As a child growing up in Swarthmore, Annie Carruthers wanted to be a pop star like Britney Spears or the Spice Girls. Lucky for us, her tastes changed.
As a child growing up in Swarthmore, Annie Carruthers wanted to be a pop star like Britney Spears or the Spice Girls.
Lucky for us, her tastes changed as she matured, and by the time she was 16 she was singing opera. And performing, too – something opera buffs can enjoy for free on Sunday, May 21, at 3:30 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church in Flourtown, when Carruthers and pianist Benjamin D'Annibale will present “The Sacred & The Profane,” a concert featuring the works of Puccini, Barber, Strauss, Gounod, Verdi and Granados.
“Time in my church choir and solos given by our music director steered me in the direction of classical music,” said Caruthers, who recently moved to Mt. Airy from Swarthmore, where she grew up.
She has, ever since, been laser-focused on her singing career. She received her Professional Studies Graduate Diploma in 2018 at the Cleveland Institute of Music under department head Mary Schiller. She also completed her Bachelor of Music in 2016 at the University of Miami under the tutelage of department chair and assistant department chair Esther Jane Hardenbergh and Tony Boutté, respectively. According to a critique in the South Florida Classical Review, "Annie Carruthers was a hilarious neighbor with a lovely soprano timbre that suggested bigger roles may be in order."
She has studied under Juilliard faculty and Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone Kevin Short, and “I have found a beautiful mentorship with my current voice teacher, baritone Luis Ledesma, who teaches at the Academy of Vocal Arts, and I currently coach with Ting Ting Wong from The Curtis Institute of Music.”
Carruthers was a scholarship recipient in 2015 and 2017 to attend the Frost In Salzburg Operatic Voice Program held in Salzburg, Austria. There she was credited with many masterclasses, performances and most notably, singing in the opening ceremonies of the Salzburger Festspiele.
“Being part of the opening festivities of the Salzburg Festival was such an honor,” she said. “Salzburg in the summer feels like a culmination of hundreds of years of classical music, and to be a small part of that was otherworldly. Salzburg stole my heart the two summers I was there. Walking through the fields to get to rehearsals, it finally made sense why some German and Austrian composers were constantly writing about fields, flowers, mountains and streams.”
Who is Carruthers' own favorite soprano? “Jessye Norman will forever be my favorite soprano of all time,” she said. “I never get tired of listening to her recordings. Every note she sang was full of artistry and never overdone or underdone. The best quote I ever heard about her was: 'When you listen to her sing Die Nacht by Strauss, you can see every star in the night sky’.”
Carruthers said she loves her new neighborhood and looks forward to exploring all it has to offer.
“It’s so beautiful here, and the number of churches with amazing music programs was the biggest draw,” she said. “Plus, I’m in proximity to so many good shops and restaurants.”
It’s also a great place to pursue her professional goals.
“ I’d love to someday be able to sing the title roles of Turandot and Salomé on an 'A House' stage. The Met would, of course, be nice,” she said, adding that she’d “be surprised by where my career takes me and thankful for wherever that is.”
Carruthers’ accompanist, D’Annibale, is a local pianist, early keyboardist and graduate of the University of Music Freiburg in Germany (Masters of Music, harpsichord) and Temple University (B.M. In Piano Performance).
The First Presbyterian Church is located at 1710 Bethlehem Pike. For more information, visit flourtownpres.org or anniecarrutherssoprano.com (where you can see and hear Carruthers perform sacred music). Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org