students; Oberlin Conservatory; July 2012
  • MPulse Vocal Arts Institute; University of Michigan; July 2011
  • Lamont Summer Academy; University of Denver; June 2011
  • Bach Cantata Camp; Grace Lutheran Church; July 2010
  • Bach Cantata Camp; Grace Lutheran Church; July 2009
+ Choral Experience
  • Opera Theatre of St. Louis; 2016
  • Oberlin College Choir; 2013-2015
  • Grant Park Music Festival Chorus; 2013
  • Chicago Children’s Choir Concert Choir; 2011-2013
  • Chicago Children’s Choir Voice of Chicago; 2012-2013
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS Madrigals Ensemble Leader; 2012-2013
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS Choirs; 2009-2013
  • Chicago Children’s Choir Italy Tour; 2012
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS Ireland Tour; 2012
  • Chicago Children’s Choir Madrigals; 2011-2012
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS Madrigals; 2009-2012
  • Oak Park & River Forest HS jazz ensembles; 2009-2011
+ Masterclasses
  • Marilyn Horne; Oberlin Conservatory, 2017
  • Erie Mills; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; 2016
  • Eric Owens; Oberlin Conservatory; 2015
  • Enza Ferrari; Oberlin in Italy; 2015
  • Kevin Class; Oberlin in Italy; 2014
  • Renée Fleming; Lyric Opera of Chicago; 2013
  • Nicole Cabell; Chicago Children’s Choir; 2012
+ Competitions & Scholarships
  • Tuesday Musical Competition; Voice Division; 1st Place Winner; 2017
  • Oberlin Conservatory Senior Concerto Competition; Finalist; 2016
  • The American Prize; College Art Song Division; National 2nd Place Winner; 2016
  • Oak Park Area Arts Council Scholarship; 2013
  • Chicago Federation of Musicians Scholarship; 2013
  • MacDowell Scholarship; 1st place winner; 2013
  • The American Prize; High School Division; National 2nd place winner; 2013
  • Bel Canto Foundation; All Divisions; Bravo Award; 2013
  • Bel Canto Foundation; Junior Division; Winner; 2013
  • Chicago Chapter NATS; High School Division; 2nd place winner; 2012
  • Classical Singer Competition; High School Division; National Semifinalist; 2012
  • Chicago Chapter NATS; High School Division; 3rd place winner; 2011
+ Teachers
  • Daune Mahy; Oberlin Conservatory; 2013-Present
  • Gianna Rolandi; Private studio; 2012-Present
  • Elizabeth Gottlieb; Private studio; 2008-2013
+ Coaches
  • Bretton Brown
  • Sir Andrew Davis
  • Enza Ferrari
  • Anna Fre
  • Phillip Highfill
  • Danielle Orlando
  • Craig Terry
  • Emmanuel Villaume
+ Related Skills
  • 13 years of private piano study; 2000-2013
  • 8 years of private violin study; 2002-2010
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