About Us

Robert Williams

Robert Williams has won critical acclaim for his outstanding voice not only in America and Europe, but also in countries as far afield as New Zealand. “An opulent tenor”, said THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. “One of the finest tenors in memory,” stated a New Zealand Critic.

Mr. Williams was born in Kansas City, Mo. and attended the University of Kansas and the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. After also studying voice privately he sang in the Regional Finals of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. This encouraged him to move to New York City, where he quickly earned a contract as a leading tenor with the New York City Opera, making his debut as the Italian tenor in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and remaining for five years.

Through his connection to the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, he won a contract to sing Rodolfo in La Boheme on a grand tour of New Zealand. In the U.S. he continued his acclaimed performances with the Toledo Opera, the Boston Arts Festival, the St. Louis Festival Opera, the Kansas City Lyric Theater, the New York Grand Opera, and the New Jersey Opera. During his distinguished European career, he sang leading roles at the Staedtische Buehne in Essen and the Deutsche Oper Am Rhein in Duesseldorf, Germany.

Robert Williams performed musicals from the Desert Song to Li’l Abnerwith the Starlight Theater, St. Louis Muny Opera and with numerous stock theaters around the country. He also performed on cruise ships and in Cabaret Theaters in Reno, Nev. and in San Francisco. In recent years Mr. Williams has continued his interest in the American Musical Theater by performing, with his wife, Carolyn Heafner, in TOGETHER WITH MUSIC – a Broadway Retrospective spanning a time period of composers of more than a century.

Recordings include The Happy Prince by George Fisher (son of Avery Fisher) with the Metropolitan Opera Studio and the role of the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto with the Kansas City Opera. Mr. Williams has performed in such diverse media as television commercials, movies, operetta, and concert, and also taught voice privately in New York City. He was the recipient of two Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation Fund for Music grants, and a number of Metropolitan Opera Studio Stipendiums and Scholarships. Mr. Williams won the Best Actor of the Year Award in Kansas City for his interpretation of the Moor in Verdi’s Otello.

 

Carolyn Heafner

Carolyn Heafner began a distinguished international opera career as a Scholarship Award Winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Auditions, which brought her to New York as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Studio. She has performed with the Santa Fe Opera, the Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, and the Lake George Opera among many others in the United States. For five years she sang leading roles at the Bremen Opera Company in West Germany, with guest performances throughout Europe, to extraordinary acclaim for her exquisite lyric soprano voice, her compelling stage presence and her superb musicianship.

Equally distinguished is her career as soloist in Oratorio and with Symphony Orchestra, having performed with the Cincinnati Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the New Hampshire Festival Orchestra, the Albany Symphony, and in Europe with the Bremen Philharmonic and the Cologne Radio Orchestra, among others. Her New York orchestral debut was with the Little Orchestra Society in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.

As a recitalist with an exceptional affinity for the Art Song, Carolyn Heafner’s extraordinary gift for the dramatic and the poetic was recognized by both the Poetry and Music Divisions of the Library of Congress with her program, THE POETESS SINGS – A Tribute to Emily Dickinson, which was chosen to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the birth of the Poet. This unique program formed part of a series on Emily Dickinson which was broadcast nationally by PBS. In addition, the entire performance of THE POETESS SINGS has been recorded on CD with Fanfare Magazine noting that “Carolyn Heafner is an authoritative presence, both as a singer and speaker”, and that “the result is a fluid historical portrait of the artist”.

Carolyn Heafner has worked closely, in preparation for her highly acclaimed performances, with Aaron Copland, Ernst Bacon, Lee Hoiby, Otto Leuning, Robert Baksa, Richard Hundley, Jack Beeson, and many others. Her personal dedication to the American Art Song and her particular interest in settings of American poetry led to her first recording, CAROLYN HEAFNER SINGS AMERICAN SONGS. Highly acclaimed from coast to coast, this “delightful and moving recital of songs that blend rich poetic imagery with striking musical settings”, includes settings by Amy Beach, Jack Beeson, Hugo Weisgall, Lee Hoiby, Ernst Bacon, and Jay Pouhe, of poems by Browning, Poe, Richard Hughes, and Peter Viereck, Adelaide Crapsey, Emily Dickinson, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

In addition to her Metropolitan Opera’s National Auditions Scholarship Award, Carolyn Heafner was twice the recipient of Martha Baird Rockefeller Grants, and among the first recipients of the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Grants. She was also the winner of the Southwestern Region of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, winner of the Advanced Division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing; and the winner of the Fort Worth Opera Guild Auditions. Miss Heafner was listed in WHO’S WHO IN THE ARTS in Germany’s international edition.