Mercer University alumna Leah Partridge, CLA ’97, is quickly garnering critical acclaim and an international fan base for her captivating performances on the world opera stage. The soprano has received consistent praise for her virtuosic technique and dramatic insight. She has made some of the great bel canto roles her own, and her career already includes many performances of the title role in "Lucia di Lammermoor," Violetta in "La Traviata," and Gilda in "Rigoletto."
Leah Partridge, CLA '97, a budding opera star, returned to Mercer to speak with several classes of Mercer students on Nov. 6.
In the 2007-2008 season, Partridge makes her Metropolitan Opera debut singing the First Niece in a new production of Britten’s "Peter Grimes," which will be also shown in high definition in select theaters across the nation on March 15, 2008. In October, she returned to Detroit to sing Roxane in the world premiere of David DiChiera’s "Cyrano" with Michigan Opera Theatre. On January 12, 2008, she sings Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra at First Baptist Church of Augusta. After celebrated performances of Amina in Bellini’s "La sonnambula" in the 2006-2007 season, she returns to Florida Grand Opera in Miami as Cleopatra in "Guilio Cesare in Egitto" April-May, 2008.
Partridge returned to Macon in early November to perform Barber's “Knoxville Summer of 1915” and a selection of operatic arias with the Macon Symphony Orchestra as the featured artist in the MSO’s third Masterworks concert of the season. The concert was held on Saturday, Nov. 10, at The Grand Opera House.
Some Mercer students had the opportunity to meet the opera star on Tuesday, Nov. 6, when Partridge spoke to Dr. Tom Glennon’s and Dr. Anya Silver’s FYS classes and Dr. Carol Goff’s music performance class about the issues of artistic preparation of a piece or role for a performance.
Partridge made her debut at the Atlanta Opera as Rosina in "Il barbiere di Siviglia" in the 2006-07 season. She also sang Leila in "Les pêcheurs de perles" with Madison Opera and Konstanze in "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" with Michigan Opera Theatre. Partridge has established herself as a leading artist with Florida Grand Opera with acclaimed performances of Violetta in the company’s new production of "La Traviata" in 2003-2004, directed by Renata Scotto, Gilda in "Rigoletto," and the title role in "Lucia di Lammermoor." "The Miami Herald" praised her performance of Lucia as “a singular triumph” and the "Sun-Sentinel" wrote, “The charismatic singer has undeniable star quality… [her] precise high notes and subtle acting wedded pyrotechnics with dramatic truth in a way few artists can accomplish.”
Partridge sang the role of the Contessa di Folleville in the Chicago Opera Theatre’s production of Rossini’s "I Viaggio a Reims." She returned to the company as Leonore in Charles Dibdin’s "The Padlock" and as Konstanze in "Die Entführung aus dem Serail." Other recent engagements have included Cunégonde in "Candide" at Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, "Lucia" at Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, and Susanna in concert performances of "Le nozze di Figaro" with the Atlanta Symphony, conducted by Robert Spano.
As a concert soloist, Partridge has sung Handel’s "Messiah" with the Cleveland Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony. She returned to Atlanta for a performance entitled "Bernstein’s Broadway," featuring some of Leonard Bernstein’s greatest stage music with the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano. She also appeared as guest soloist in Atlanta Opera’s spring gala. In addition to an extensive oratorio repertoire, she has also been heard in concerts performances of arias with orchestras including the North German Philharmonic, South London Philharmonic Orchestra, Gibraltar Philharmonic and Opera Omaha.
After earning her bachelor of music degree from Mercer University, the Georgia native completed her master of music degree from Indiana University, where she received the prestigious Wilfred C. Bain opera fellowship. She also won first place in the vocal competitions of Palm Beach Opera and Opera Birmingham.