American dramatic mezzo-soprano Barbara McAlister, of Cherokee Indian heritage, began her operatic career as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera Company and Central City Opera Company. After Santa Fe and Central City, she has gone on to perform with the The Washington Opera Company, Cherokee Heritage Center, Arizona Opera, San Diego Opera, Tulsa Opera, Florentine Opera, New York Grand Opera and Opera New England. Her music theater career began with dallas summer musicals during summers in university.
Ms. McAlister’s Los Angeles voice teacher was Lee Sweetland and in NYC it is Steve Sweetland.
Ms. McAlister’s international career was launched when she won the prestigious Loren Zachary Competition in Los Angeles. She was subsequently engaged to perform the dramatic mezzo-soprano repertoire in the opera houses of Passau, Koblenz, Bremerhaven, and Flensburg in Germany, as well as in Monte Carlo, Cannes, Modena, Ferrara, Paris, Lisbon and Hong Kong. She toured France with the New Bulgarian Opera as Ortrud in Lohengrin and returned the following year as the mezzo soloist in the Verdi Requiem. She was also the recipient of the NY Wagner Society Grant.
Ms. McAlister has been heard as a soloist in concert at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Weill Recital Hall, appearing with such prominent orchestras as the Houston Symphony, the Düsseldorf Symphony, and the Symphony in Ulm. She has given recitals for the Oklahoma State Arts Council Touring Program, singing opera arias and Native American songs in the Cherokee. She created the role of Qualla in Lindor Chlarsson’s opera Mountain Windsong, based on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. She played Selu in the Trail of Tears drama/musical at Tsa-la-gi ourdoor amphitheater in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. “The power of her voice and presence elevates every scene in which she appears. ” Tulsa World.
Ms. McAlister made her debut last season as Vera Boronel in The Washington Opera’s 50th Anniversary performance of THE CONSUL at the Kennedy Center — staged by Gian-Carlo Menotti. Barbara McAlister possesses “a voice of stunning power and dramatic strength.” Wagner Society Gold Book. She also played Amneris (in concert) in Aida by Verdi.
She also made her debut as Azucena in a Hong Kong performance of IL TROVATORE under the direction of Kingman Lo. The review praised her “assured mezzo and blistering range that gave the necessary dark edge to Azucena.”
Ms. McAlister sang in Alfano’s opera RISURREZIONE in the roles of La Gobba and Sofia with Teatro Grattacielo at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
Last summer she appeared as the Corn Woman in the Trail of Tears Drama, Cherokee Heritage Center, Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Directed by Joe Sears and music by Kimme Rhodes. This year Ms. McAlister will be singing recitals in several cities in the USA.
She appeared this year at the Anchorage Opera in Der Fliegende Hollander in the role of Mary
In addition to her career as an opera and concert soloist, Ms. McAlister is a renowned Native American visual artist. Her paintings have been shown at the Five Civilized Tribes Museum and Jacobson House in Oklahoma, the Wharton Art Gallery in Philadelphia, and Bullock’s in Los Angeles. Many are now in private collections throughout the United States and Europe.
In l999 Ms. McAlister was a recipient of the Cherokee Medal of Honor.
2010 – 2011 Oklahoma State Arts Council touring roster, singing programs including musical theater songs, opera, and traditional Cherokee songs.
May 2011 Received Living Legend Award for accumulated years from the bare bones film festival.