The American mezzo-soprano and music pedagogue, Laura Brooks Rice, earned her Bachelor of Music degree in voice performance from Georgia Southern University in 1977, and her Master of Music degree in voice performance from Indiana University in 1981.
Laura Brooks Rice has won acclaim on the opera and concert stage for her rich, warm voice, musicality, charm and sensitive acting ability. In a diverse repertoire, including J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), Gustav Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, Edward Elgar’s Sea Pictures, Johannes Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody and G. Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, she has appeared from coast to coast in the USA in concerts and recitals. In recent seasons she has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on several occasions in works including George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, which she has also performed with numerous other orchestras nationwide. She has performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Bethlehem Bach Festival and Boulder Bach Festival. She made her Mostly Mozart Festival debut singing the role of Apollo in Mozart’s Apollo and Hyacinth, has been heard in L.v. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra with conductors, Kurt Masur, Kurt Sanderling, Robert Shaw and Hugh Wolff.
In the 1992-1993 season , Laura Brooks Rice made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Wowkle in La Fanciulla del West. Following her debut in 1981 with the San Francisco Opera as Grimgerde in Die Walküre she has appeared with that company in several productions, performing such roles as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Varvara in Katya Kabanova and Suzuki in Madame Butterfly. She has also performed with the Spoleto Festival (Italy) in Arthur Honegger’s King David. A participant in the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, she sang numerous performances ad an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera Center.
Laura Brooks Rice served as Associate Instructor of Music at Indiana University (1977-1981); Coordinator of vocal studies for High School Vocal Institute (1990-2000); Developer and voice instructor for High School Vocal Artist (1995-2003); Developer and voice instructor for Florence Voice Seminar (1999-2006). Since 1985, she has been teaching at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey where she is Professor of Voice. In addition to teaching private voice, she teaches courses in opera: The Singing Actor: Opera and Opera Auditions: Techniques and Preparation and has also been the coordinator of the Opera program. Along with her teaching at Westminster, Rice has Private Voice Studio in New York City (since 1990), and is a vocal consultant to the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program (since 2008) as well as the Domingo-Cafritz Program with the Washington Opera. Her private students are currently singing as regular principal artists at The Metropolitan Opera, Washington Opera, New York City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Ft. Worth Opera, Dayton Opera, Minnesota Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Mobile Opera, Maggio Musicale, Opera Omaha, Portland Opera, Knoxville Opera, San Diego Opera, Lake George Opera, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Opera North, Central City, Atlanta Opera and Aix en Provence.
Laura Brooks Rice is on the steering committee for the Singer Training Council under the auspices of Opera America (since 2006). She is member of the board of advisors of Astral Artistic Services as well as the Princeton Festival. She has served as a judge on the panels of the National NATSAA Competition (1999-2004) and Astral Artistic Services Annual Auditions.
Notable achievements of her private students include the 2004 Richard Tucker award winner, Matthew Polenzani, Kiera Duffy, winner of the Marian Anderson Competition in Philadelphia as well as being a national finalist in the MET competition, Elisa Vilbergsdottir, winner of the Heida Herman Competition as well as second place winner of the 2006 Liederkranz Competition (Wagnerian Division) and Disella Larusdottir, finalist in the 2006 Zachary Competition, Liederkranz Competition, Operalia Competition and winner of the Astral Artistic Services auditions and 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finalist.She is the Co-Director of one of Westminster’s newest programs the CoOPERAtive Program (since 2006), and three week intensive opera training program. In May 1997, she was Voice Teacher for Westminster’s program at the Franz Liszt Hochschule in Weimar, Germany. In August 2002 and 2005 , she conducted master-classes and taught private lessons for the Reykjavik Singing School in Reykjavik, Iceland.
In January 1999, along with her accompanist JJ Penna, , Laura Brooks Rice recorded her widely performed recital “Madwomen in the Attic”, a program of all American music and American women poets. A CD of romantic German and French repertoire was released in spring 2000.