About Sylvia Stone
Sylvia Stone, mezzo-soprano, has an extensive performing background in the United States and throughout Europe. As an aspiring young opera singer she studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. There she was a George Eastman Scholar and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance and a Master of Music in Music Literature. She graduated with Honors and was awarded a Performer’s Certificate in both Voice and Opera. Additional studies were in Stuttgart, Germany with the famous vocal pedagogue Maria Wetzelsberger Gluck and with the director of the Hochschule für Musik, Professor Hermann Reutter, with whom she studied German Lieder and also performed recitals. During this time, Sylvia Stone was a Fulbright scholar, a two-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation Grant, and she made her operatic debut in Germany.
Prior to studying in Germany, Sylvia Stone had begun her career in opera in the USA singing such roles as Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Nancy in Friedrich von Flotow’s Martha, Siebel in Gonoud’s Faust, Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Kate Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, and other smaller roles. While studying in Stuttgart, she auditioned for the Städische Bühnen in Lübeck and she was engaged to sing several operatic roles that season. One of them was Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and it was in this role that she made her professional debut in Germany.
After making the debut, Sylvia Stone made her home in Lübeck and sang many leading operatic roles at the opera house there, as well as at other opera companies throughout Germany. Additional engagements took her intermittently to cities in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, and America. Professor Stone’s wide operatic repertoire, spanning more than 1,300 performances, includes the leading roles of Carmen in Bizet’s Carmen, Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Clarissa in Rossini’s La pietra del paragone, Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Komponist in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, and Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore. In Reykjavik, Iceland, she sang the role of Mary in Der Fliegende Holländer in the first performance in that country of an opera by Richard Wagner.
At the height of her career as an opera singer she was appointed to the School of Music faculty of the University of Illinois in America, where she became Professor of Voice. She considers herself fortunate through teaching to have the opportunity to pass on to talented and eager young singers her passion for singing.
A frequent adjudicator and clinician, Professor Stone teaches during the summer months at Scuola Italia for Young Opera Singers in Sant’Angelo in Vado, Italy. She is artistic director of the program. Summer of 2019 will mark her sixtenth season in collaboration with Scuola Italia, first in Urbania, and since 2012 in Sant’Angelo in Vado.
Over the past twenty years, Professor Stone has been affilliated with several programs in Salzburg, Austria where she functioned as adjudicator, master class presenter, and vocal pedagogue. These programs were the Austrian American Mozart Academy, the University of Miami Summer Program in Salzburg, and FAVA (Franco-American Vocal Academy). Other activities include her tenure as consultant to the Komische-Kammer-Oper-München, an international music theater program in Germany for young singers, and her chairmanship of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Central District Auditions, USA.
Professor Stone was awarded the Alumnae Achievement Award by Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, USA, where she was commencement speaker in 1979. She was honored by her hometown in Alabama as an “Outstanding Talladegan.” in the year 2000, and she is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Her students have appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, St. Louis Opera, and important opera festivals. In addition to her many award-winning students, several of her former students are teaching at the university level.
Professor Stone’s teaching philosophy is based on personal experience of many years as a professional singer. During her career, she has sung more than 1,300 operatic performances and she offers her students an actual performer’s perspective. She knows the level of accomplishment required to succeed, and sets high standards both vocally and musically to enable her students to compete in the professional world of singing. Thus extending her performing talents, artistic expertise, and professional wisdom into the realm of teaching awards her a great sense of satisfaction.
Most recently Sylvia Stone was in Italy to receive an important national award, the “Tartufo D’Oro 2018”. This honor is conferred on personalities who have distinguished themselves in the world of culture, performance, cinema, communication, politics, medicine, science, and finance. The ceremony took place during the 55th Edizione della Mostra Nationale del Tartufo Bianco Pregiato in the region of Le Marche, Italy.
My teaching is based on personal experience of many years as a professional singer. During my career, I have sung at least 1,300 operatic performances. I am therefore able to give my students an actual performer’s perspective. I know the level of accomplishment necessary to succeed in the professional world, and consequently, set high standards both vocally and musically to prepare my students to meet the challenge. I strive to help my students discover his or her very own singing instinct and to let the voice sing! Aside from teaching the most important and universal aspect of singing, which is the correct handling of the breath, I treat each voice/singer as a law unto itself. Indeed, I never pigeon-hole a voice. Every instrument is different. Thus, extending my performing talents, expertise, and wisdom into the realm of teaching is a source of great satisfaction. I consider myself fortunate through teaching to have the opportunity to pass on my passion for singing to talented and eager young singers.
BM (vocal performance) and MM (music literature) with honors; Performer's Certificate (in both voice and opera) and George Eastman Scholar, Eastman School of Music (student of Julius Huehn); additional studies with Hermann Reutter at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart and with Maria Wetzelsberger-Gluck