Possessing a voice praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “effortless precision and tonal luster,” Grammy Award-winning soprano Jessica Rivera is one of the most creatively inspired vocal artists before the public today. The intelligence, dimension and spirituality with which she infuses her performances on great international concert and opera stages has garnered Ms. Rivera unique artistic collaborations with many of today’s most celebrated composers, including John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jonathan Leshnoff and Nico Muhly, and has brought her together with such esteemed conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Bernard Haitink and Michael Tilson Thomas.
During the 2017-2018 season, Ms. Rivera travels extensively throughout North and South America to perform a vast range of concert repertoire with leading international orchestras. A proponent of Latin American culture and music, Ms. Rivera’s season begins at the Grant Park Festival with Roberto Sierra’s Missa Latina conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya, followed by a performance of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Colombia’s Orchestra Filarmónica de Bogotá led by Juan Felipe Molano. A seasoned performer of sacred and secular oratorio, Ms. Rivera performs the Mozart Requiem with the San Diego Symphony under the baton of Markus Stenz and with Roberto Abbado leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as the lush Brahms Requiemwith the Kansas City Symphony, the Mozart orchestration of Handel’s Messiah with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, Poulenc’s Gloriawith the Fresno Philharmonic, Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the Butler Philharmonic and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Grand Rapids Symphony. Ms. Rivera has long championed contemporary vocal music, and this season she appears at the Ford Theater in association with LA Opera to reprise her performance of Paola Prestini’s multidisciplinary The Hubble Cantata, which she premiered at the BRIC Festival in Brooklyn in August 2016 with acclaimed baritone Nathan Gunn. She also sings Salonen’s Five Images After Sappho for her debut with the Colorado Symphony. Additionally, she joins in the celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial at the Celebrity Series of Boston with a broadcast of Rob Kapilow’s What Makes It Great radio program, and performs Bernstein’s Wonderful Town with the Seattle Symphony.
In 2017, Ms. Rivera gave the world premiere of Gabriela Lena Frank’s Requiem with baritone Andrew Garland and the Houston Symphony and Chorus, conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The artist also performed John Harbison’s Requiem with the Nashville Symphony and Chorus under Giancarlo Guerrero, which was recorded for future release on the Naxos label. Ms. Rivera treasures a long-standing collaboration spanning over a decade with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and was recently featured as soprano soloist in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem and Jonathan Leshnoff’s Zohar with the ASO and Chorus at Carnegie Hall; additionally, she joined Spano on Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator in Atlanta and at the Kennedy Center’s 2017 SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras, where she also performed Robert Spano’s Hölderlin Lieder, a song cycle written specifically for her and recorded on the ASO Media label. Recent orchestral highlights include Mozart’s Requiem with the Calgary Philharmonic under Roberto Minczuk, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Karina Canellakis and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Strauss’s Orchesterlieder with Johannes Stert and the Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa in Lisbon, Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares with Nicholas Carter and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Franz Welser-Möst in Ms. Rivera’s debut with the Cleveland Orchestra. During the summer of 2017, Ms. Rivera returned to Cincinnati Opera to perform the role of Musetta in La Bohème, led by Louis Langrée.
Ms. Rivera has worked closely with John Adams throughout her career, and received international praise for the world premiere of Adams’s opera A Flowering Tree, singing the role of Kumudha in a production directed by Peter Sellars as part of the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. Subsequently, she has performed the role in her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle, the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon and the Cincinnati Opera led by Joana Carneiro, and under Adams’s baton, she has sung Kumudha with the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Lincoln Center and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre. Ms. Rivera made her European operatic debut as Kitty Oppenheimer in Sellars’s acclaimed production of Adams’s Doctor Atomic with the Netherlands Opera, a role that also served for her debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Finnish National Opera and Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, Spain. She joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for its new production of Doctor Atomic under the direction of Alan Gilbert. Ms. Rivera has also performed Nixon Tapes with the Pittsburgh Symphony under John Adams’s direction, as well as his composition El Niño with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra under David Robertson, San Francisco Symphony under John Adams and at the Edinburgh International Festival with James Conlon and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Rivera made her critically acclaimed Santa Fe Opera debut in the summer of 2005 as Nuria in the world premiere of the revised edition of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar. She reprised the role for the 2007 Grammy Award-winning Deutsche Grammophon recording of the work with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Spano, and bowed in the Peter Sellars staging at Lincoln Center and Opera Boston, as well as in performances at the Barbican Centre, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Cincinnati Opera, and the Ojai, Ravinia, and New Zealand International Arts Festivals. The artist’s first performances of Margarita Xirgu in Ainadamar, a role created by Dawn Upshaw, occurred in the summer of 2007 at the Colorado Music Festival under the baton of Michael Christie and she reprised the part recently for the Teatro Real in Madrid.
Committed to the art of recital, Ms. Rivera has appeared in concert halls in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas and Santa Fe. She was deeply honored to have received a commission from Carnegie Hall for the World Premiere of a song cycle by Nico Muhly entitled The Adulteress, given on the occasion of her Weill Hall recital performance.