Phillips made her Met debut last season as Musetta in La Bohme. She returned this season for her first company performances of Pamina in Die Zauberfl‹te, a role she repeats during the 2010-11 season. A graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Alabama native won four of the world's leading vocal competitions in 2005: the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacAllister Awards, the George London Foundation, and Plšcido Domingo's Operalia, where she won both First Place and the Audience Prize.
"What an immense honor it is to receive this award, especially one given in the name of Beverly Sills," said Susanna Phillips. "Hers was the first soprano voice I remember hearing in our home in Huntsville, Alabama, and her recordings were a tremendous influence on my musical life. When I think of La Traviata, it's her Violetta in my ears, and Welcome to Vienna is an all time favorite. I never had the privilege of seeing Beverly Sills perform live, however I did bump into her once _ literally. I was in New York when she was on the board of Lincoln Center, where we collided in an elevator. Papers went flying... I was awestruck by her height and her presence! Her personal and artistic contributions to classical music are a real inspiration to me and to countless other musicians."
The award, in honor of Beverly Sills, was established in 2006 by an endowment gift from Agnes Varis, a managing director on the Met board, and her husband, Karl Leichtman. The 28-year-old Phillips is the fifth recipient of the award, following baritone Nathan Gunn in 2006, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in 2007, tenor Matthew Polenzani in 2008, and bass John Relyea in 2009.