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Alumni Merit Award: Constance A. Hauman (BSM83)

When Leonard Bernstein invited Constance Hauman to perform in Candide with the London Symphony Orchestra—the only performance of his operetta he himself ever conducted—he was not merely making an offer that would launch her career and win her widespread acclaim; he was also bringing to life a longstanding, if very specific, dream of hers, which may not have been as farfetched as it had always seemed.

As a young musician, Hauman would listen to legendary pianist Andre Watts' similar story about how Bernstein had put him on for an ill Glenn Gould and dream that the same could happen to her. In December 1989, the scattered stars aligned, and Bernstein requested her for the stage on 24-hour notice. "[It was] my 'walking on the moon' experience to carry me for a lifetime," she recalls.

And it has carried her—from Rome to Belgium, then to Japan and back to Chicago in leading roles of all types. For several seasons she continued in her role as Cunégonde in productions of Candide. In 1996, the soprano won massive acclaim and the world's attention for her work as the title character in Alban Berg's Lulu, performed at the Queen of Denmark's castle in Copenhagen and in Antwerp.

Hauman has taken leading roles at the English National Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opéra National de Paris, Opéra de Marseille, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Festivale de Spoleto, Chicago Lyric Opera, and New York City Opera. She has also been a guest soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Daniel Barenboim.

In 2003, she appeared as Alice/Renée in the world premiere of Olga Neuwirth and Elfriede Jelinek's complex and innovative stage adaption of David Lynch's Lost Highway in Graz, Austria and later in Besel, Switzerland. The CD of the show won the 2007 Diaspon d'Or Award for best new recording.

Having always cultivated an interest in World War II-era history, Hauman has focused much energy on bringing attention to the composers, artists, and performers whose work was banned under the Nazi regime.

Exiles in Paradise, her own one-woman show blending musical performance, historic and personal video footage, and voice, explores the story of Holocaust refugees who fled to Los Angeles and entered show business. Hauman performed the show at the 2001 opening of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and she later presented it at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Hauman, who minored in political science while obtaining her music degree, says that the show "is the perfect marriage of [her] studies started at Northwestern."

The singer resides in New York City and has three stepchildren.

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