Marquita Lister
New England First Place Winner 1983

In February 1983 Regional Winner Marquita Lister was the headliner for “A Celebration of the Spiritual” at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. Last season the soprano appeared as Serena in Porgy and Bess with the Boston Symphony, and performed concerts with the African American Art Song Alliance at UCal Urvine and with Videmus at the University of North Carolina. Marquita was the 2012 Honoree of the National Association of Negro Musicians.


Marquita studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and Oklahoma City Unversity and then joined the Houston Grand Opera Studio, where she made her mainstage debut as Aida and appeared in roles such as Fiordiligi and Micaela. Her acclaimed association with the role of Bess began in Houston in 1995. She reprised the role in 1998 at Connecticut Opera, and again in 2000 and 2002 at New York City Opera, where she won the 2002 Diva Award. She also starred in a nationally televised PBS broadcast of the opera that year, and since then has performed Bess some 500 times at venues across the globe. After Houston Marquita went on to sing principal roles at San Francisco Opera (Aida, Vitellia), Austin Lyric Opera (Salome), Vancouver Opera (Tosca), Portland Opera (Alice Ford), and Baltimore Opera (Liu), among others. Highlights of her major international career were her Nedda and Musetta for the Arena di Verona, Bess with Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Bregenz Festival, Aida at the Deutsche Oper and the Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg, Lady Macbeth and Salome at the Semperoper Dresden, Tosca at the Graz Opera House, and Elena in I Vespri siciliani at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.


After a prolonged bout with a rare autoimmune disorder, Marquita returned to the stage in 2007 as Aida in Dresden Lady Macbeth at Memphis Opera, and Bess with the Fresno Opera and the Cape Town Opera Company and in a concert version at the Music Center at Strathmore with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Marquita was also Rusalka for Boston Lyric Opera, Cassandra in Les Troyens at the Teatro do Amazon in Brazil, Bess with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and, most recently, Bess in a concert production with the Akron Symphony and Serena in Porgy and Bess with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood and Symphony Hall.

Marquita has recorded George Gershwin's "Blue Monday" and excerpts from Porgy and Bess for Telarc Records with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, "Where the Sunsets Bleed: The Chamber Music of Edward Knight" for Albany Records, and the critically acclaimed Porgy and Bess on the Decca label, hailed by Opera News as one of the best recordings of 2006.


Ms. Lister is represented by Pinnacle Arts.

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