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Brenda Harris - The Governess
Ms. Harris has appeared in leading roles with many of the world's most prominent opera companies and orchestras. She has been heard in a wide range of roles with companies such as the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy, the Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, Opera du Rhin in Strasbourg, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Pacific, the Canadian Opera Company, Edmonton Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. She has been praised by critics as having “drop-dead gorgeous singing, soaring on high, glowing with mezzo-ish warmth in lower registers, nearly every phrase elegantly turned” (Dallas Morning News), as well as an “unstinting intensity, brilliant high Cs, breathtaking high-note tapers, trills, elegant tone and total dramatic commitment.” (Opera News)
Ms. Harris begins the current season singing the title role in Tosca with Opera Cleveland, and then joins the Austin Lyric Opera singing Wagner and Verdi selections in a Gala concert to mark the opening of their season. She sings Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Austin Symphony, and a program of Verdi selections, (including La Forza del Destino and Aida) with the Jacksonville Symphony. Upcoming engagements include singing The Governess in Turn of the Screw with the Portland Opera, both Madame Cortese in Il Viaggio a Reims and Queen Elizabeth in Roberto Devereux with the Minnesota Opera, and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth with the Utah Opera.
In the 2006 – 2007 season Ms. Harris sang leading roles with opera companies across the continent, including the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos in a new production with the Utah Opera, and the title role of Norma with the Portland Opera, of which The Oregonian said “her 'Casta diva' had stillness and poise, and she negotiated the subsequent coloratura with splendid fury.” Additionally, she sang Lady MacBeth in Macbeth with the Arizona Opera and Edmonton Opera and Alice Ford in Falstaff with Fort Worth Opera. On the concert stage she sang Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow with the Buffalo Symphony, Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the New Haven Symphony, and Schubert’s Mass No. 6 in E-flat with the Music of the Baroque and Jane Glover. Under the baton of Joel Levy, Ms. Harris was presented in a Gala Concert with the Stichting Veerhavenconcert in Rotterdam. She was also featured in recital at Brenau University in Atlanta.
During the 2005 – 2006 season, Ms. Harris sang the title role of Vanessa with both the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy and the Chautauqua Opera, the title role in Mercadante's Orazi e Curiazi with Minnesota Opera, the title role of Norma with Michigan Opera Theatre, Katerina in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Austin Lyric Opera, and Violetta in La Traviata with Fort Worth Opera. With Maestro Keith Lockhart at the podium, Ms. Harris performed as Soprano Soloist in Vaughan Williams' A Sea Symphony with the Utah Symphony.
Notable highlights of previous seasons include portraying Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito with the Metropolitan Opera, the title role of Agrippina, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Arminda in La Finta Giardiniera with the New York City Opera, Chrysothemis in Strauss' Elektra with Austin Lyric Opera, both the title role in Agrippina and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Washington National Opera, and the title role in Norma with the Minnesota Opera. With the Atlanta Opera she was the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Donna Elvira and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Desdemona in Otello, Violetta in La Traviata, and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. With the Chautauqua Opera she has portrayed title roles in Ariadne auf Naxos and Maria Stuarda, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, and Alice Ford in Falstaff. She has appeared with the Canadian Opera Company as Aminta in Il Re Pastore, the Montreal Opera as Donna Anna, the Edmonton Opera as both Donna Anna and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Vancouver Opera as Rosalinda, and the title role of Norma with the Opera de Quebec. In Europe, Ms. Harris has appeared in Spoleto, Italy as Eva in Die Meistersinger, with Opera du Rhin in Strasbourg as both Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito and as the title role of Barber's Vanessa. On the concert stage, she has performed as a soloist with the St. Louis Symphony, The Orchestra of St. Luke's, Chicago's Music of the Baroque, Honolulu Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Boston Baroque, and has offered numerous concerts at Carnegie Hall with the Oratorio Society of New York.
Brenda Harris has recorded leading roles for Newport Classic, including Scarlatti's Ishmael, Haydn's La Cantarina and The Creation, and Handel's Tolomeo on the Vox label.