March Concert Guest Artist: Joanna Mongiardo, Soprano
The internationally acclaimed soprano Joanna Mongiardo is recognized for her effortless coloratura and spell-binding charisma on stage and is in high demand for both operatic and symphonic repertoire. Appearing with such conductors as Neeme Jarvi, John Fiore and Daniel Hege, she has been invited to sing with many of the major orchestras and opera houses, including the Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic and San Diego Symphony as well as the New York City Opera, Portland Opera, Knoxville Opera and the Caramoor Festival. Singing Juliette in Roméo et Juliette with Madison Opera, The Capital Times hailed her "rich, vibrant voice that's full and powerful. She is what all sopranos should be." Currently under a fest contract at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, Germany, she has appeared there as Nannetta in Falstaff, Blondchen in Die Enführung aus dem Serail, Gianetta in a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers, Erstes Blumenmädchen in Parsifal and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro.
Season 2006/07 added several additional roles to her engagement in Düsseldorf, including Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier and Oscar in a new production of Un ballo in maschera in addition to repeating the roles of Blondchen and Susanna. She rings in 2007 with a New Year's Eve gala with the Memphis Symphony and later appears at Carnegie Hall in Mozart's Requiem under the auspices of MidAmerica Productions.
In the summer of 2006, Ms. Mongiardo sang the title role in The Ballad of Baby Doe's 50th Anniversary production at Central City Opera, a major operatic event that produced remarkable acclaim from the national press. "Petite, with a theater-filling smile, Mongiardo radiated warmth through her unforced, pearly-fresh timbre. All five arias showcased aptly shimmering tone; she was likeable and moving throughout," gushed Opera News. And the Denver Post added: "Joanna Mongiardo handles the vocal demands of the title role with her suitable rich, golden voice."
The American born soprano of Italian, Greek and Armenian heritage made her European debut in the 2004/5 season as Adele in Die Fledermaus at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall in Greece. Operatic performances also included return engagements with New York City Opera in their productions of Madama Butterfly, Carmen and Orlando and Gretel in Hänsel and Gretel with the Pine Mountain Music Festival. Ms. Mongiardo sang Carmina Burana in a repeat performance with the Detroit Symphony as well as with the Memphis Symphony. Other concert work included Haydn's Creation with the New Haven Symphony and Providence Singers, Mozart Requiem and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass with St. Thomas Church in New York City, and a Three Divas concert with the Bellevue Philharmonic.
Ms. Mongiardo made her New York operatic debut as Adina in L'elisir d'amore with the Caramoor Festival where she recently returned to sing Amore in Gluck's Paride ed Elena. She has also sung with New York City Opera in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Mostly Mozart Festival in Così fan tutte, and with the Center for Contemporary Opera as Annabel Balch in the New York premiere of Stephen Paulus' Summer. She has been a favorite of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera singing Adele in Die Fledermaus and First Lady in The Magic Flute. Ms. Mongiardo has also been seen as Maria in West Side Story, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Kathy in The Student Prince, and Yum-Yum in The Mikado.
At Joanna Mongiardo's Carnegie Hall debut in March of 2003 she sang Orff's Carmina Burana and Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music with the Oratorio Society of New York. Carmina Burana has quickly become one of Ms. Mongiardo's signature pieces, having performed the oratorio with the Detroit, Illinois, Lincoln, Chattanooga and Youngstown Symphonies as well as the New Hampshire Music Festival and National Chorale. Ms. Mongiardo made her American symphonic debut in concert with the Minnesota Orchestra, singing L'Enfant et les Sortileges and quickly returned to sing the world premiere of Marc-Andre Dalbavie's song cycle, Troubadour. Her 2003/4 season included an appearance with the San Diego Symphony in the California premiere of Julian Wachner's Regina Coeli and Carlyle Sharpe's Proud Music of the Storm, and with the Oregon Symphony in a concert of German Lieder.
A 2003 Sullivan Award Recipient, Joanna Mongiardo is also a winner of the Liederkranz Foundation Award, and other national competitions. She grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts and has a Masters Degree in music from Yale University.