B i o g r a p h y
Lyric soprano, Saundra DeAthos, holds the position of Director of Opera and Assistant Voice Professor at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. Prior to this appointment, she served at Illinois Wesleyan University as a Voice Professor and Music Coordinator for the School of Theater Arts. In addition to teaching private voice and repertoire class, her responsibilities included coordinating the musical activities for the department and music directing/conducting the mainstage productions. Some of her favorite collaborations have been Giani, Passion, The Drowsy Chaperone, 9 to 5, Once Upon A Mattress, and Of Thee I Sing.
In addition to teaching, Saundra continues to be an active performer in opera. She has been heralded for the remarkable quality of both her vocal and dramatic presentations. Excelling in a varied and broad repertoire, she began her career in the Merola Opera Program and as an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera. Flourishing in the spotlight, Saundra claimed principal assignments with the San Francisco Opera in Alcina, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Cunning Little Vixen, La Cenerentola, Die Entführung auf dem Serail, La Finta Giardiniera, and Così Fan Tutte on tour with Western Opera Theater.
Of her San Francisco Opera performances, OPERA Magazine admired, "Saundra DeAthos imparted vulnerability and an elegant soprano.” Accordingly, the San Francisco Chronicle noted, "Saundra DeAthos delivered a virtuosic performance… a real charmer of a soprano, (she) made one love the character." The San Francisco Classical Voice confirmed, “Saundra DeAthos nailed all of (her) coloratura flights and showed perfect timing in broad physical comedy." As Micaela in Carmen, the Charleston City Paper states that “soprano Saundra DeAthos melted hearts with her portrayal of Micaëla; her silvery, emotionally naked singing made me cry in her lovely act III aria.” In Amarillo, Saundra received this response to her recent work as Nedda in I Pagliacci, "DeAthos gave a dynamite performance in the other opera’s leading soprano role, Pag’s Nedda. She greatly impressed in 2010 as Cio-Cio San in the Amarillo Opera’s production of Puccini’s Butterfly, so much was expected here. She certainly delivered. As an actor, she also excelled. She was smoldering in her slip, appropriately goofy in her Columbina get up and ferocious in her losing confrontation with her husband.”
Ms. DeAthos has graced the stages of many outstanding opera companies across the United States, such as San Francisco Opera, Western Opera Theater, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Amarillo Opera, Virginia Opera, Eugene Opera, Sacramento Opera, Opera North, Opera Illinois, and West Bay Opera among others. Admired especially for her Mozart interpretations, the Boston Globe observed, “Saundra DeAthos was a feisty presence as Zerlina" and as Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito, Saundra "was particularly sweet-toned and elegant.” While her entry into opera focused largely on the operas of Mozart, highlights of her repertoire include her acclaimed portrayal of the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Marguerite in Faust, Gilda in Rigoletto, Mimì and Musetta in La Bohème, Micaela in Carmen, Nedda in I Pagliacci and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel.
In addition to her operatic activities, Ms. DeAthos performs regularly with symphony orchestras throughout the United States including the San Francisco Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Helena Symphony, Fresno Symphony Orchestra, and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Saundra offers a considerable concert repertoire that encompasses Handel’s Messiah and Jeptha, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Gorecki’s Sorrowful Songs, Poulenc’s Gloria, Dvořák’s Te Deum, and the Brahms' Ein Deutches Requiem.
Ms. DeAthos holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Central Michigan University, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance, and a minor in Vocology from the University of Illinois, and is a graduate of the Opera Institute at Boston University.