SAMANTHA HANKEY, mezzo soprano
MYRA HUANG, pianist

7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Samantha Hankey, January 14

SAMANTHA HANKEY, mezzo soprano
MYRA HUANG, pianist

7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Dusky-voiced Samantha Hankey is a staple performer of German mezzo-soprano repertoire, recently portraying Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) at the Metropolitan Opera for which she was cited by the New York Times as having “tireless energy and dramatic skill.” In the 2023–2024 season, Hankey made her debuts at the Royal Opera House as Dorabella (Così fan tutte), at Detroit Opera as the Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), and at Lyric Opera of Kansas City for her role debut as Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana). 

The cornerstone of Hankey’s program is Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Love) by Robert Schumann, a set of 16 cathartic songs that reflect on Schumann’s separation from his bride, Clara. This jewel of German lieder sits between Poulenc’s masterful 3 Chanson de Federico García Lorca and songs by Satie, Schönberg, Trenet, Weill, and Porter. 

Single tickets will go on sale in July.

Artist Bios

Praised as “luscious,” “amber-toned,” and “dazzling” by Opera News, American mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey is quickly establishing a name for herself both at home and abroad. In the 2019/20 season, Samantha joined the ensemble of the Bayerische Staatsoper, where she made her role and house debut as Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel). She continues her residency in Munich for the 2020/21 season, where she reprises the roles of Wellgunde (Das Rheingold) and Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte) and makes her role debut as Octavian in their new production of Der Rosenkavalier, directed by Barrie Kosky and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. Other highlights of her upcoming seasons include exciting returns to the Metropolitan Opera, where she will debut the role of Prince Charming in Massenet’s Cendrillion among others.

Samantha’s abridged 2019-20 season featured numerous role reprisals with the Bayerische Staatsoper in addition to her house debut with The Dallas Opera in the role of Zweite Dame. In the 2018/19 season, Samantha made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Pantalis (Mefistofele) and returned to the Met throughout the year in Adriana Lecouvreur, Carmen, Das Rheingold, Götterdämmerung, and Rigoletto, debuting a myriad of named roles in her first season at the Met. She also traveled to Turku, Finland to renew the title role in Handel’s Agrippina in concert with Il Pomo d’Oro, where she was praised by Turun Sanomat for her “marvelous lyric mezzo.” Other highlights of Samantha’s recent seasons include major role and house debuts at Opernhaus Zürich, Den Norske Opera Oslo, and the Grand Théâtre de Genève.

Samantha’s growing career includes awards in a vast number of national and international competitions. In 2018, she won both First Prize and the Media Prize at the Inaugural Glyndebourne Cup. That same year, she took home multiple prizes at Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition, winning top awards in the general division as well as the Birgit Nilsson Prize for her interpretation of the work of Richard Strauss. In 2018, Samantha also received a Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, following an earlier 2016 award of a Sara Tucker Study Grant. In 2017, she was named a Grand Finals Winner by the Metropolitan Opera National Council, took First Prize in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, and received a Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship in that foundation’s final year.


Acclaimed by Opera News as being “one of the top accompanists of her generation” and “…a coloristic tour de force” by The New York Times, Grammy® Award-nominated pianist Myra Huang has established herself as one of the leading recitalists and opera educators in the U.S. Huang is invited regularly to perform around the world, with tours including regular appearances at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, The Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Kennedy Center, The 92nd Street Y, Spivey Hall, and the Park Avenue Armory. Huang was chosen as the recipient of The Samuel Sanders Collaborative Artist Award for 2019 by The Classical Recording Foundation for her consummate artistry. She was regularly invited to perform in recital for the Supreme Court Justices by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Huang was the pianist for the Operalia international competition directed by tenor Placido Domingo for fifteen years, performing in opera houses around the world, including the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan, and Teatro Real in Madrid. Her performance at Carnegie Hall with tenor Lawrence Brownlee was chosen by WQXR (NY’s classical radio station) as one of the performances of the year in 2018. Regular collaborations include recitals with Fleur Barron, J’Nai Bridges, Lawrence Brownlee, Sasha Cooke, Ying Fang, Joshua Hopkins, Will Liverman, Angela Meade, Latonia Moore, Eric Owens, Nicholas Phan, Susanna Phillips, Roderick Williams, and clarinetist Anthony McGill. Huang received two Grammy nominations for her album “Gods and Monsters” (2018) and “Clairières” (2020) with tenor Nicholas Phan with the Avie record label.

Huang is the Head of Music for the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera, The Director of Musical Administration and Head Coach at The Aspen Music Festival, and faculty of the Collaborative Piano Department at The Manhattan School of Music, where she mentors and trains young opera singers and pianists of the next generation. She has been on the music staff of Washington National Opera, Palau de les Arts (Spain), New York City Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera. She regularly adjudicates national and international competitions including the Laffont Competition at The Metropolitan Opera, as well as administers masterclasses at institutions across the country. Huang is a Steinway artist.

These performances are external rentals presented in coordination with the Kennedy Center
Campus Rentals Office and are not produced by the Kennedy Center.

“Hankey’s performance is the stand-out in this show–her singing is lovely, but her acting also is visceral, embodying both loneliness and terror vividly.” 

Julia Goldberg, Santa Fe Reporter

Contact Us


P.O. Box 42423

Washington, DC 20015