With her versatility and a voice that has been described as “rich and dusky, but so beautifully clear and expressive,” Saskatchewan native Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber has established an active career as a mezzo/contralto in both concert and operatic repertoire. As a concert artist, she has appeared in prestigious concert spaces across the world, including Carnegie Hall (Mozart Requiem), Avery Fisher Hall (Duruflé Requiem), Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Andrew T. Miller's The Birth of Christ),and Cemal Resit Rey Hall in Istanbul, Turkey (Adnan Saygun's Yunus Emre). Her engagements include performances with the New York City Chamber Orchestra, Altoona Symphony, Nittany Valley Symphony, the Presidential Orchestra of Turkey, the Cemal Resit Rey Orchestra, Susquehanna Valley Chorale, Harford Choral Society, and The Bach Concert Series of Baltimore. She most recently appeared with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra in Berlioz's Les Nuits d'Ete, and with the Regina Symphony Orchestra as the alto soloist in the Beethoven Ninth Symphony.
Ms. Cutsforth-Huber is equally at home with contralto and mezzo-soprano operatic roles; in the 2015/2016 season, she appeared with Amici Opera as La Cieca in La Gioconda, Azucena in Il Trovatore, and with Centre Stage Opera as Siebel and Marthe in Faust . In 2017, she also appeared as Beppe in Mascagni's L'Amico Fritz. Other notable roles include Dalila in Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila with Amici Opera, Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Rome Festival Opera, Isabella in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri with Center Stage Opera, Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Amalfi Festival Opera, and Carmen in Bizet's Carmen with Rome Festival Opera and Amici Opera.
Ms. Cutsforth-Huber’s interests also extend to new works. She was the mezzo soloist in the world premiere of Robert Cohen's Alzheimer’s Stories with the Susquehanna Valley Chorale. She also premiered the song cycle Something So Necessary, So Realfor contralto, piano and chamber orchestra by Timothy Melbinger. In recital, she premiered a five-song concert set, Saskatchewan Songs, in which poetry written by the singer is set to music by Kingston, Ontario composer Martha Hill Duncan, and also sang the United States premiere of Triptych, a song cycle for mezzo soprano, piano, and alto saxophone by Canadian composer Lloyd Burritt.
Ms. Cutsforth-Huber is also an active scholar and teacher. She has published book reviews and articles on vocal and operatic subjects in many scholarly journals, including The Opera Journal, American Music, Music Research Forum, The Choral Journal, The Journal of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and Classical Singer Magazine. Her work has garnered her several awards, including the National Opera Association Outstanding Dissertation Award for her dissertation, “The Operas of William Grant Still." She has served on the Board of Directors for the National Opera Association, and was also the editor of its scholarly journal, The Opera Journal from 2011 to 2016. Ms. Cutsforth-Huber has also been recognized by the National Association of Teachers of Singing, having received its prestigious Emerging Leaders Award.
Another area of focus that is dear to the singer's heart are those, particularly singers, who suffer from Chiari Malformation - a congenital and potentially fatal defect of the brain and spinal cord. An advanced form of the disease was discovered in the singer in 2007, and against many odds, she has been able to overcome the condition and continue with her career.
Ms. Cutsforth-Huber holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master’s degree in vocal performance from Southern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Kentucky. She currently serves as associate professor of music at Penn State Altoona.
© Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber