Artist Statement

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I am a dramatic singer who will not be pigeonholed. I am a Zwischenfach, which Richard Miller explains in his National Schools of Singing: English, French, German and Italian Techniques of Singing Revisited is a type of soprano voice. This voice type lies between the soprano and mezzo-soprano ranges and is used for dramatic roles with a specific tessitura. Roles that fit this fach and me include Ariadne, Donna Elvira, Eboli, and Ortrud.

 

As part of my mission to not be compartmentalized, I have recently gone public about my experiences and struggles as a dyslexic opera singer. One example of this is by posting about dyslexia every Thursday on my Instagram for what I fondly like to call #DyslexicThursdays. In these posts I aim to educate others on what dyslexia is, give music learning tips, and to show my fellow dyslexics they are not alone. I recently had the honor of being featured in the fall issue of Classical Singer Magazine, "Making a Difference: Samantha Nahra, Dyslexia, and Music Learning," where I was interviewed by Alec Arnett.

 

I firmly believe that new music is the future of opera. In fact, I am so vehement about it that during the time of COVID I have become a librettist! So far I have written two YouTube operas: A Dramatic Soprano Tries Cooking…The Opera and it’s sequel, A Dramatic Soprano Tries Cooking Again…The Opera, which were composed by fellow dyslexic Philip Wharton. These operas can be found on my YouTube channel and on Opera on Tap’s YouTube channel, where they have had their company premiere. This coming Winter Solstice, at the HERE Arts Center with Opera on Tap, my poem “The Divergent Night” will have it’s world premiere with accompanying music composed by the Obie-awarding-winning Diedre Murray. This is a production I will be performing in so make sure to mark your calendars!

Career Highlights

  • Roles sung: Third Norn from Götterdämmerung, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, Miceala in La tragedies de Carmen, Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica and Bianca in La Rondine

  • Cover for the role of Arinyae in Theodore Christman's new opera, A Metamorphosis

  • Principal Artist for UVAA's Dramatic Voices 2018, 2019

  • Performed in Salt Lake City's Assembly Hall in Temple Square

  • Sang in Scenic Opera's inaugural performance in 2021

  • Founding member of Columbia Operatic Laboratory

  • Teaching Artist with Playground Opera 

Awards

  • Special Mention - Medici International Music Competition

  • Semi-finalist - SAS Performing Arts Company, Inc. Competition

  • Finalist - Elaine Malbin and Mario Lanza Competition

  • Honorable Mention - NJS International Vocal Competition

  • Finalist - Debbie Voigt Death by Aria Competition

  • Encouragement Grant - Heafner/William Vocal Competition

  • NOTE Award - LAGRange Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition

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Biographical Info

  • Born in Cedar Rapids, IA, on November 19th, 1988

  • Holds degrees in Voice and Opera Theatre from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, University of South Carolina, and Mannes, The New School

  • Has performed with Oberlin in Italy, Operaworks, CoOPERAtive, Sherrill MIlnes VOICE Studio, Chiavi di Bel Canto, IVAI, UVAA and NYDV

  • Currently lives in Coney Island

  • Married to Philip Zion 

  • Mother to two cats, Toku and Knucklehead 

Anecdotes

  • Creator of Sam Tries Cooking... on YouTube where I cook from my geeky cookbooks, which is partnered with Opera on Tap

  • Buoy of Bubbles and Buoy the operatic mermaid duo

  • Retired Renaissance Faire children's entertainer

  • Avid Dungeons and Dragon player 

  • A gamer of World of Warcraft

  • Currently trying to learn how to play the bodhran

  • Big sci-fi and fantasy nerd