Visiting Assistant Professor, Theatre Arts
Certificate in Opera Performance, Boston University; M.M., University of Illinois; B.M.E.
Lyric soprano, Saundra DeAthos, began her work at Illinois Wesleyan University as an Adjunct Professor of Voice for Music Theater in the fall of 2005. In 2008, her position changed to Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice for Music Theater. In addition to teaching private voice and repertoire class, her responsibilities include coordinating the musical activities for the department and music directing/conducting the mainstage productions. The productions that she has worked on have been Working, The Winter of the Fall and she conducted Of Thee I Sing.
In addition to teaching, Saundra continues to be an active performer in opera. She has been heralded for the remarkable quality of both her vocal and dramatic presentations. Excelling in a varied and broad repertoire, she began her career in the Merola Opera Program and as an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera. Flourishing in the spotlight, Saundra claimed principal assignments with the San Francisco Opera in Alcina, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Cunning Little Vixen, La Cenerentola, Die Entführung auf dem Serail, La Finta Giardiniera, and Così Fan Tutte on tour with Western Opera Theater.
Of her San Francisco Opera performances, OPERA Magazine admired, "Saundra DeAthos imparted vulnerability and an elegant soprano.” Accordingly, the San Francisco Chronicle noted, "Saundra DeAthos delivered a virtuosic performance… a real charmer of a soprano, (she) made one love the character." The San Francisco Classical Voice confirmed, “Saundra DeAthos nailed all of (her) coloratura flights and showed perfect timing in broad physical comedy."
Ms. DeAthos has graced the stages of many outstanding opera companies across the United States, such as San Francisco Opera, Western Opera Theater, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Virginia Opera, Eugene Opera, Sacramento Opera, Opera North, Opera Illinois, and West Bay Opera among others. Admired especially for her Mozart interpretations, the Boston Globe observed, “Saundra DeAthos was a feisty presence as Zerlina" and as Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito, Saundra "was particularly sweet-toned and elegant.” While her entry into opera focused largely on the operas of Mozart, highlights of her recent repertoire include her acclaimed portrayal of the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Marguerite in Faust, Gilda in Rigoletto, Mimì and Musetta in La Bohème, Micaela in Carmen, and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel.
In addition to her operatic activities, Ms. DeAthos performs regularly with symphony orchestras throughout the United States including the San Francisco Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Helena Symphony, Fresno Symphony Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Saundra offers a considerable concert repertoire that encompasses Handel’s Messiah and Jeptha, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Dvořák's Te Deum, and the Brahms Ein Deutches Requiem.
Ms. DeAthos holds a BM in Music Education from Central Michigan University, an M.M. from University of Illinois, and is a graduate of the Opera Institute at Boston University.