Vocalist - Mezzo-Soprano

Marietta Simpson, whose deeply expressive, richly beautiful voice has made her one of the most sought-after mezzo-sopranos on the music scene today, has sung with all the major orchestras in the United States, under many of the world's greatest conductors, including the late Robert Shaw, who provided her Carnegie Hall debut in 1988 as soloist in Brahms' Alto Rhapsody with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In summer of 2015 she sang The Old Lady in Bernstein’s Candide with Glimmerglass Opera, and in the 2015-16 season she sings Lucinda in Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain with Opera Philadelphia and is invited soloist in special concerts with the New York Philharmonic.


Posted: Sep-14-2015
Latest News
BBC Radio 3 broadcast Eotvos' Love and Other Demons(Glyndebourne production from this past summer), featuring Marietta Simpson in the role of Dominga de Adviento.
Posted: Oct-12-2008
Latest Acclaim

“Mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson, well remembered as a stellar member of Tri-Cities Opera, played the Old Woman, with humor, sensitivity, and beautiful even tones.”

— Ithaca Times
Posted: Jul-31-2015
Latest Recording
Nominated for four GRAMMY Awards:
Best Classical Album
Best Choral Performance
Best Classical Contemporary Composition
Best Produced Album, Classical

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Bolcom's dream of setting Blake's poems to music began when he fell under their spell as a teenager; he worked on the composition of Songs of Innocence and of Experience on and off for 25 years, completing it in 1982. This live recording celebrates the 20th anniversary of the work's American premiere. Following an early edition of the poems that assigns them a different order from the customary one, he created nine movements to form "a series of arches." Blake's own principle of "contraries" and his use of many poetic traditions is a perfect counterfoil for Bolcom's eclecticism, which encompasses styles ranging from solemn chorales, lush romanticism, abrasive, dissonant modernism, to jazz, folk, country, and rock. His interpretation of the poems, which he calls "A Musical Illumination," is sometimes startling, but always interesting, highly personal, and unquestionably sincere. Some of the settings enhance and heighten the poems, entering deeply into their spirit and mood. Others seem at variance with them: "The Lilly," a peaceful, serene poem, set to crashing, aggressive music, is an extreme example, and some stratospheric, jagged soprano lines seem to add nothing to the text. For some of the most arresting, convincing settings, Bolcom uses his well-known and beloved cabaret style, sung to perfection by his wife and partner, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris. Indeed, the entire performance is beyond praise. The work calls for a whole army of participants: several choruses, including a children's choir, a dozen vocal soloists, a speaker, a harmonica player, a fiddler, and a huge symphony orchestra augmented by electronic instruments and extra brass and percussion. The last produce a large number of terrifying explosions, both between and within the songs, as well as fascinating sound effects, like imitations of running water, delicate tinkles, and ominous roars and rumbles. The singers are superb; the women contribute incredible coloratura leaps, melting lyricism, caressing warmth, while the men include a heroic tenor, a commanding baritone, and sometimes sung, sometimes spoken scatting. Leonard Slatkin holds his enormous forces together with total control and authority. -Edith Eisler
Posted: Oct-19-2004