UPDATED, Nov. 28: Arlington is home to a wide range of artists pursuing a variety of arts, but do you typically associate our changing town with opera? Likely not.

Teresa Wakim / Arielle Doneson photoTeresa Wakim / Arielle Doneson photo

You should. Consider Teresa Wakim.

The operatic soprano is a among the musicians shaping a Baroque work that has been nominated for a Grammy -- "Les Arts Florissants; Les Plaisirs De Versailles," by Marc-Antoine Charpentier

It is her first album where she is a Grammy-nominated artist, for the Best Opera Recording for the 2020 awards -- one she calls "gorgeous," with the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF). 

"Oh, I was absolutely surprised," she wrote in response to emailed questions. "I was just doing some shopping after dropping my daughter off at preschool, a typical mundane weekday morning .... I wouldn't have known if my colleagues did not send me a few texts to tell me!

'Off my radar'

"I don't really keep up with the Grammys, and this album was recorded in Germany almost a year ago, was released last summer, and was totally off my radar."

The album involves Paul O'dette and Stephen Stubbs, conductors; Jesse Blumberg, Wakim and Virginia Warnken-Kelsey; Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer (Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble and Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble).

"The album is the real nominee," she wrote, "and I am thrilled to be an artist included in the nomination this year.

"I was so happy for BEMF and for my colleagues, because we really worked so hard on this."

Previous notice

She has drawn previous notice from the recording awards. In 2015, she was a soloist on one Grammy-winning album -- Charpentier’s "La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers" and "La Couronne de Fleurs" -- and a soloist on five Grammy-nominated recordings.

Her connection to the Boston Early Music Festival dates to 2005 -- to Johann Mattheson's "Boris Goudenow," and, soon after, she made her first recording with festival members of Lully's "Thésée." 

"There have been so many beautiful productions and recordings since then," she wrote.

Wakim, who lives in the Heights with her husband and "a super cute and silly" daughter, 3, grew up in southeastern Connecticut.

When young, she attended Camp Washington in northwestern Connecticut, sang in the choir and was part of their musicals -- a highlight of her childhood, she wrote.

Well-known teacher

At 16, she was accepted into the studio of Mary Langdon of Mystic, Conn. A renowned voice teacher, she served on the faculty of the University of Rhode Island and had an impressive operatic career.

Wakim began singing professionally while she was still a student at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has been performing regularly for more than 15 years.

Asked what spurred her interest in operatic singing, she wrote: "I honestly don't have a good answer. I always loved music and singing, and when it came time to apply for college, my parents were so supportive and just assumed I would want to attend a music school. I didn't even know that much about opera as a teen; I just loved to sing, and I think my family knew it was just what I was going to do my whole life."

As to which eras she specializes in, she noted that, while studying at Oberlin, she learned about a particular niche in classical music, the world of Baroque specialists, or historical performance.

"I had always had a passion for music of this era, from roughly 1600 to 1750, and so I soaked up as much as I could about this era of music as an undergrad, and then decided to focus solely on this repertoire during my master's degree," she wrote.

'My happy place'

"Although I sing music from earlier and later eras, up to music composed today, the Baroque repertoire remains my happy place. Some of my favorite composers include Handel, Bach, Monteverdi, Rameau and Purcell."

At Oberlin, she studied with Lorraine Manz, and then attended Boston University's College of Fine Arts for her master's degree. In its program of Historical Performance, she studied voice with Penelope Bitzas and honed her early-music skills with teachers such as Martin Pearlman, Peter Sykes and Joshua Rifkin.

Singing is her profession: "All of my income comes solely from music-making. Whether I am teaching singing to students of all ages, coaching young professionals in the Baroque style, giving a master class or performing/recording a recital of art song, chamber music, opera or oratorio.

Asked whether her parents are musical, she was serious: "My Mom is very artistic, and was a modern dancer in New York City in the 1970s. Our house was always full of singing and dancing, although only my sister and I know how to read music."

And whimsical: "My Dad can sing a mean 'Phantom of the Opera' in the shower!"

Her age? She is humorously baroque: "Well, let's just say I'm milking the last bit of my 30s and enjoying every last drop."

The Boston Early Music Festival has scheduled concerts this holiday weekend, with soprano Amanda Forsythe and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston. For tickets, click here >> Read a Globe review >>

Teresa Wakim's website

Boston Early Music Festival: Charpentier's "Les Plaisirs de Versailles"

This news feature was published Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, and updated Niov. 28, to add a link to a review.