OBU Hosts Renowned Soprano Leona Mitchell

The OBU Division of Music is honored to host renowned soprano Leona Mitchell Nov. 3-4 as part of the annual meeting of the Texoma Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, hosted this year by OBU.

Dr. Mark McQuade, Oklahoma District Governor of NATS, said he anticipates several hundred visitors to OBU’s campus, in part to compete, and in part to hear Mitchell’s performance. McQuade serves as assistant professor of music and coordinator of vocal studies at OBU.

Mitchell will present a recital Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m., in Potter Auditorium in Raley Chapel. The recital consists of some of the staples in the operatic repertoire, including favorites from “Carmen,” “Die Tote Stadt” and “Tosca.” In addition, Mitchell will offer works by Richard Strauss, Dvorak, Rodrigo, Wolf and Debussy. The recital is wide-reaching and varied, much as Mitchell’s career has been, including Aida, both Verdi Leonora’s from “La Forza Del Destino” and “Il Trovatore,” “Manon Lescaut,” “La Bohéme,” “The Masked Ball,” “Madame Butterfly,” “Liu in Turandot,” “Madame Lidouine” as well as Mozart and Handelian roles.

A native of Enid, Okla., Mitchell has sung for five United States Presidents: Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and for George Bush Sr. when he was Vice President. She sang at some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses: The Berlin, Australian, Rome, Caracalla, Vienna, Paris, London, Chile, Buenos Aires, Canadian, Mexican, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Santa Fe, Bordeaux, Marseille, Parma and Hamburg companies, to name a few. One of her favorite performances was as Aida in Egypt.

Mitchell has collaborated with most of the major symphonies of the world. Many of the world’s greatest conductors have worked with Mitchell: Zubin Mehta with The New York Philharmonic, James Levine and The Chicago Symphony, Seji Ozawa, The Boston Philharmonic, Kurt Mazur with The Israeli Philharmonic and Lorin Maazel with The Cleveland Orchestra, with whom she collaborated to record the first full version of “Porgy and Bess.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to have Leona Mitchell on our campus,” said Dr. Kristen Stauffer Todd, chair of the OBU Division of Music. “Her work is unparalleled, and having her with us is a treat for both OBU students as well as students on campus for the NATS meeting. The fact that Ms. Mitchell is from Oklahoma is doubly-exciting, and icing on the proverbial hometown cake.”

Friday’s activities include a master class for NATS participants in the morning, providing young singers an opportunity to interact with Mitchell in a pedagogical atmosphere.

Tickets for the Nov. 3 recital performance are $15. For more information, contact the OBU Division of Music at (405) 878-2305.