French-American soprano, Sandra Hamaoui, has been praised for her “homogenous and flexible voice of fine velvet” in addition to her “musicality and finesse of expression” (El Pais Uruguay). Described as “heartfelt” and “prodigious” (Voce di Meche), her true talent lies not just in her effortless vocal technique and musicality, but also in her ability to fully captivate her audience.
As a member of the ensemble, Ms. Hamaoui makes several notable role debuts at Opernhaus Zürich from 2021 to 2023: as Gilda in Rigoletto, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Constance in a new production of Les Dialogues des Carmèlites, and Nanetta in Falstaff under the baton of music director Gianandrea Noseda. She also makes her debut in the title role of Romeo et Juliette with l’Orchestre de Chambre de Genève. The 2020/21 season, unfortunately cancelled due to COVID, was to bring Sophie in Werther and Alice in the world premiere of Alice in Wonderland (postponed to 2022/23). In June 2021, Ms. Hamaoui made her debut at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées as Lisa in La Sonnambula under the directions of Rolando Villazon and Ricardo Frizza.
Prior to her appointment as an ensemble member, Ms. Hamaoui collaborated several times with Opernhaus Zürich, first debuting as Gretel in Robert Carsen's new production of Hänsel und Gretel under the batons of Fabio Luisi and Markus Poschner and then later reprising her successful interpretation. Previously, at 24-years-old, Ms. Hamaoui joined the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where she sang the roles of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Ninette in L'amour des trois oranges, among many others.
Ms. Hamaoui has also performed as the title character in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette with the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute and as Adina in L'elisir d'amore with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at the Kennedy Center. Additionally, Ms. Hamaoui is an avid recitalist: she has given solo recitals everywhere from New York City with the Art Song Preservation Society to Montevideo, Uruguay with La Escena Vocal.
The recipient of numerous awards, Ms. Hamaoui was a National Semi-Finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and first place winner in the New England Regional Finals; she has also been awarded Top Prize, Audience Favorite, and the Irene Patti Memorial Award from Florida Grand Opera's Young Patronesses of The Opera Competition; a Major Award from the Opera Index Vocal Competition; Top Prize and study grant from the Career Bridges Foundation; First Prize in the Mary Trueman Competition (Art Song Preservation Society of New York); First prize in the West Bay Opera League Competition; and Audience Favorite in the James Toland Vocal Competition. Additionally, she was the recipient of scholarships from Fondation des Treilles, The Opera Foundation, The Schuyler Foundation, and the Henry & Maria Holt Memorial Fund,
Her Bachelor of Music degree was completed at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2015. Prior, she attended the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College Division. She is fluent in English, French, Italian, and Spanish, and she speaks conversational German. Outside the theater, Ms. Hamaoui enjoys traveling to unconventional places, roaming in art museums and galleries, tasting unique cuisines, dancing ballet, and hiking outdoors.
EL PAIS URUGUAY
"Hamaoui possesses a homogenous and flexible voice of fine velvet. In her singing everything is of musicality and finesse of expression; her versatility makes it so that all of the different styles she presented were approached with solvency... We must emphasize that in addition to her musical talents, Hamaoui possesses sympathy and humility - qualities very difficult to encounter in artists of her hierarchy."
"This oratorio is equally the occasion to discover two young singers, starting with the soprano Sandra Hamaoui, who’s timbre possesses a certain smoothness with a direct and sure projection. Her first appearance expresses with conviction the pains of Mary... (In Mendelssohn’s Sommernachtstraum) the Chorus of the Elf’s is a new occasion to appreciate the women of the chorus and the beautiful, velvety voice of Sandra Hamaoui."
"Sandra Hamaoui sings and plays at a high level. (She) always offers exactly what the respective style demands. Above all, (her first aria) is so vulnerable that one almost does not recognize her voice in the next aria."
VOCE DI MECHE
"Her well-focused voice was under fine dynamic control and the heartfelt communication of longing entranced us. We were so drawn in that we forgot where we were!"
"Sandra's clear-voiced instrument was employed with great artistry and adept vocal coloration. Her prodigious acting skills gave us a totally believable teenager, motivated by youthful hormones, abetted by adolescent recklessness. Her flawless French made every word understood."
"She and Gounod are perfect together. Her generous soprano flows freely and evenly from upper to lower register and was full of adolescent enthusiasm. Ms. Hamaoui’s beguiling coloratura was symbolic of Juliette’s awakening. The exuberance of her presentation and some powerful outbursts at the finale, made for a joyful Juliette with a newly minted inner core of love and strength."
"Her soprano voice is fruitful and flies away with assurance in the vocalizes that (the composer) has destined her."
Debuting Gilda in this revival, her high soprano was very well suited to the part, and her girlish physique enlivened the bratty teenager which Gürbaca imagines Rigoletto’s daughter… She gave a very good rendition of “Caro nome”.
Adieu, notre petite table; En fermant les yeux; Final Scene
from Manon by Jules Massenet
Del Cabello Más Sutil
by Fernando Obradors
Eccomi in lieta vesta... O quante volte
from I Capuleti e i Montecchi by Vincenzo Bellini
Sophie's Aria (Presentation of the Rose)
from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss