“Fantastic Mr. Fox”: Krista River Brings Home Grammy for Best Opera Recording

Standing onstage at the 62nd Grammy Premiere Awards, Krista River, an Adjunct Instructor in Music, accepted the Grammy for Best Opera Recording in recognition of her work in “Fantastic Mr. Fox.[b]” The opera, composed by Tobias Picker, is based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name. Along with River, conductor Gil Rose and the other principal singers traveled to Los Angeles this past Saturday for the ceremony.

“I was really excited, really honored. I’ll confess that most of my thoughts before our category was read was, ‘I almost hoped we don’t win, because I’m worried I’m going to trip on my way up onto the stage.’ I was slightly worried about some of the details, but I was super excited. I was so excited for Gil Rose, the conductor, because [“Fantastic Mr. Fox”] really was his baby. This group is his creation, and he’s just worked really hard. It was exciting—just to be in this room with so many extraordinary musicians, from all different genres—it was really quite an amazing experience,” said River.

Ever since the opera was nominated in late November, River has received congratulations and words of encouragement from friends and colleagues alike. Although River enjoyed the experience in Los Angeles, she quickly flew back to Boston to attend a rehearsal on the next day, returning to her regular routine.

“Professionally, [the impact it will have on my career is] probably yet to be seen… I don’t know that it necessarily translates to more work or different kinds of work, but it might. I’ve been singing now for about twenty years, and I feel like I’m just going to keep doing what I do. It’s really lovely to get some recognition, but I just love what I do, so I guess I’m just lucky in that way,” said River.

River continues to provide voice lessons to students at Andover and also at Brandeis University. According to River, she enjoys spreading the joy of music and has found that it can be enriching in everybody’s lives, no matter if they pursue music as a career or if they end up just being a music lover and appreciator.

“Not only is [River] my voice teacher, but she is also a friend. During my time at Andover, I’ve become close to Krista through music. She has strengthened my abilities as a singer and has taught me to employ so many new skills in my singing… This year, she has explored a new teaching style with different techniques that she has been learning about and I love them. She is so knowledgeable and truly works towards helping her students improve… the results are evident,” said Marianne Bautista ’20, one of River’s students.

In addition to attending the Premiere ceremony, River had tickets to the televised portion of the ceremony on Sunday. She also went to a nominee reception earlier on Saturday, where she had the opportunity to meet other distinguished artists and musicians.

“My boyfriend was really excited about seeing and sort of meeting Flavor Flav… We also saw DJ Khaled, Dave Chapelle, and my stepdaughter got to hug Smino and then she started to cry because she was so excited. She was much braver about meeting people than I was. I was a little more shy, but it was fun to see some of these people up close and the full craziness around them,” said River.