Milagro Vargas is professor of voice at the University of Oregon, where she has been on the music faculty since 1992. A native New Yorker, she completed her undergraduate degree at the Oberlin School of Music and received a master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. She studied voice with Lucy Shelton, Jan DeGaetani, and Helen Hodam.
Vargas has stirred audiences throughout the United States and Europe with her distinctive mezzo-soprano voice and stage presence. Widely praised for the power of her interpretations, Vargas can be heard in opera, orchestral, concert, chamber music and recital settings.
A former soloist at the Stuttgart Opera, Vargas sang roles ranging from Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro to Nefertiti in Glass’s Akhnaten, recorded for CBS/Sony. She has appeared also at the Paris Opera, Heidelberg Schlossfest, Berlin’s Komische Oper, and Kirov Opera. Other recordings include Maderna’s Satyricon, Copland’s The Tender Land and Zimmerman’s Die Soldaten. In 2002 Vargas was a soloist on the Grammy-winning Credo by Penderecki, with Helmuth Rilling conducting.
Orchestral appearances include Brooklyn Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Beethoven Halle Orchestra, Residentie Orkest (the Hague), Staatsorchester Stuttgart, the Real Filharmonía (Spain,) American Composer’s Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony and Saint Luke’s Chamber Orchestra. An avid proponent of vocal chamber music, she has appeared with Chicago Chamber Players, the Folger Consort, the Twentieth Century Consort, and festivals at Aspen, Marlboro, Bard, Chamber Music Northwest and Cabrillo. Vargas is a frequent guest at Da Camera of Houston Chamber Music—in 2002 with guitarist Eliot Fisk, and in 2003 in Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses.
Highlights from most recent seasons include the title role in Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires with Third Angle; Copland's The Tender Land at the Cabrillo Music Festival; the world premiere of Stephen Jaffee's Homage to the Breath with the 21st Century Consort; Copland's Emily Dickinson Songs with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; Hindemith's When Lilacs Last in the Door Yard Bloom'd at Carnegie Hall with conductor Dennis Russell Davies; the American premiere of Philip Glass's Symphony No. 5 with the Brooklyn Philharmonic; a recital with pianist Gilbert Kalish at Music at Menlo; the world premiere of David Schiff's All About Love at Chamber Music Northwest; Mozart's Requiem with the Honolulu Symphony and Mahler's Rückert Lieder with the Eugene Symphony and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero.