The American soprano, Anne-Carolyn Bird, received her Masters Degree cum laude from New England Conservatory, where she was a student of acclaimed mezzo-soprano D'Anna Fortunato. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia. She has been a recipient of grants and awards from many organizations, including the Santa Fe Opera, the Oratorio Society of New York, and in 2003 was winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Western Washington distric. Twice a Young Artist with the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers and twice a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, she received a 2008 Sullivan Foundation Award.
Anne-Carolyn Bird is rapidly gaining attention by major companies in her young career. She received rave reviews in 2004 for her performance of Tytania in TMC’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directed by David Kneuss and conducted by Stefan Asbury, she was described by the Boston Globe as “glamorously luminescent in Tytania’s coloratura” and hailed as “superior” by The New York Times. At Tanglewood in 2003, she participated in the world premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s opera Ainadamar, in which she sang the role of the Bullfighter and danced the featured role of the Horseman. She re-created both roles when the opera made its West Coast premiere with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
Rapidly becoming a sought-after performer of new music, Anne-Carolyn Bird has collaborations in the works with Linda Lister, Marcin Bela, and Augusta Read Thomas. In April 2005, she performed Thomas’s In My Sky at Twilight with the contemporary ensemble Alarm Will Sound. Working with Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, she has performed works of Lukas Foss and Bernard Rands, and is featured on BMOP’s recording of Foss’s opera Griffelkin, available on Chandos records.
Concert engagements in the 2004-2005 season include a concert of coloratura arias with the Port Angeles Symphony and J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245) with Seattle Chamber Singers & Orchestra Seattle. Last spring (2004), she joined members of the Tudor Choir to sing J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 182 and the motet Komm, Jesu komm (BWV 227) as part of 4th annual Seattle Bach Marathon at Town Hall. Past oratorio credits include Orff’s Carmina Burana, W.A. Mozart's Vesperes Solemnes, Requiems by Johannes Brahms and Gabriel Fauré, J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and Cantatas BWV 51, BWV 202, and BWV 209. Her operatic repertoire includes Marie in La fille du Regiment, Adina in L'eslisir d'amore, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, and Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring. She has also performed the roles of Poppea in adaptations of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina.
In the spring of 2004, Puget Sound elementary schools saw Anne-Carolyn Bird on tour as Olympia in an adaptation of The Tales of Hoffmann. In 2005, she sang Cupid in John Blow’s Venus & Adonis with the Seattle Early Music Guild and will debut as the Queen of the Night in Skagit Opera’s The Magic Flute. Awards and honors include first prize in the Ladies Musical Club (LMC) of Seattle Competition and Tour, the Sun Valley Opera Vocal Competition, and a grant from the Mary Levine Performance Foundation. An active recitalist, she was sponsored by the LMC on a recital tour of Washington state, and VocalArts Northwest presented her in recital in March of 2004. She has two song recitals planned for the 2004-2005 season.
Anne-Carolyn Bird made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2006-2007 season, singing two roles in a new production of Il Trittico, and then returned in the 2007-2008 season to sing Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro. Also that season she performed Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Grand Rapids and Rosina in Dayton Opera’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In the summer of 2008, she returned to Wolf Trap Opera to perform Cunegonde in Candide with the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Lord and starring Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander as Pangloss.
Anne-Carolyn Bird opened the 2008-2009 season with two role and company debuts: Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Nashville Opera and Yum-Yum in The Mikado at Arizona Opera. Completing the season, she performed at Opera Carolina as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. as Camille in Louise and soprano soloist in W.A. Mozart’s Requiem. Three recital collaborations with pianist Jocelyn Dueck rounded out the season, including one at her alma mater, the University of Georgia. During the summer 2009, she reprised the role of Yum-Yum in the Mikado at Opera New Jersey.
In the 2009-2010 season and beyond, engagements include role debuts as Micäela in Carmen at Opera Carolina, Marguerite in Faust at Dayton Opera, Inspector from Rome at the Wolf Trap Opera, as well as a return the Nashville Opera as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and a return to the MET for Le Nozze di Figaro, Il Trittico and Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos. In concert, she will perform Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu with Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music, and an All-American concert at Merkin Hall with New York Festival of Song.
Recent concert appearances include A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Cleveland Orchestra, “An Evening of Musical Shakespeare” with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, both conducted by Nicholas McGegan, and her Carnegie Hall debut in Evan Chamber’s oratorio The Old Burying Ground. Past performance highlights include Celia in John Musto’s comedic masterpiece Volpone at Wolf Trap Opera, G.F. Handel’s Messiah and J.S. Bach’s Magnificat (BWV 243) with Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Noémie in Laurent Pelly’s highly-acclaimed production of Cendrillon at Santa Fe Opera. She has been seen in staged and concert versions of Osvaldo Golijov’s opera Ainadamar and can be heard on the Grammy award-winning recording. In 2006, she toured internationally with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to perform Golijov’s La Pasion de segun San Marcos (“luminous” - The New York Times).
The Bhakti Project, Anne-Carolyn Bird’s on-going recital project with Ms. Dueck, included a recent world premiere: Hillula by Judd Greenstein. Steve Smith from Time Out New York wrote of the performance: “Bird proved herself a singer capable of ... getting under the skin of a piece, touching its inner passions and revealing them to a listener.” She reprised Hillula with the Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO as part of the Archipelago music series in the fall 2009.
Anne-Carolyn Bird lives in Brooklyn with her husband, bass-baritone Matthew Burns. Previously she lived in Seattle, where she trained with Vinson Cole and Dean Williamson and is a member of the musicians' collective Northwest Artists.