Michèle Crider, one of the world’s preeminent sopranos, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa during the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 12.
Crider was born in Quincy, Illinois, one of 10 children, and is a first-generation college student. She received her Bachelor of Music degree at Culver Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, and came to the UI in the fall of 1985 to pursue her master’s degree. While at the UI, she studied under renowned operatic bass-baritone Simon Estes, as well as John Van Cura, and performed her first opera role.
She made her American operatic debut in the title role of Verdi’s Aida in San Diego in 1996, and soon after debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Madame Butterfly and at San Francisco Opera as Aida.
During her long career, Crider has garnered particular acclaim as an interpreter of Verdi. She has maintained a relationship with the UI, returning for master classes and performances over the years, most recently in 2016 as a soloist during the UI Symphony Orchestra’s inaugural performance in the new Hancher Auditorium.
In addition to an active singing career, Crider is on the faculty as professor of solo voice at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.
Crider says returning to Iowa City to receive the honorary degree during spring commencement, when thousands of students are about to embark on new adventures, is thrilling.
“My memories of the University of Iowa are of great fondness: my first operas, learning under wonderful faculty, and so many friends,” Crider says. “I am so thankful to have this supportive and loving extended family in Iowa City, many of whom have followed my journey throughout my long career as an opera singer. I will always cherish the time at the university and would like to thank the University of Iowa for allowing me to fulfill another dream.”
Although many aspire to it, only a handful of sopranos can claim the long-term success and international reputation that Crider has achieved, Christine Getz, UI associate dean for graduate education and the arts, says in her nomination letter.
“Yet despite her many achievements, Miss Crider has not forgotten her Midwestern roots and her early connection to the University of Iowa...The warmth, artistry, and professionalism she has modeled for our Iowa students is representative of the core values shared not only by members of the University of Iowa community, but also by the international music community at large,” Getz says.