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Clarity James - Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumna
Bachelor of Music - 1964
It was an experience at UW during Clarity
James's sophomore year that started her on an international career as an
opera star: "When I saw my first live opera, presented by the Goldovsky
Opera Company, I knew immediately that this unique and wonderful art
form would become something very special in my life."
A few years later, as a young mezzo-soprano in New York, one of her first jobs was with the Goldovsky company. "Mr. Goldovsky was quite amazed at what his Wyoming tour had produced!" she says. After graduating from UW, James went on to study music at the University of Indiana. Then she began an international career, singing in the great opera houses of America and Europe. She made her Vienna Staatsoper debut in Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place as "Mrs. Doc," a role she created in that opera's world premiere in Houston. She has performed many times with the Santa Fe Opera, the Seattle Opera, the Dallas Opera, and with the National Symphony and the Boston Symphony, to name just a few. Reviewers have called her performances "riveting" and "breathtaking." Typical is this review from the Houston Chronicle: "The gripping performance of the evening belonged to Clarity James. Her clear, lusty high register soared effortlessly to the last balcony row." Among her several recordings are: Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place, Thea Musgrave's A Christmas Carol, and two Jack Beeson operas, Sweet Bye and Bye and Captain Jinks of the Horse Marine. James currently combines her operatic career with teaching on the music faculty at Radford University, Virginia. She has been the recipient of a Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, a Metropolitan Opera Association grant, the Lillian Garabedian Award, and a Corbett Foundation Award.