In her performance career, Penelope Shumate has been described as having a “voice with power” and a “welcome fire” on stage. The New York Times praised her recent performance as the Soprano Soloist in Messiah for her Avery Fisher Hall debut at Lincoln Center, stating she "sang the soprano solos with appealing bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness." After her Carnegie Hall debut as the Soprano Soloist in Carmina Burana, she returned to the historic venue to perform the work for a second time. Other Carnegie Hall appearances include soloist performances in Messiah, St. Nicolai Mass and Coronation Mass. Also in New York, she performed the title role of Naughty Marietta in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.
She has received critical acclaim for her many performances as Violetta in La Traviata:
“a convincing actress,” “youthful and very beautiful,” “an exquisite Violetta,” “always in control of her powerful and supple voice,” “a beautiful vocal and dramatic performance from start to finish.”
She has been equally praised for her many other roles including Musetta in La Bohème, Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte, Galatea in Acis and Galatea, and Hanna in The Merry Widow.
For the 2013-14 season, she returns to Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center as the Soprano Soloist in Carmina Burana presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York as well as appearing in a Weill Hall recital concert also presented by DCINY, which marks her ninth soloist appearance at Carnegie Hall. She debuts with the Canterbury Choral Society along with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic as well as the Rapides Symphony Orchestra as the Soprano Soloist in Carmina Burana. For her debut with the Louisiana Sinfonietta, she will sing Beethoven's "Ah! perfido," Op. 65. Recent past season performances include her debut in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center as the Soprano Soloist in Messiah for her fourth appearance with Distinguished Concerts International New York. Also, for her seventh appearance with Opera on the James, she performed the role of Adele in Die Fledermaus. Her most recent soloist debuts with orchestra include performing with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra in Carmina Burana, the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Messiah, and performing the role of Adele in Die Fledermaus with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra. Recent opera company debuts include Musetta in La Bohème with Baltimore Concert Opera, Juliette in excerpts from Roméo et Juliette with Opera Company of Philadelphia and performing as a featured artist in an Opera Gala Concert with Annapolis Opera. For her fifth soloist appearance at Carnegie Hall, Miss Shumate performed in Carmina Burana with Grammy award-winning conductor, Vance George. For Duluth Festival Opera, her fourth appearance was in the title role in Acis and Galatea. Returning to the Drexel University Chorus and Orchestra, she was the Soprano Soloist in both Elijah and Haydn’s Theresienmesse. For her second appearance with the Lynchburg College Choral Union and Orchestra, she performed as the Soprano Soloist in Messiah. Returning to ConcertOpera Philadelphia for her third appearance, she performed Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail; as well as a third appearance with the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in an Opera Gala Concert. Returning to Schola Cantorum in her home state of Virginia, she performed as the Soprano Soloist in Carmina Burana.
Other performances also include Violetta in La Traviata with both Opera on the James and Duluth Festival Opera. Also with Opera on James, she performed the role of Musetta in La Bohème and performed as a soloist in “Opera Cabaret”. Her debut with the Berkshire Choral Festival as the Soprano Soloist in Carmina Burana and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was described as “magnificent” and “effortless.” Returning to Carnegie Hall, she performed as the Soprano Soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass and in Haydn's St. Nicolai Mass. With the Baltimore Opera, she performed in a concert of Cole Porter favorites and well as two other opera concerts. In Philadelphia, she performed as the Soprano Soloist for both Bach's and Vivaldi's Magnificat with the Drexel University Chorus and Orchestra. She was also delighted to return to her hometown of Waynesboro, Virginia to perform as the Soprano Soloist in Elijah with Schola Cantorum.
A favorite of the Baltimore Opera, she has performed the roles of Esmeralda in The Bartered Bride, Lisa in La Sonnambula, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, High Priestess in Aïda, Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, and the Shepherd Boy in Tannhäuser as well as numerous opera concerts. For Opera Roanoke she has performed the roles of Galatea in Acis and Galatea, High Priestess in Aïda, Cunegonde and Gilda in excerpts of Candide and Rigoletto, and well as performing as the soloist in two other opera concerts. She also sang the role of Cunegonde in excerpts of Candide with the Drexel University Chorus and Orchestra. She performed the role of Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte and was the soloist in two opera concerts with Opera on the James. For the Duluth Festival Opera, she was featured as a soloist for “The Divine Divas of Opera” and two “Opera Cabaret” concerts. She performed the roles of Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Miss Silverpeal in The Impressario, and Don Ettore in La Canterina for ConcertOpera Philadelphia. At the Lake George Opera she performed the roles of Violetta and Donna Anna in excerpts of La Traviata and Don Giovanni. She performed the title role in Naughty Marietta and was the soloist in Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus with the Little Orchestra Society of New York. For the Jacksonville Lyric Opera, she performed Hanna in The Merry Widow. With the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, she performed the role of Violetta in La Traviata and was the Soprano Soloist for Messiah. She also performed as the soloist in Messiah with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, MidAmerica Productions, the Lynchburg College Choral Union, and the Drexel University Chorus and Orchestra. For her Carnegie Hall debut, she performed as the Soprano Soloist in Carmina Burana for MidAmerica Productions. She has performed as the Soprano Soloist in Mozart’s Requiem for Distinguished Concerts International of New York City and the Drexel University Chorus and Orchestra. With the Luzerne Music Festival, she was featured in a chamber and pops concert. She performed the Queen of the Night in excerpts from Die Zauberflöte with the Kennett Symphony Orchestra. For Rockwell Productions, she sang the role of Magnolia in Show Boat.
She was the First Place Winner in the Marie E. Crump Vocal Competition. She was also a two-time award winner in both the New Jersey Association of Versimo Opera's Vocal Competition held at Carnegie Hall as well as the MacAllister Awards. From the prestigious Gerda Lissner Foundation Awards she was given a career grant. She was also an award winner in the Annapolis Opera, Kennett Symphony Orchestra, James Parkinson Opera, the Octave Artists Management Excellence, and the Altamura/Caruso International Vocal Competitions.
Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Baltimore Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Utah Festival Opera.
Lori Bade, Elizabeth Curtis, Robert Grayson, Clarity James, Julian Kwok, Joanna Levy, Klara Meyers, Patricia O'Neill, and Loraine Sims.
Michael Borowitz, Lisa Harer de Calvo, John Douglas, James Harp, JoAnn Kulesza, Danielle Orlando, Michele Scanlon, and William Yannuzzi.
Andrew Altenbach, Dino Anagnost, Christian Badea, Victoria Bond, Michael Borowitz, Oliver von Dohnányi, John Douglas, Maureen Drumheller, Eric Ebbenga, Arthur Fagen, Eugene Fellin, Mark Flint, Vance George, James Glazebrook, Mary Woodmansee Green, Ronald Gretz, Jonathan Griffith, Tom Hall, Jong Kim, Andrew Kurtz, Robert Larsen, Andrea Licata, Matthew M. Marsit, Brent McMunn, Steven Powell, Carlos Riazuelo, Dan Rothermel, Mariusz Smolij, Markand Thakar, and Richard Weymuth.
Elizabeth Bachman, Frank Corsaro, Elizabeth Curtis, Craig Fields, William Florescu, James Harp, Werner Herzog, Amy Hutchison, Robert Larsen, Henry MacCarthy, Dugg McDonough, James McNamara, Alyce Mott, Roberto Oswald, and Federico Tiezzi.
Don Greene, Leland Kimball, Evelyn Lear, John Miller, Laurence Wasserman, and Darren Keith Woods.
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