International opera star Marquita Lister has earned worldwide critical praise for the past two decades, during which time she has garnered kudos from critics and colleagues alike, while audiences the world over relish her interpretive dramatic capabilities in each operatic role.
Her repertoire includes the works of Verdi, Puccini, Gershwin and Strauss, and she has been heard in the most prestigious opera houses, including San Francisco, Houston, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Paris and La Scala. Her on-stage partners have included Placido Domingo, Justino Diaz, Frederica Von Stade, Marcello Giordani, Simon Estes and Sherrill Milnes, to name a few.
She has been invited to sing some of opera’s most coveted roles, including Aida, Salome, Tosca and Lady Macbeth, and her performance as Bess in the New York City Opera's Emmy-nominated production of Porgy and Bess earned her the company’s NYCO Diva Award. She was invited to sing the role of Salome at the 100th Anniversary of Strauss at Dresden’s Semperoper, an unprecedented honor for an African American soprano, followed by performances of Alice Ford in Falstaff at the Portland Opera, Salome in Austin, Liu in Turandot in Baltimore and Tosca in Vancouver.
Upon performing Nedda in I Pagliacci and Musetta in La Boheme at the Arena di Verona, she established herself as an international star, earning the "Artist of the Year Award" from the Pittsburgh Opera. She was then engaged by Gotz Friedrich, Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin to perform the roles of Bess in Porgy and Bess at the Theater des Westens, Aida at the Deutsche Oper, and Bess at the Bregenz Festival. Then came Houston Grand Opera’s tour ofPorgy and Bess, which included performances in the U.S., Japan, Paris’ Opera Bastille and the Teatro alla Scala di Milano.
Success as Lady Macbeth with Maestro Gatti at the Semperoper in Dresden followed. She then sang the title role of Rusalka at the Boston Lyric Opera, Cassandre in Hector Berlioz’ Les Troyens at Brazil’s Teatro Amazonas Opera House, and Bess in a concert performance of Porgy and Bess at the famed Hollywood Bowl.
Other highlights include Mimi in La Boheme, Elisabetta di Valois in Don Carlo, Tosca at the Staatstheater Stuttgart, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, Aida, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana at the Aalto Theater in Essen, Germany,Salome with the New Orleans Opera, a concert version of Porgy and Bess at the Music Center at Strathmore with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Fresno Opera and the Cape Town Opera Company and a Bernstein concert with conductor Steven Mercurio in Taormina, Sicily. She then reprised the roles of Bess at the Atlanta Opera and Salome at the Staatstheater Stuttgart and Michigan Opera Theater, as well as performed the role of Elena in I Vespri Siciliani at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.
Ms. Lister has appeared in television productions with the Boston Pops and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as well as on PBS in the broadcast, Live from Lincoln Center. She has recorded George Gershwin's Blue Monday and excerpts from Porgy and Bess for Telarc Records with the Cincinnati Pops, and can be heard on the Albany Records recording of Where the Sunsets Bleed by Edward Knight. In 2006, she recorded the critically acclaimed Porgy and Bess CD for Decca Records, which was hailed by Opera News as one of the best recordings of the year. In 2010, Cambridge Who’s Who named Ms. Lister “Professional of the Year in Performing Arts” and the honor of being included in its prestigious registry.
As a philanthropist, Ms. Lister is committed to organizations that support music and education. She is proud to be the spokesperson for the “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation, as well as an advocate for the scholarship and education programs of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc.
December of 2011, she received the National Rehabilitation Hospital’s prestigious Victory Award, placing her among fellow recipients Steve Wonder, the legendary Ray Charles, actress Teri Garr and Senator Robert Dole.
Having enjoyed rave notices for her performance of Bess in a semi-staged production of Porgy and Bess with the Akron Symphony Orchestra in 2011, she made her debut as “Serena” in the Gershwin classic at Tanglewood Music Festival this past summer. Most recently she performed a program of Gershwin classics with Maestro Bramwell Tovey at the keyboard in Vancouver, Canada and appeared with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Mahler extravaganza (MahlerPlus) in the great composer’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Resurrection under Maestro Tovey’s direction to a standing ovation.
In February of this year, she will join the African American Art Song Alliance at the University of California, Irvine where she will perform the spellbinding song cycle, The Wider View, by H. Leslie Adams, as well as the Act II aria, “Lady of the Water,” from Amistad by Anthony Davis. March will take Ms. Lister to the Videmus@Festival on the Hill at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where she will perform on a tribute concert honoring the distinguished Videmus organization, as well as give a master class. In June of 2012, Ms. Lister willl be a featured performer in concert with orchestra at Denmark’s Bornholm Music Festival. Later in the year, she will reprise the role of Serena in a concert performances of Porgy and Bess with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
se Theater Review: The BSO Delivers Porgy and Bess With Gusto at Tanglewood
Theater Add comments Aug. 29, 2011 An alternative to the New York Times’ review of PORGY AND BESS at the Tanglewood Festival.
“Still, the opera’s emotional power is lessened in a concert version, in part because Porgy is a cripple with a goat and cart who ekes out a living on Catfish Row, circa 1930. In this production, he was a handsome and hunky singer-why in the world would Bess leave him? Bass-Baritone Alfred Walker sang the role of Porgy beautifully, he and his blind love for Bess won the audience’s sympathy from the start. I found Bess, sung by soprano Laquita Mitchell, underwhelming; the other female leads were more impressive, especially Marqita Lister as Serena, who memorably belted out “My Man’s Gone Now.” Other standouts included Gregg Baker, who as Crown, Bess’s first romantic interest, conveyed the mean spirited character well while singing with aplomb. Even Better was Jermaine Smith, who, as Sporting Life, a cocanine-dealer and seducer of Bess, had moves that recalled dancers Savion Glover and Michael Jackson. Smith’s renditions of “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and “There’s a Boat Dat’s Leavin Soon for New York were galvanic.