Marquita Lister

Marquita ListerTitle: Opera Singer

Location: Washington, DC

For the past two decades, international opera sensation Marquita Lister has continued to earn worldwide critical praise for her intense and expressive operatic roles, as well as for her purity of tone and vocal versatility. In addition, her precise, intelligent technique and her determination to dare the utmost in each performance have garnered kudos from critics and colleagues alike, while audiences the world over relish her interpretive dramatic capabilities.

Ms. Lister’s impressive repertoire includes the works of Verdi, Puccini, Gershwin and Strauss. Her exquisite voice has been heard in the world’s most important opera houses, including San Francisco, Houston, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Paris and La Scala. Her on-stage partners have been such world-renowned artists as Placido Domingo, Justine Diaz, Frederica Von Stade, Marcello Giordani, Simon Estes and Sherrill Milnes.

Born in 1966 and raised in a traditional household in Washington, D.C, the soprano enjoyed a conventional upbringing, attending what is now the Ellington School of the Arts High School. She then graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree and went on to earn a Master of Music degree from Oklahoma City University. She also trained for two years with the prestigious Houston Opera Studio.

Her superb voice, combined with a tall, statuesque, and graceful stage presence, elicited invitations to sing some of opera’s most coveted roles, including Aida, Carmen, and Musetta, and it wasn’t long before her performance as Bess in the New York City Opera’s Emmy-nominated production of Porgy and Bess earned her the company’s NYCO Diva Award. Her real breakthrough followed shortly thereafter, with roles in Montreal and Dresden, followed by Alice Ford in Falstaff at the Portland Opera, Salome in Austin, Liu in Turandot in Baltimore and Tosca in Vancouver.

Upon performing Nedda in I Pagliacci and Musetta in La Boheme at the prestigious Arena di Verona, Ms. Lister firmly established herself as an international star. She received the “Artist of the Year Award” from the Pittsburgh Opera and was engaged by Gotz Friedrich, Director and General Manager of the Deutsche Oper Berlin for his production of Porgy and Bess at the Theater des Westens, after which came her ground-breaking performances at the Bregenz Festival and a tour of Porgy and Bess, which included performances in the U.S., Japan, the Opera Bastille in Paris and the Teatro alla Scala di Milano.

She enjoyed tremendous success at the Semperoper Dresden in 2007 and the following year, traveled to Memphis, where she made her debut as Lady Macbeth and was celebrated in the press as “the ideal cast both in voice and stature.” Additionally, she sang the title role in Rusalka at the Boston Lyric Opera to wide critical acclaim, as well as Cassandre in Hector Berlioz’ Les Troyens at Brazil’s Teatro Amazonas Opera House and the role of Bess in a concert performance of Porgy and Bess at the Hollywood Bowl, a role for which she is considered one of the best ever to perform.

Other career highlights include performances as Mimi in La Boheme, Elisabetta di Valois in Don Carlo, Tosca at the Staatstheater Stuttgart, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, Aida, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Salome with the New Orleans Opera, a concert version of Porgy and Bess at the Music Center at Strathmore with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Fresno Opera and the Cape Town Opera Company, followed by a Bernstein concert with conductor Steven Mercurio in Taormina, Sicily. She then reprised her roles as Bess at the Atlanta Opera and Salome at the Staatstheater Stuttgart, as well as Elena in I Vespri Siciliani at the Teatro Colon and in Buenos Aires.

Ms. Lister has appeared in a number of television productions, including those with the Boston Pops and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, as well as on PBS and in the broadcast, Live from Lincoln Center. She has recorded George Gershwin’s Blue Monday for Telarc Records, excerpts from Porgy and Bess with the Cincinnati Pops, and can be heard on the Albany Records recording of Where the Sunsets Bleed by Edward Knight. In 2006, she recorded the critically acclaimed Porgy and Bess CD for Decca Records, which was hailed by Opera News as one of the best recordings of the year.

In 2010, Cambridge Who’s Who named Ms. Lister “Professional of the Year in Performing Arts” and the honor of being included in its prestigious registry.

She is returning to the stage after a prolonged illness and is proud to be the spokesperson for the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation for which she will be performing at a fundraiser at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. in February of 2011. She also works steadily on behalf of the Negro Musicians Fund. Upcoming performances include the role of Bess in Porgy & Bess in Akron, OH in April and the role of Serena in a concert performance of Porgy and Bess at Tanglewood in the summer of 2011.

For more information, additional photos, or to hear clips of some of her operatic and other roles, please visit

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Marquita Lister

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