Victoria Livengood and Billy Porter to Receive Honorary Doctorates at Boston Conservatory at Berklee Commencement Ceremony

March 30, 2018

Boston Conservatory at Berklee Executive Director Cathy Young will present honorary doctorates to opera superstar Victoria Livengood (M.M. '85, voice) and Tony Award–winning performer Billy Porter at the Conservatory’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12 at the Berklee Performance Center. Both artists will deliver commencement remarks for the Boston Conservatory at Berklee class of 2018 at the ceremony.

This year’s honorary doctorate recipients will be recognized for their achievements and influences in music and theater. Past honorary degree recipients for Boston Conservatory at Berklee include Betty Buckley, Debbie Allen, Nicholas Paleologos, Barbara Cook, and Mary Rogers.

“It is a pleasure to honor two artistic luminaries at our commencement ceremony this year,” said Boston Conservatory at Berklee Executive Director Cathy Young. “Victoria Livengood represents an important voice in opera, beginning her impressive career right here at the Conservatory. Billy Porter’s repertoire is expansive and influential; his talents as a Broadway performer, singer, director, composer, and playwright showcase the many paths an actor can take. Both performers have shared their incredible talents with the world for decades, and we are delighted to present them with honorary doctorates.” 

Victoria Livengood (M.M. '85, voice)

Grammy Award-winner and Metropolitan Opera star Victoria Livengood has been hailed as “one of the leading singer-actresses of her generation.” The internationally renowned mezzo-soprano skyrocketed onto the opera scene as a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, going on to make her critically acclaimed Met debut in 1991. Livengood has become known for her dynamic portrayals in more than 125 Met performances, including the title role of Carmen.

2017 saw her perform her 100th role in the operatic repertoire, emphasizing her prolific versatility throughout a career that spans over three decades. Internationally, she has sung with opera companies throughout Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. Livengood has performed at Carnegie Hall on ten separate occasions including as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem and in A Streetcar Named Desire, opposite Renée Fleming. She has been a featured soloist with the London Symphony and the National Philharmonic. This season, Livengood added the role of the Old Lady in Candide, performing it in Anchorage, Alaska and with the South Dakota Symphony, and returns to the New Orleans Opera for the title role in The Medium. Next season, she performs Candide with the Utah Symphony and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea and reprises her role of Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin at the Kennedy Center with Washington National Opera and with Opera Carolina.

Billy Porter

Tony and Grammy award–winning actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright Billy Porter has leant his talents to several of the most influential productions of our time. He won the 2013 Tony and Drama Desk awards for his groundbreaking performance as Lola in Kinky Boots. Porter’s Broadway acting credits also include Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease, Smokey Joe’s Café, the 20th anniversary Broadway concert of Dreamgirls, and the recent musical Shuffle Along. Porter has also performed in a number of regional, touring, and off-Broadway productions. His one-man show, Ghetto Superstar: The Man That I Am, debuted at the Public Theater in New York City in conjunction with City Theatre of Pittsburgh and was nominated for a 2005 GLAAD Media Award.

Porter has also directed and conceived various productions, winning the NAACP Theatre Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 2009 for his production of Once On This Island at Reprise Theatre Company. Porter’s solo albums include Untitled, At the Corner of Broadway + Soul (Live), Billy’s Back on Broadway, and Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers, released last year.