Soprano Clarissa Lyons attended the 2017 Opera News Awards as a guest, representing the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
We saw Clarissa during the event and she was beaming. She looked stunning and she was just enjoying and absorbing every inch of magic happening around her. She attended the event with some of her colleagues and when they all entered the room they brought in a wave of exciting fresh energy with them. The spotlight was suddenly on them, as they chatted, took press photos (and selfies!) with the big opera stars. They all looked at home in this glamorous environment. It was exciting to watch and to think that in the future they might be the ones being honored.

Clarissa was kind enough to talk to 360° of Opera following the event and here are the highlights from our conversation:

360° of Opera: Was it your first time at the Opera News Awards? What did you expect from them?

Clarissa Lyons: Yes! It was my first time! I expected seeing artists who I respect and admire, but I did not expect the complete shock of seeing such greats as Kiri Te Kanawa, Frederica von Stade, Elina Garanča, and Renée Fleming all in the same room.

360° of Opera: Do you aspire to be an honoree one day? What would this award mean to you?

Clarissa Lyons: I would love to be an honoree some day! I think the Opera News Awards are a reflection of the resonance performers and creators have with our beloved audience base. With each of the honorees this year, I felt as though their work was a culmination of determination, patience, and brilliance, and it would be overwhelming to be honored in such a way down the line.

360° of Opera: The honorees gave stellar speeches throughout the night. But Christine Goerke and Matthew Polenzani had special shoutouts to young artists like yourself. How did that feel?

Clarissa Lyons: We had the chance to speak with Matthew and Christine before the speeches began, and they were so sincerely interested in how we were developing. Since Christine is a Lindemann alumna and Matthew grew from comprimario roles that we are currently singing at the Met, they have literally been where we are. I felt so moved that they would both mention us; it gave me more motivation to continue to pour in the love and work that allows me to perform. Both artists are incredibly professional, hardworking performers, and it cemented how giving and supportive you can be no matter where you are in your career.

360° of Opera: How did you decide what to wear for an event like this?

Clarissa Lyons: Based on photos from previous years, I knew guests generally dressed to the nines and there could be photos, so I was a bit nervous! I went with a dress that I thought would photograph well, but that would also be comfortable since we would be sitting for a good portion of the evening.

Clarissa seemed especially excited to hang out with Broadway star Kelli O’Hara, who joins The Metropolitan Opera next season as Despina in Così fan tutte. As for Clarissa, she will be performing Sylviane in The Merry Widow this coming winter at The Metropolitan Opera, among other exciting performances. We wish Clarissa the best and cannot wait to see her continued progress towards a long and successful career.