Rachel Sigman is a lyric soprano known for her rich voice, unique interpretations and her courageous vulnerability. She is a rising star in the sphere of contemporary opera, but her unfailing technique and versatility render her an asset in musical theatre, baroque opera and everything in between. Rachel’s innate artistry and incisive musicality allow her a unique command of her instrument and a solid foundation for immersive opera; she frequently participates in productions that defy the bounds of traditional theater and instead place her audience up close and personal with her performance.
March 2020 saw Rachel debut the role of Soffonia in the premiere of Frances Pollock and Bob Misbin’s Briscula the Magician, a portrayal the composer herself commended, writing: “Rachel breathed life into Soffronia, bringing out all of the complex realities embodied in the character.” In a personal career highlight, Rachel brought her talents as a consummate actress and vocalist to the role of Ottavia, Empress of Rome, in Berlin Opera Academy’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, a 2018 production featuring an immersive design created by David Paul. With the Savoy Company in Philadelphia, Rachel repeatedly ventured into the comedic highs of the Gilbert and Sullivan oeuvre: first as a sassy and charming Edith in Pirates of Penzance; then as Josephine, the poised leading lady in H.M.S. Pinafore; and culminating with her 2018 turn as the titular Iolanthe in a production that delighted audiences both in Philadelphia and at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in England.
For Opera Upper West in 2016 and Bel Cantanti Opera in 2017, in separate productions each with unique directorial interpretations of the work, Rachel offered up two distinct and fully-formed depictions of the enigmatic Elle in Poulenc’s one-woman tour de force La voix humaine. “It was remarkable watching a woman alone on stage for one full hour singing the entire time,” praised MD Theater Guide. “Sigman is a good actor who not only sang the role well, but really allowed the audience into her emotional world.” At the 2015 and 2016 Miami Music Festival, Rachel received accolades as Ann Putnam in Robert Ward’s The Crucible; Mother in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel; and understudy for the stately Lady Billows in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring.
In 2018, much to Rachel’s honor, the Houston Symphony was bestowed a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for Berg’s Wozzeck, a 2013 staged production and belatedly-released recording of which Rachel was a part. The award underscores Rachel’s contribution to the production as a member of the women’s chorus and a vocal soloist in the show’s finale.
Rachel earned her Bachelor of Music degree at Mannes College and her Master of Music at Rice University in the voice studio of Dr. Stephen King. While a graduate student, she performed the role of Lady Billows in Rice’s 2014 production of Albert Herring and as Celia in their 2012 production of John Musto and Mark Cambell’s Volpone. Rachel’s extensive experience also includes numerous productions with Aspen Opera Theater Center, appearing onstage as Suor Osmina (Suor Angelica, 2013) and in scenes as Pamina, La Contessa, Ilia, Anne Trulove and Laurie Moss, as well as covering the additional roles of Sybil Vane (Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Grey, 2014), Fortuna and Venere (L’incoronazione di Poppea, 2013).
Rachel can regularly be heard around Philadelphia as a soloist for All Saints’ Church in Wynnewood and as a chorister on the rosters of Opera Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Symphony. Rachel has worked as an actress for the immersive theatre company The Game Theatre. She also hosts her own show about fashion and altruism on the Strings & Things Channel on Facebook called “Fermata Fashion” along with co-hosting “AL Music Talks”