Mezzo-Soprano Margaret O’Connell enjoys a versatile musical career in opera, contemporary music, musical theatre, oratorio, and recording.
Most recently, Margaret portrayed a “fiercely committed” Older Alyce in an acclaimed production of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied on an aircraft carrier, as part of NY OperaFest 2017. She made her Carnegie debut with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra as Ein großes Mädchen in Strauss’ Feuersnot. The following summer she sang with Maestro Botstein at the Bard Festival as Camilla in Schubert’s Die Verschworenen. Other operatic engagements include Olga in Eugene Onegin (conducted by William Hobbs), the title role in Carmen, Dulcinée in Don Quichotte, Nicklausse in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Adalgisa in Norma, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Florence in Albert Herring, Maman in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Cathleen in Riders to the Sea, Flora in La Traviata, and Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Working with Michael Ching and Dean Anthony, Margaret created the role of Margaret Krusemark in J. Mark Scearce’s Falling Angel. She also premiered excerpts from Mr. Ching’s new opera Speed Dating Tonight! at operamission, with the composer at the piano. She originated the role of Ashley opposite soprano Lauren Flanigan in Best Friends, a new opera by Deborah Drattell and Wendy Wasserstein.
Other worldpremiere roles include the Evil Stepmother in Josh Ollswang's The Juniper Tree, Grandmother in Waundell Saavedra's Sweet Dreams and the Seamstress in his Great Supper; and a Greek Elder in Michael Sirotta's new musical adaptation of Aeschylus' Agamemnon at New York's La MaMa Experimental Theatre. Margaret created the role of Emily Dickinson in I Dwell in Possibility by Miriam Raiken-Kolb, which included eight songs composed especially for her. Ms. O’Connell made her international debut in 2013 in Berlin as Giulietta in a concert of Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Alkor edition) opposite Deutsche Oper Berlin’s Scott Fennell, preparing the role with only two days' notice. One month later she appeared as the Alto Soloist with tenor Mark Tucker in Monteverdi's Marienvesper, as part of Berlin's Steglitzer Tage für Alte Musik.
In 2014 she was invited to give a concert of Berg, Ravel, and Weill as part of Munich’s Liederfreude concert series. Ms. O'Connell made her Merkin Hall debut in 2009 with Opera Slavica’s inaugural Opera Under the Tsars Festival, under the direction of William Hobbs. In 2011 she sang "Parto Parto" (La Clemenza di Tito) with musicians from the Chamber Philharmonia of New York, and was cover soloist for their performance of Das Lied von der Erde.
In November of 2014, Ms. O’Connell was invited to make her Weill Hall debut in the New York premiere of The Oracle at Delphi: The Music of Dinos Constantinides. Other premieres include Oh! The Sport of Love (a Bawdy Operetta) by prizewinning composer Lisa Heffter, Three Nudes by Jacob Goodman, and Three Poems by Gerald Busby, written especially for Margaret. Margaret has many additional concert premieres to her credit, including Six Lyrics to Poems of Marilyn Hacker by Tamara Cashour (NY Composers Circle); and Sappho Songs by Dinos Constantinides (National Association of Composers, USA). Awarded a scholarship to participate in SongFest at Pepperdine University, Ms. O'Connell worked with composers John Harbison and James Primosch, and also premiered works by Eric Chasalow, Antonio DeFeo, Dorothy Chang, and Dan Crozier.
Margaret's premiere recording of Traveling West by Randall Snyder with conductor Max Lifchitz (North/South label) was praised by Fanfare Magazine. She has recorded the roles of Lady Thiang (The King and I) and Aldonza (Man of La Mancha) for Stage Stars Records, and a Mermaid (Bernstein’s Peter Pan) for Koch International Classics. In the musical theatre arena, Ms. O’Connell has appeared as Martha in The Secret Garden and the Singer/Fiddler Jones in Spoon River Anthology. Off-Broadway credits include Young Jennie in Portrait of Jennie (with Brent Barrett) and Gabriella Winterova in Michael Slade's play Children of Terezin. She also appeared with Victor Trent Cook (Three Mo’ Tenors) in the Disney Channel musical film Starlight. Ms. O'Connell holds a Master of Music in Solo Voice from McGill University, and a Bachelor of Music in Violin and Voice Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music.