“I always knew I wanted to be an opera singer. At no time has that changed,” said music alumna Jacquelyn Wagner (BM ‘03) who enjoys a successful career in Europe singing in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.
This season Wagner will take her place among the world’s leading sopranos when she makes her debut at La Scala in Milan, Europe’s most prestigious opera house.
Jacquelyn will sing the lead role of Eva in Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersingervon Nürnberg from March 16 through April 5, 2017.
At Oakland University, Wagner earned a BM in Voice Performance, studying with Adjunct Assistant Professor of Voice Edie Diggory, with whom she had begun to work in high school. “She is one of the best voice teachers I have come across,” said Wagner. “The results that she can produce are unreal. She shaped my voice into what it is today.”
Professor John-Paul White, head of OU’s voice program, recognized Wagner’s unique qualities immediately. “Jacquelyn came to us with a beautiful voice,” White said. “The first time I heard her sing as an incoming freshman, I was blown away. Given the beauty of her voice and her artistry, I never had any doubt she would have a rewarding career, but I think she benefited from our combined department with music, theatre and dance instruction because she was able to develop her stage presence. We encourage our students to take classes across the disciplines to improve their performance skills.”
Wagner continued her education at Manhattan School of Music where she completed an MM studying with opera star Mignon Dunn. She first sung in Europe after she auditioned for opera roles in New York as part of the New York International Opera Auditions (NYIOP) program. Her first contract was with Marseilles Opera in France where she performed the role of Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte. At the end of the season Wagner, who had been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, left to study German Lied and German language.
Already this season Wagner has appeared in Carmen at the Royal Palace in Seville, and as Desdemona in Otello with Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, but undoubtedly La Scala in March will mark a highpoint in her career, as it would for any singer.
Wagner enjoys her life in Europe, not just her work, but what she calls “the spectacular things: the history, museums, churches, nature.” Even so, she hopes one day to sing more often in American opera houses. She sang Arabella by Richard Strauss at the Minnesota Opera in 2013, and we look forward to any upcoming announcements that would allow more old friends and colleagues to enjoy her artistry. Maybe next season? Meanwhile toi, toi, toi at La Scala.
Read more about Jacquelyn Wagner on her website.