A native of Philadelphia, Leah Hawkins recently completed the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. In the 2019-20 season she appeared at the Met as the Strawberry Woman in Porgy and Bess and Masha in The Queen of Spades, joined the Colorado Symphony for the Verdi Requiem and was scheduled to make her Bayerische Staatsoper debut. In the 2018-19 season she made her Met debut as an Alms Collector in Suor Angelica, the High Priestess in Aida, and appeared on the 2019 Summer Recital Series. She is an alumna of the Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera where she appeared as Ma Zegner in the world premiere of Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, and the Celestial Voice in DonCarlo. In the 2016-17 season she appeared at WNO as the I-Will-Sell-My-Children-Mom in the premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s The Dictator’s Wife and, to great acclaim, as Cousin Blanche/Sadie Griffith in Champion, Terence Blanchard’s “opera in jazz.” Additionally she appeared in Justice at the Opera with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, performing scenes from Aidaand Un ballo in maschera with the Washington National Opera Orchestra.
In the 2015-16 season she appeared at WNO as Mrs. Dorsey/Amelia Boynton in the world premiere of the revised version of Philip Glass' Appomattox; The Answerer/Ensemble in Lost in the Stars; Serena in Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Lucia in The Thieving Magpie as a young artist at The Glimmerglass Festival. Previously a mezzo-soprano, other roles include Julia Child in Lee Hoiby’s one-woman opera, Bon Appétit, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, La Badessa in Suor Angelica, Tisbe in La Cenerentola, and Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffmann.
On the concert stage she has appeared with The Philadelphia Orchestra in A Space Odyssey; at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in a concert of vocal works by Beethoven; as a guest soloist with the U.S. Air Force Orchestra; Carmen in Carmen Jones with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra; Handel’s Messiah with the Black Pearl Orchestra; Mahler Symphony No. 2 with Yale Philharmonia; Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and Suor Angelica with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra; El amor brujo with the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra.
In the 2017-18 season she appeared as narrator with the National Symphony Orchestra Pops in Jonathan Holland's Equality; with The Apollo Orchestra in Strauss' Vier letzte Lieder; the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in A Celebration of Black Historywhere she performed Knoxville: Summer of 1915; Holiday Joy with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra; the National Symphony Orchestra in Leonard Bernstein's Songfest; in Effervescence: A Taste of MESS with Mise En Scène Studios (MESS) NYC; as a guest artist in concert in Accra, Ghana; Washington Performing Arts' Music in the Country concert series, and at The White House, singing for the President of France.
In addition to appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, in 2018-19 season she joined the National Symphony Orchestra for a Labor Day Capitol Concert, and DECLASSIFIED, returned to the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra for a Gala Concert, presented a Park Avenue Armory Recital, and was a 2019 'Young Talent' of Musique et vin aus Clos Vougeot in Beaune, France, presenting concerts conducted by Met concertmaster, David Chan.
Summer festival credits include The Martina Arroyo Foundation: Prelude to Performance Program, Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy (YAVA), Central City Opera, The Chautauqua Opera Company, and The Glimmerglass Festival.
She is a 2018 Sullivan Foundation Award Winner, is the 2018 recipient of The Richard F. Gold Career Grant (The Shoshana Foundation) from Washington National Opera, the Studio Artist Award from The Chautauqua Opera Guild, the David L. Kasdon Memorial Prize, given to an outstanding singer in the Yale School of Music, and 2nd Place at the New England Region Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has also received prizes from The Young Patronesses of the Opera/Florida Grand Opera Vocal Competition, The George London Foundation Competition, Opera Ebony’s Benjamin Matthews Vocal Competition, The Marcello Giordani International Vocal Competition, and NANBPWC, Inc.
Leah received her Master of Music in Voice from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in Music from Morgan State University.
A graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera, Bénédicte Jourdois is currently on music staff at the Metropolitan Opera and on faculty at the Juilliard School.
Ms. Jourdois has performed in numerous venues in Europe and in the United States, including Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center. She has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Lyric Ryan Opera Center, Opera Saratoga, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Philadelphia, the Chautauqua Institution voice program, the Castleton Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and Carnegie Hall's SongStudio. She was a faculty member at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia from 2013 to 2016 and at the Manhattan School of Music from 2011 to 2018. Ms. Jourdois holds degrees from the Conservatoire National de Region de Saint-Maur, the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Lyon, Mannes College, and the Juilliard School.