Cara splits her time between her artistic and administrative contributions with Alliance and her in-demand administrative leadership as the Executive Director of both Cantate, Inc. and Bel Canto in Tuscany. A native of Washington D.C., she continues to serve the community as a much-valued independent and contracted teaching artist, while carrying out a personal mission of increasing community access to and broadening the impact of the arts in DC and Montgomery County, Maryland, and beyond. Her guiding values include an unwavering belief that exposure to and participation in the highest quality arts experiences can be life-changing to people from all walks of life, that music and the arts have a power like none other to open hearts and fuel collective conversation, and that artists have a responsibility to wield their influence to bend the arc towards justice.
Cara first came to the attention of Alliance when she performed a radical interpretation of Carmen, as emotionally compelling as it was vocally fearless, in INSeries’ production of Le Cabaret de Carmen, an adaptation of Bizet’s opera.
In 2020, she joined the ensemble of Short Gems, the digitally produced series by Alliance with support by members of the Curating Department of The Phillips Collection to celebrate the centennial of America’s first museum of modern art. For this series, she premiered the role of Wo-man Ray in composer Andrew Simpson’s opera created with librettist Susan Galbraith, “Caesar and the Mannequin.”
As a performer, Cara Schaefer is recognized for “the kind of singing which is consummate in its power to communicate authentically” (DC Theater Arts). She is known for her “wonderfully funny” portrayal of Ruth in Young Victorian Theatre Company’s The Pirates of Penzance, as well as her “sexy, transcendent” interpretation of the title role in Le Cabaret de Carmen with IN Series; Angela (Chateau Margaux), and Elena (El Barbero de Sevilla) with Teatro Lirico of DC; Mother (Hansel and Gretel) with Opera NoVa; and numerous appearances in the ensemble of Maryland Lyric Opera. She has appeared as a soloist in Cantate’s Mozart’s Requiem (2020) and Lord Nelson Mass (2022).
Ms. Schaefer is a two-time winner of the Maryland/DC chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Auditions and a Grand Prize winner of the Sue Goetz Ross Memorial Competition. She is also honored to have debuted the official Spanish-language translation of the Star-Spangled Banner for the National Museum of American History. She is available as a teaching artist for private instruction and masterclasses in both vocal technique and acting through music.