Erin Wagner, Mezzo-soprano, 2021 Naumburg Vocal Award Winner, and Houston Grand Opera Butler Studio Artist is originally from El Paso, TX. She is passionate about sharing music which represents modern and diverse perspectives. Erin is a graduate of The Juilliard School where she studied with Darrell Babidge and was a Gluck Community Service Fellow. While at Juilliard she won the 2021 Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital alongside her frequent collaborator, Shawn Chang. Erin and Shawn made their Carnegie Hall debuts for The Naumburg Foundation in a recital entitled But How Things Change. The program explored the collective and individual experiences brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic with music by Edie Hill, Fauré, Ravel, Errollyn Wallen, Shawn Chang, and Mahler. For this recital Erin commissioned Shawn to set text from her father’s childhood that depicted his life as a mischievous child living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare and debilitating bone disorder.
Erin was awarded first prize at the 2022 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, receiving debuts at The Kennedy Center and Merkin Hall as well as artistic management. Erin joined the Houston Grand Opera Butler Studio in 2022 to hone her skills as an operatic singer, perform in The Wreckers (Jack), Le nozze di Figaro (Cherubino cover, Barbarina), Salome (Page), and the HGO Butler Studio Scenes Showcase (Mélisande, Béatrice, Miss Jessel, Frau Reich and Larina), and to continue her recital work. Her next season with HGO includes role debuts as Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Blümenmädchen and The Voice from Above (Parsifal), and Sister Berthe (The Sound of Music).
Erin is currently a student of Dr. Stephen King and will join Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Artist to debut the role of Dorabella in Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte in 2024. Erin returned to the Aspen Music Festival as a Renée Fleming Artist in 2023 to sing the role of Idamante under the baton of Robert Spano in Francesca Zambello’s production of Idomeneo. She also performed orchestrated Lieder of Schubert with Nicholas McGegan, Argento’s From The Diary of Virginia Woolf, and scenes from Les Dialogues des Carmélites (Blanche) and Ariadne auf Naxos (Komponist). She was a member of the 2022 Merola Opera Program where she reprised Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, performed in a scene from Golijov’s Ainadamar, sang in Craig Terry’s A Celebration of American Song, and performed scenes from Ariadne auf Naxos (Komponist) and Carmen (Mercédès). While at Merola, Erin and Shawn won the Schwabacher Recital Debut Auditions, they returned in May 2023 to make their recital debut at San Francisco Opera in a recital program called Everything Must Change: a sequel to their previous recital program that discusses the ways society has failed to progress but affirms the opportunity we have collectively to make change through the music of Schubert, Turkewich, Ullmann, Chang, Radiohead, and Benard Ighner. As a 2021 Renée Fleming Artist at Aspen Music Festival, Erin performed Zweite Dame and Knabe in Die Zauberflöte, Unulfo in Rodelinda, and in scenes from Cosí Fan Tutte (Dorabella), La clemenza di Tito(Annio), and Semele (Ino).
While at Juilliard Erin performed in Brian Zeger’s Songfest both in 2019 and 2021, in The Mother of Us All with the NY Philharmonic at the MET Museum, as Giovanna Seymour in a scene from Anna Bolena, and in Pierre Vallet’s Liederabend. She was awarded 2nd Place in the 2021 Houston Saengerbund Competition and is a recipient of a grant from The Gerda Lissner Foundation 2021 Lieder Competition. She has performed with Steve Blier’s NYFOS at Caramoor in their Tour de France and at the Kaufman Center in Next 9 Under 34. Erin’s undergraduate degree is from Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Joan Patenaude-Yarnell. She has previously studied at Renée Fleming’s SongStudio, The Chautauqua Institution, SongFest as a Colburn Fellow, and Matthew Rose’s Scuola di Bel Canto.
2021 International Vocal Competition
Errollyn Wallen: Joy