Apparently coming a long way from her first reviewed performance in which she “proved just how hard it is to sing and act at the same time” (L.A. Times), several years later Elizabeth Saunders was informed by one of the adjudicators of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions that her acting was too strong. Marni Nixon and Nico Castel, however, loved her.
The glamour of her life as an opera singer began soon after graduating from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she achieved local television fame as the “singing barista” as a result of her penchant for singing out customers’ orders at the top of her lungs–so that she wouldn’t lose her voice over the noise of the downtown Starbucks–while earning enough hours to keep medical insurance between opera contracts. That local fame led to international recognition with an article in the USC Trojan Alumni Magazine, and commentary by a national radio personality whose name she can’t remember anymore.
After decades of training and work in an art form that encouraged her to believe that the only legitimate singing was classical singing, she finally went rogue and retrained her voice to belt musical theatre and pop/rock music. This led her to do what any sensible person would want to do at this point: move to NYC, give up trying to fit in, and hack out her own vocal and artistic path, ultimately developing theatre with people she thinks would be totally cool to create with, while keeping toes in the mainstream.
Soon after moving to NYC, Elizabeth enjoyed the auspicious booking of her NYC acting debut in Nathan Wright’s play “Peninsula”, where she and her colleagues endured the ongoing terror of her discovery that spoken lines were much(!) harder for her to memorize than sung lines, even sung lines in another language…in a three hour long opera… Ever the spunky, tenacious girl, and determined never to put herself or others through that agony again, Elizabeth can now be found honing her skills Meisner style at the Matthew Corozine Studio, where she cries, curses, memorizes, and repeats to her heart’s content, while being amazed at the skills and humanity of her classmates. The success of this training is evident in her recent appearance on Bravo TV’s scripted series, ODD MOM OUT, where she is seen remembering her fourteen words magnificently and delivering them with aplomb, in her co-starring role as “Snooty Woman” in Episode 2 “Vons have more fun”.
Her previously mentioned tendencies toward histrionic acting, and dislike of committing to one style of singing appear to serve her well as a highly sought-after interpreter of the songs of America’s first provocative cult-fave classical composer Charles Ives, and have made her a favorite of today’s provocative cult-fave abstract jazz composer Anthony Braxton, with whom she performs and records, in between stints tearing up the NYC Equity Principal Auditions for everything from “The Sound of Music” to “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”.
In addition to performing in a variety of media and continuing her own artistic training, Elizabeth is endlessly rewarded watching singers transform vocally and artistically as she trains them one-on-one, sharing what she has learned. Miraculously, they continue to return, find value in her teaching, and book work around the country.