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Jennifer Rivera
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Jennifer Rivera has earned herself a spot as an important American mezzo soprano, and has been heard in opera houses throughout the United States and Europe. She began her career by spending eight seasons at the New York City Opera after being selected as their “Debut Artist of the Year”, and went on to debut in Italy at the Teatro Regio di Torino, in Germany at the Berlin Staatsoper and in Austria at the Innsbruck Festival for Alte Musik to name a few. She can be heard as Nerone on the Harmonia Mundi recording of Agrippina conducted by Rene Jacobs, and on the Sony Music recording of Pergolesi’s L’Olimpiade conducted by Alessandro DeMarchi. Her blog, Trying to Remain Operational, which has been written about in the Los Angeles Times and The Daily Beast, was selected as the winner in the “Best Arts Blogger in North America Competition” held by the Spring for Music Festival.

She can be found on twitter @jjennymr, blogging at, or at her professional website She resides in New York City with her husband Michael Rice (the creator and moderator of the OperaNow! Podcast), their son Jackson, and their cat Max.

Entries by Jennifer Rivera

10 Practical Pieces of Advice for Aspiring Opera Singers

(4) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 10:19 PM

I recently decided to open a studio of sorts in New York City in order to assist young singers with artistic presentation and strategic career planning. The endeavor made me start to consider what I think young singers should really know about and focus on when they are...

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Why This Opera Singer Took a Non Singing Job at an Opera Company

(5) Comments | Posted June 10, 2015 | 11:22 AM

Some people dream of becoming famous, or winning the lottery, or becoming a size 2 just in time for their high school reunion. Some people dream about becoming an opera singer and traveling all around the world, singing in historical theaters and sipping cappucinos in piazzas and hefeweizen in beer...

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R.B. Schlather's Handel Installation Art, and Why You Should Be Paying Attention

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2015 | 10:49 PM

One of my first jobs after graduating music school was a production of Cosi Fan Tutte with Eugene Opera. As is typical with regional opera companies who rent performance venues, rehearsal space is always an issue. In this case, the company had rented an unused storefront with glass windows all...

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A Plea for an Unbalanced Season (If It Means More World Premieres)

(2) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 11:23 AM

I was startled when I read an article written by the music critic of the Dallas Morning News, Scott Cantrell, criticizing both Dallas Opera and Fort Worth Opera Festival for an "unbalanced" season with too many world premieres and not enough standard/existing repertoire.

What's wrong with wanting...

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Can artists Procreate Without Going Bankrupt?

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 10:06 PM

I'm a member of two different Facebook groups that have frequent postings; one of them is a group for moms, many of whom also happen to be artists. The other one is a forum for classical singers, a few of whom happen to be parents. There isn't a lot of...

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An Interview With the Man Now in Charge of Reviving New York City Opera

(2) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 12:32 PM

On Friday, an article in the New York Times announced that the Board of the currently defunct New York City Opera had decided to sell its remaining assets to one of the various investor groups that had been vying for the right to revive the company. Working under...

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How to Fix an Opera Company Before It's Broken -- Big Changes at Portland Opera

(4) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 11:30 AM

In the opera world, it seems like it's always the bad news that makes the headlines. While there is certainly plenty of good news from the fleet of new, lithe opera companies cropping up, we still continue to see headlines that make us worry for the financial future of this...

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Are We Entering the Golden Age of Opera... Marketing?

(5) Comments | Posted November 4, 2014 | 5:20 AM

Some people say opera is dying. Others say it's experiencing a kind of rebirth. I'm in the latter camp, as I mentioned in my most recent articles about the burgeoning of exciting new opera companies in the United States during the past 10 years.

But another aspect of the...

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The Rumors of Opera's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (Pt. 2)

(7) Comments | Posted October 7, 2014 | 10:17 AM

A couple of weeks ago while I was admiring all the work The Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago has been doing, I was simultaneously following another project that I found especially intriguing and that I was frankly a little jealous not to have been a part of myself....

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The Rumors of Opera's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (Pt. 1)

(3) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 12:36 PM

I first started ruminating on the idea for this post a couple of weeks ago when I was reading some glowing reviews for The Collaborative Works Festival in Chicago. The Collaborative Arts Institute was founded three years ago by three musicians: two of whom, Nicholas Phan and Shannon...

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10 Things About Having an Opera Career That You Don't Learn in School

(11) Comments | Posted July 16, 2014 | 10:22 AM

So you have a bachelors and a masters degree in... opera singing. Congratulations! According to about 85% of the population, you may as well have an advanced degree in underwater basket weaving. Now that you've done your upteenth young artist training program, it's time to venture out into the big...

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What Do Opera Singers Actually Get Paid?

(61) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 9:46 AM

There has been a lot of union activity lately in the opera world, and numbers have been thrown around in the press which have caused many an ear to perk up. I always knew that singing in the chorus at the Metropolitan Opera was a lucrative job compared to a...

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The Intersection of Murder, Art, and Opera

(3) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 10:38 AM

I have been reading with interest the many articles and comments about the controversial decision by Peter Gelb of the Metropolitan Opera to cancel the worldwide simulcast of John Adams' opera The Death of Klinghoffer because of pressure from the Anti-Defamation League regarding their concern about antisemitism worldwide....

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Postscript: Opera Criticism in a Modern World

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 12:54 PM

I know, the topic is so exhausted by now that even a triple espresso flavored Red Bull couldn't revive it. But after I had three different international news outlets contact me, a random mezzo on the Upper West Side who was busy studying music and changing diapers, and ask me...

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Motherhood, Stress and Opera Singing

(2) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 4:56 PM

So last night, after putting my kid to bed, I finally had a chance to look at the internet, and discovered the firestorm surrounding the press for Glyndebourne's production of Rosenkavalier. Most of the anger was directed at the fact that several critics mentioned the build of the Octavian, and...

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Shouldn't You Be Skinnier? (and Other Opera Singer Rubbish)

(1) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 11:10 AM

Okay, I admit it, I only seem to find time to blog when something really gets under my skin. And right now, my fingers are a burnin' while my post pregnancy muffin top is spilling over. I'm a bit late to the game -- I've been out of the loop...

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Opera in America: Is it Circling the Toilet?

(12) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 12:35 PM

Man, it has been a rough couple of years for regional opera companies. My husband hosts an opera podcast on which he has had to add a segment called "The Weekly Dirge" where they discuss which opera company has bitten the dust that week. Opera Pacific, Cleveland Opera,...

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The Operatic National Anthem -- Now What?

(2) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 3:09 PM

Last week, despite the fact that I'm in the middle of rehearsing a show in Omaha with my one-year-old son tugging on my leg in between rehearsals, I couldn't help but write a blog post about the hullabaloo surrounding the very first opera singer to sing the National...

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5 Things You Need to Know About Opera Before This Super Bowl

(69) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 2:53 PM

Some people seem to have a problem with the fact that there's an opera singer singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. People like this guy, (who's he?) and this guy, who calls himself a reporter and should know better. So here are several pieces...

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Giving Money to the Arts Does Not Make You Evil

(9) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 5:48 PM

There is an article that was published on circulating the internet which is titled "Do Not Give a Dollar to the Opera". The article states that in a world of finite resources, there are more deserving charities than an arts organization, and that by giving money to...

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