Alumna Shines as an Opera Star

Hailed by The New York Times as “bright, active, and fastidiously musical,” and by Opera News as having “a golden sound,” Sarah Jane McMahon ’02 is recognized for her “beautiful vocal sophistication” and “sparkling stage presence.” Recently, McMahon sang a Gala concert opposite Placido Domingo on his newly dedicated stage in New Orleans, and made her debut at the Wiener Konzert Haus and Bremen’s Die Glocke in their concert productions of Candide. A frequent guest artist at New York City Opera, she performed Mabel in their new production of The Pirates of Penzance and was described by The New York Times as “the most polished and flexible singer in the cast” and “a deft comic actress.” She also received their coveted Kolozsvar Award for her performances as Galatea in Handel’s Acis and Galatea, and was lauded for her “silvery-voiced soprano” and “real star presence” in Purcell’s King Arthur.

This summer, McMahon performed Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Des Moines Metro Opera and was lauded as “the standout among the fine cast of singer/actors, whose agile voice and delightfully pert acting culminated in the evening’s most radiant singing.” August marked her first performances as Violetta in La Traviata with Opera Theater of Connecticut for which the reviewers wrote, “Her voice – pure and vibrant and full of nuances and the kind of seamless intensity not usually seen north of the Met – was remarkable not only because every aria became an ode to an emerging star, but because it underlined something she does even better than she sings: her ability to literally become the woman she is portraying. When McMahon came to the stage front, the audience leaped to its collective feet, shouting and screaming and clapping, the tears hot in their eyes. For the night belonged to her.”

A summa cum laude graduate of Loyola University New Orleans, and Yale University, upcoming engagements include Mabel in Pirates of Penzance with Arizona Opera, Pamina in Die Zauberflote with the New Orleans Opera, Josephine in HMS Pinafore with both the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and San Antonio Opera, Candide with the Munich Philharmonic, and Micaela in Carmen with the Santo Domingo Festival in the Dominican Republic.

Selected by Maestro Placido Domingo to join the Los Angeles Opera, she sang with the celebrated tenor as the Fifth Flower Maiden in Parsifal. Other roles with that company include Naiad in Ariadne auf Naxos and The Milliner in Der Rosenkavalier. McMahon also has performed with Michigan Opera Theatre, Virginia Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, Opera Grand Rapids, Washington Concert Opera, Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, Mississippi Opera, Piedmont Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Bard SummerScape Festival.

McMahon has recorded the title role in the premiere recording of Emmerich Kalman's Sari, available on Albany Records. She also has an album of sacred music dedicated to New Orleans and the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, as well as a newly released and Grammy nominated Christmas album, Night of Silence.

“I loved my four years at Loyola. I’m singing opera because of Philip Frohnmayer (my first and still current voice teacher at Loyola), David Morelock (my first opera director at Loyola), and Carol Rausch (my first operatic coach and conductor at Loyola). I couldn’t have been more fortunate to have the wonderful teachers I had in my early years of singing opera. It has shaped my career today, and I will forever be grateful for their support, encouragement, and expertise. And best of all, I was able to receive this excellent education in a Catholic environment.”

For more information, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (800) 798-ALUM, (504) 861-5454, or