Shawnette Sulker has been described as a singer “…displaying a bright, superbly controlled soprano with perfectly placed coloratura.” On the operatic stage, Ms. Sulker has been a featured artist in three San Francisco Opera productions: Porgy and Bess, The Mother of Us All, and Louise. She was also a part of the joint production of Dido and Aeneas between San Francisco Opera and the Crucible, singing the roles of Second Woman and Second Witch. A native of Guyana, the soprano has sung leading roles with other companies of note, including Hawaii Opera Theatre, Internationale Opera Producties, Opera Naples, Union Avenue Opera, Natchez Opera Festival, Pacific Opera Project, West Edge Opera, Festival Opera, Music in the Mountains, Mendocino Music Festival, and West Bay Opera, to name a few. Roles in Ms. Sulker’s repertoire include Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Die Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Cunegonde (Candide), Olympia/Giulietta/Antonia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Musetta (La Bohème), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Zerlina and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Constanze (Abduction from the Seraglio), Frasquita and Micaëla (Carmen), Despina (Così fan tutte), Clara and Serena (Porgy and Bess), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), Amore (Orfeo ed Euridice), Treemonisha (Treemonisha), Madame Silberklang (Der Schauspieldirektor), and Rosabella (The Most Happy Fella).
Ms. Sulker created the role of Corina in the world-premiere of David Conte’s opera Firebird Motel. The original cast recording can be found on the Arsis label. She has also sung in the American premieres of the following operas: Adam Gorb’s Anya17 in the role of Mila, Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness in the role of River Woman, Fabrizio Carlone’s Bonjour M. Gauguin as La Voix Intérieure, and Zenobia Powell Perry’s Tawawa House as Fanny. Her film credits include a soundtrack performance for the movie Mimic and an on-camera operatic appearance in the feature film Jackson, directed by J.F. Lawton.
In concert, Ms. Sulker has performed with American Bach Soloists, Eugene Symphony, Mark Morris Dance Group, Bear Valley Music Festival, Peninsula Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, Pacific Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Choral Society, Santa Clara Chorale, UC Davis Symphony Chorus & Orchestra, Masterworks Chorale, Avedis Chamber Music Series, and Redwood Symphony, to name a few. Highlights in her concert repertoire include Handel’s Messiah; the Bach cantatas Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, Coffee Cantata, and Non sa che sia dolore; Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate, Grand Mass in C minor, Requiem and Missa Brevis in G; Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Mass in B♭; Orff’s Carmina Burana; Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Virgine and Lamento della ninfa; Rutter’s Requiem; Schubert’s Mass in G; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915; Bach’s Magnificat and Weihnachts-Oratorium; Fauré’s Requiem; Pergolesi’s Magnificat; and Mahler’s Symphonies No. 4 and No.8.
The soprano made her European concert debut with the Jugendsinfonieorchester Leipzig singing all the female roles in a concert version of Porgy and Bess and the soprano solos in Mendelssohn’s Psalm 42. These performances were held in Leipzig’s Gewandhaus and Prague’s Smetana Hall. She also performed a solo recital at Amsterdam’s Red Door Studio. As a special guest of the Ritz-Carlton in Osaka, Japan Ms. Sulker was invited back three times to perform a series of Christmas concerts.
Ms. Sulker earned scholarships to attend Bennington College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in vocal performance. The soprano was awarded scholarships to attend both the Contemporary Opera and Song Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and the OperaWorks Summer Intensive Program in Los Angeles. The soprano was also a resident artist for the Natchez Music Festival in Mississippi. A winner of career scholarships from the East Bay Opera League Vocal Competition, Ms. Sulker has also been a regional finalist with the NATS Competition and a finalist and award winner with the Irene Dalis Vocal Competition.