Marjorie Hopson Vance

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Marjorie Hopson Vance is a member of the Class of 1961 at George P. Phenix High School.  

This accomplished singer has performed around the world. Upon graduating from Phenix, she received a scholarship to attend the Cincinnati Conservatory. Ms. Vance, however, decided to attend Hampton Institute (Hampton University) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and a Minor in Music.  

While at Hampton Institute she had the very good fortune to study under Dr. Henry Switten, a fantastic voice teacher. Dr. Switten helped to develop her untrained voice, giving her a vocal technique so secure that she was able to sing some of the most difficult arias written for a lyric-coloratura soprano.

After graduating from Hampton Institute in 1965, Ms. Vance moved to New York City and studied voice with Carolina Segrera and Edward Boatner. Subsequently, she auditioned for and received a one year contract with a touring company in Switzerland to sing Bess and Clara in “Porgy and Bess.” She moved to the Vienna State Opera House in Vienna, Austria, where she was the first African-American permanent soloist in the ensemble of the Vienna State Opera House.

Ms. Vance sang professionally for three decades in Austria and in Germany, performing with such world famous conductors as Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Herbert von Karajan, Karl Boehm, Daniel Barenboim, and Claudio Abbado. Among the world famous singers with which she performed were Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Simon Estes, Thomas Hampson, and Edita Gruberova.  Also, she attended the Vienna Conservatory of Music for opera and studied voice with Hilde Gueden and Hilde Zadek.

Ms. Vance was the winner of the International Opera Competition in Vienna, Austria, as well as the winner of the Mozart Prize at the Concours International de Chant de Paris (France). 

Among her recordings are: Vivaldi’s “Serenata a tre;” soundtrack of the movie “Moliere;” Great Baroque Masters;  Krenek’s opera “Karl V;” Richard Strauss’ operas “Frau Ohne Schatten” and “Ariadne auf Naxos;” Bizet’s “Carmen;” and the Unitel film ”Electra.” 

Copyright 2016, George P. Phenix High School.