ROCHESTER, NY — The acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle will return to her alma mater, the Eastman School of Music, later this month to address the School’s graduating class of 2004. The annual commencement ceremony for undergraduate and master’s degree students will begin at 11:15 a.m., Sunday, May 16, 2004, in Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs St. (The doctoral commencement ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 15.) Nearly 200 students will receive their degrees.
Praised by Opera magazine as “perhaps our best character mezzo in any opera house,” Castle — who received her master of music degree from Eastman in 1966 — has performed extensively with the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the Washington Opera, the Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and L’Opera de Montreal. Her amazingly wide repertoire includes roles in major contemporary operas such as Menotti’s The Consul and The Medium; Britten’s Gloriana, Peter Grimes, and The Turn of the Screw; and Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. Castle also is recognized for her performances in Richard Strauss’s Salome, Elektra, Rosenkavalier, and Die Schweigsame Frau, and in Wagner’s Walküre and Götterdämmerung.
Noted for her incredible versatility, Castle also is an accomplished concert and recording artist. She is an experienced performer of contemporary vocal works by Charles Ives, Alfred Schnittke, Stefan Wolpe, Gyorgy Ligeti, and most extensively Leonard Bernstein. In addition to an active performance career, Castle serves on the faculty of the University of Kansas as an artist in residence.
“It is a true honor to have Joyce Castle return to Eastman to deliver this year’s commencement address,” said Eastman Director and Dean James Undercofler. “She is an extraordinary artist and person, who will inspire all who hear her.”