This season, soprano Olivia Boen is welcomed back to the Wigmore Hall French Song Exchange led by Dame Felicity Lott and François le Roux, will cover Donna Anna at Nevill Holt Opera, and will become a Samling Institute Young Artist. She was a finalist in the 2021 Gold Medal Prize at the Guildhall School of Music hosted by the Barbican, where she sang a diverse programme of songs by Messiaen, Marx, Maconchy, and Rachmaninov, and arias from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Strauss’ Daphne, and Floyd’s Susannah. Despite the pandemic, Olivia recently premiered at the London Song Festival in a recital of unknown works by Ivor Gurney and sang in a masterclass with Dame Lott hosted by Wigmore Hall, which is currently available for viewing on Wigmore Hall’s YouTube channel.
In 2019, she made her European debut at the Verbier Festival under the baton of Maestro Valery Gergiev as Die Stimme des Falken in Strauss’ Die Frau Ohne Schatten and as Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte with Maestro Stanislav Kochanovsky. This past year, she appeared in two new roles as the Countess Susanna in Wolf-Ferrari’s Il Segreto di Susanna and Queen Mother in Jonathan Dove’s The Little Green Swallow with Guildhall Opera. She has also been seen as the leading ladies in Händel’s Alcina and Serse, Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias, and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.
In addition to opera, Olivia is particularly committed to new music; she has worked with Judith Weir personally on several of her song cycles, received awards for her performances of music by Thomas Adès, and is a featured soloist with Oberlin Conservatory’s Contemporary Music Ensemble on the Oberlin Music record label. Previous recital highlights include two outreach concerts hosted by the London Symphony Orchestra at St. Luke’s Church, her Wigmore Hall debut with the Prince Consort as a part of their Side-By-Side initiative, and a vocal fellowship with the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival. Her concert repertoire includes Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, and Handel’s Messiah.
Olivia has participated in masterclasses with Renée Fleming, Kate Royal, Roderick Williams, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens, Helmut Deutsch, and Marilyn Horne. She was awarded the English Song Prize from the London Song Festival in 2019, the first place prize (Lynne Cooper Harvey Foundation Award) of the Musicians Club of Women Competition in 2018, a grant from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund for Musicians in 2018, and the first place prize of the Tuesday Musical Competition in 2017. Olivia graduated from the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music in Drama in London in 2021, where she also received her Artist Masters, and is a 2017 alumna of Oberlin Conservatory.