Photographed by Michiko Saiki. Cover photo by Isaiah Vazquez.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Hillary LaBonte has performed exciting new works across the country, from chamber works and art song to opera.
Last year, she completed her Doctorate in Contemporary Performance at Bowling Green State University, in the studios of Dr. Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers and Ms. Myra Merritt. Her thesis, Analyzing Gender Inequality in Contemporary Opera, examined the factors that can influence gender representation in operatic casts.
In the 2018-2019 season, Hillary produced a short tour of Kate Soper's Here Be Sirens, performing the role of Polyxo. She appeared as Juno in Handel's Semele at BGSU and joined the professional choir at St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Hillary won First Place in the inaugural New Voices Essay Contest, writing about gender representation in opera.
In April of 2018, she sang the title role in Kaija Saariaho’s monodrama Émilie at Bowling Green State University. In March 2018, Hillary sang the world premiere of Sean Doyle’s Tenebrae with the BGSU New Music Ensemble and appeared as Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte at BGSU.
Highlights from the 2016-2017 season include the US premiere of Benjamin Attahir’s Nouvelle sous ecstasy at the New Music Gathering, appearing as a soloist with the BGSU Wind Ensemble on John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man, singing the role of Emma Jones in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene with the BGSU Opera Theatre, and performing Dai Fujikura’s being as one at the BGSU New Music Festival. In April 2017, Hillary won 3rd Place in the Graduate Division of the Conrad Art Song Competition with pianist Zach Nyce.
Hillary appeared on the MACCM New Music Festival, in the Michigan Opera Theatre chorus, and on the EAR | EYE concert series at the Toledo Museum of Art during the 2015-2016 season. In spring 2016, she won 2nd Place in her category at the NATS Ohio Chapter Student Auditions and sang the role of the Faithful Seductress in Amy Beth Kirsten’s Ophelia Forever at BGSU.
Hillary is one half of Duo Rossignol with flutist Dr. Mary Matthews. Together, they have been featured guest artists at Baldwin Wallace University, Peabody Conservatory, and the Baltimore War Memorial. Most recently, Duo Rossignol performed Kate Soper’s Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder, Colorado.
Hillary received her Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from the Peabody Conservatory and her Bachelor’s Degree in Voice Performance at Baldwin Wallace University. In 2010, she received the Phyllis Bryn-Julson Award for the Commitment to and Performance of 20th/21st Century Music.
hillary (dot) labonte (at) gmail (dot) com