TU grad performs lead role with Tulsa Opera - The University of Tulsa
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TU grad performs lead role with Tulsa Opera

Abigail RaifordSoprano Abigail Raiford (BM ’17), was excited to return to Tulsa last month for her debut in Tulsa Opera’s production of Rossini’s comedy The Italian Girl, in which she sang the role of Elvira for two performances.

Although born and raised in Queens, New York, Raiford spent her teen years in Tulsa and graduated from The University of Tulsa studying as a voice major with her mother, Professor Judith Raiford. Since moving back to New York City to pursue a master of music in vocal performance at the Mannes School of Music, Abigail Raiford’s career has continued an upward trajectory across the country.

In just a few short years, she has gone from participating in premier young artist training programs to performing roles with several opera companies: Sarasota Opera (Belinda in Dido and Aeneas), St. Petersburg Opera (Olympia in Pinocchio and Despina/cover in Così fan tutte), Central City Opera (Krysia in Jake Heggie’s Two Remain and Ida in Die Fledermaus) to name a few. Having won the Concerto-Aria Competition at TU in 2016, Raiford also won the Concerto-Aria Competition at the Mannes School of Music in 2019 and continues to garner national attention winning prizes in the SAS Performing Arts Company Vocal Competition (2021), the Camille Coloratura Awards (2019) and the Riverside Opera Company Competition (2019). She was also awarded $5,000 for the highly competitive Professional Career Performance Grant presented to a singer once every three years by the national office of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women.

Raiford was grateful to be able to travel to Rome last spring for a month of intense vocal study with the famed bel canto soprano Mariella Devia to prepare for her upcoming role with Tulsa Opera. Raiford was thrilled to return to Tulsa, the city where her performance career began, and to share her successes with those who support and encourage her still.