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Degrees:

  • University of Michigan, D.M.A.
  • University of Maryland’s Maryland Opera Studio, M.M.
  • Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, B.M.

Professional opera and musical theatre performer, Sarah Best (mezzo-soprano), comes from a diverse background in performance. Her versatility within her field has allowed her to garner a career involving various creative projects, educational and performance-based, with organizations throughout the United States including: The American Symphony Orchestra, Ash Lawn Opera, Bard Music Festival, The Daraja Ensemble, Fripp Island Music Festival, Inscape Chamber Orchestra, The Light Opera of NY, The Los Angeles Operetta Foundation, The Luzerne Music Center, The Maryland Opera Studio, The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, The Ohio Light Opera, Opéra Louisiane, Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Opera, and The Virginia Consort.

Known for her “comic timing and her rapport with the audience,” (The Daily Record) Best’s range of stage experience branches out from the traditional opera canon and sacred music performance into contemporary concert works and includes a vast repertoire (over 50 distinct roles) encompassing both the American musical theatre and lyric theatre tradition. Recently performed operatic and theatrical roles have included: Irene Molloy (Hello, Dolly!), Le Prince Charmant (Cendrillon), Nellie Forbush (South Pacific), The Baker’s Wife (Into the Woods), Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice), Hattie (Kiss Me, Kate), Lucretia (The Rape of Lucretia), Iolanthe (Iolanthe), Madame de Croissy (Dialogues des Carmélites), and Gladys Hotchkiss (The Pajama Game).

As a graduate of the University of Michigan (D.M.A.), the University of Maryland’s Maryland Opera Studio (M.M.), and Mansfield University of Pennsylvania (B.M.), Best’s research and educational interests have expanded into various settings, most recently including her guest lecturing at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (2021, 2022) on executive presence, particularly voice, as a dynamic tool for leadership. Her work integrating boundaries and consent in performance-based academic spaces and exploring various methods for reimagining traditional performance techniques for twenty-first century performers has been explored in her class “Performance Techniques” – which piloted new opera course curriculum in 2020 at the University of Michigan. Other active areas of educational interest include gender roles and casting, stage movement and physicality, and innovating ideas for recital spaces and performance repertoire. All of which were investigated in her recent dissertation, “Notes on Three Dissertation Performances: Opera and Recital in the Twenty-First Century” (University of Michigan, 2022) and its associated performances, “Bon Appétit! (and other disasters),” Cendrillon (Massenet), and “The Sounds of Reminiscence.”