Susan Hellman Spatafora
Celebrated by Opera News for her “perfect, yearningly optimistic coloring—golden and radiant,” and by Classics Today for her “impressive instrument,” soprano Susan Hellman Spatafora has performed with companies including Palm Beach Opera, Opera Tampa, Sarasota Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Central City Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, South Florida Lyric Opera and Green Mountain Opera. In December 2020, Spatafora “sparkled” as she “let (Rosalinde’s) intelligence shine through” (Orlando Sentinel) in Opera Orlando’s Die Fledermaus, the country’s first staged opera production since the start of the pandemic. During the 2019-20 season Spatafora “turned in a blazing performance” (Talkin’ Broadway) in the title role of Suor Angelica with the St. Petersburg Opera Company and performed the roles of Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen with Opera Tampa and Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème with Lakeland Opera. Other recent roles have included Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Clotilde in Norma, and Anna in Puccini’s Le Villi. Spatafora can also be seen in the title role in the St. Petersburg Opera’s world premiere video recording of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, released on Naxos in 2017.
Spatafora’s postponed engagements last season included the roles of the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with IlluminArts; Antonia and Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Opera Tampa, now in February 2022; and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Gulfshore Opera, now in March 2022. In lieu of her scheduled performance as Madama Butterfly with Opera Tampa, Spatafora sang the role of Cio-Cio-San in the company’s 90-minute, socially distanced “Butterfly’s Flight” in April 0f 2021. She also performed the role of Leonora in their similarly styled version of Il Trovatore.
In November 2020, Spatafora sang Marcos Balter’s Ear, Skin, and Bone Riddles in the New World Symphony’s virtual program, Adams X Adams, which she “delivered with a rich timbre, bell-like high notes and great clarity” (South Florida Classical Review). A frequent guest artist with the Tampa Oratorio Singers, Spatafora performed as soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Bach’s Magnificat, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Handel’s Messiah. Other appearances as guest soloist have included a quartet version of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Liszt) and Brahms’ Liebeslieder-Walzer with the Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation; Andrea Clearfield’s The Long Bright with the North Carolina Women’s Voices Chorus; the world premiere of Allan Friedman’s With Perfect Faith with the Duke Vespers Ensemble; “Solveig’s Song” from Peer Gynt with the Tampa Bay Symphony; and Whispering Pines 10, an installment of artist Shana Moulton’s internet soap opera with music by Nick Hallett. An avid art song recitalist, Spatafora has performed concerts with IlluminArts at the Bass Museum, Miami Center for Architecture & Design, and in the virtual concert “Unmasked” in collaboration with ICA Miami and Girl Power in December 2020.
Spatafora has won prizes in the Florida Grand Opera Young Patronesses of the Opera competition, the Palm Beach Opera International Vocal Competition, and the National Society of Arts and Letters Voice Competition. A graduate of the master’s program in voice at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and bachelor’s program in voice from Indiana University, Spatafora has been a participant in the EPCASO and Opera Lucca programs in Italy, as well as young artist programs at Central City Opera, Sarasota Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival.