Grammy Award-Winning Classical Singer and Hollins Alumna to Address 182nd Commencement Exercises

Grammy Award-Winning Classical Singer and Hollins Alumna to Address 182nd Commencement Exercises

Speakers, Special Events

January 22, 2024

Grammy Award-Winning Classical Singer and Hollins Alumna to Address 182nd Commencement Exercises

Hollins University’s 182nd Commencement Exercises this spring will welcome Metropolitan Opera soprano Helena Brown ‘12 as guest speaker.

The ceremony will be held Sunday, May 19, at 10 a.m. on Hollins’ historic Front Quadrangle.

Brown graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in music from Hollins, where she also studied arts management and theatre. She has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as an ensemble soloist in Porgy and Bess and can be seen on the Met HD broadcast of the production as well as on the PBS series Great Performances. Brown was part of the Met Opera Chorus that performed in Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” which won a Grammy Award in 2023 for Best Opera Recording.

Praised as having a “stunningly large round sound” and a “steely, velvety” timbre, Brown recently made her role debuts in productions at the Lincoln Center Theater and with the Miami Wagner Institute, New Camerata Opera, and the New York Harlem Theater’s European tour. Additional appearances include multiple seasons at the Glimmerglass Festival, and with Opera Roanoke, the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. She performed the actor-singer role of Mother in Bellocq’s Ophelia, written by U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey M.A. ’91, which was presented in festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Among the prestigious awards Brown has received are the Robert Lauch Award from the Wagner Society of New York; the Sergio Franchi Award in the Deborah Voight/Vero Beach Opera Competition; and second place in the Young Patronesses of the Opera/Florida Grand Opera Competition. She has also been honored with awards/grants from the Gerda Lissner Foundation, Giulio Gari Foundation, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Jensen Foundation, Cooper-Bing Competition, Opera at Florham, Opera Birmingham, Opera Ebony Benjamin Matthews, and the MetroWest Opera Vocal Competition.

For more information about Hollins’ 182nd Commencement Exercises, visit the university’s commencement webpage.