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Charles City grad part of Grammy-winning soundtrack

By James Grob, [email protected]

Charles City alumnus Suzanne Hendrix-Case can add the words “Grammy winner” to her growing resume.

“I thought it was good when I could add that I’d sang at the Metropolitan Opera,” she said. “Now I can add this, too. Once it happens, it’s there — they don’t take a Grammy away.”

Hendrix-Case, a 1997 Charles City High School graduate, is among the Metropolitan Opera cast which won a Grammy last week for Best Opera Recording for the 2019 performance of the Philip Glass opera “Akhnaten.” She sang the role of Sotopenre, one of the protagonist’s six daughters, in the challenging opera, which is sung mostly in Egyptian.

Hendrix-Case is currently assistant professor of voice and vocology at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Her parents, Betty and Ray Hendrix, live in Colwell.

She said she learned about the award at about the same time everyone else did.

“We knew about the nomination,” she said. “It’s funny, because all the opera recordings they put in the pre-show, with all the categories no one really cares about.”

She said the pre-show awards were available to watch streaming online before the Sunday night “Grammys” telecast, but she had forgotten about that. The main singers on the recording were in attendance to accept the award.

The award was accepted by Anthony Roth Costanzo, Zachary James, and Dísella Lárusdóttir. Among the other winners who were part of the recording were producer David Frost, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus, conductor Karen Kamensek and J’Nai Bridges.

“As soon as one of them got back to his seat after he’d won, he sent a Facebook message to everyone else in the cast,” Hendrix-Case said. “So I found out at the awards show, along with everyone else.”

Hendrix-Case had a small role in the opera, as a part of a group of six soloists who played the daughters of King Akhnaten. Each had her own line of music which they sang in unison with each other. Said she had some scene work to do, although her singing was limited to the third act of the opera.

“We were essentially a small ensemble,” she said. “We always sang together as sisters.”

Hendrix-Case will return to the Metropolitan Opera in the same role later this spring. Rehearsals start April 25.

The Metropolitan Opera is the largest classical music organization in North America. It presents more than 25 different operas each year from late September through May. Hendrix-Case said the season typically runs about the same as a school year.

She was also recently seen in the streaming premiere performance of the “Operatini” Emma’s Adventures in Zoomland with Cedar Rapids Opera Theater. The piece was commissioned by the company and written by composer Nancy Hill Cobb specifically for Hendrix-Case. She reprised the role of Emma.

Other recent credits include covering Schwertleite in “Die Walküre” for the Metropolitan Opera. In the 2017-2018 season she sang the Verdi Requiem with the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Hendrix-Case has a Bachelor’s of Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa, a Masters of Music – Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Iowa, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts – Vocal Performance from the University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory.

She has been a part of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Vienna State Opera and San Francisco Opera, among others.

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