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Risa Renae Harman

BIOGRAPHY   

risa-harman.jpgAmerican soprano Risa Renae Harman has been acclaimed for her  technical virtuosity and communication skills as an artist. As a winner of the American Jenny Lind Competition, she made a concert tour of Sweden and appeared with Elisabeth Soderstrom in a gala benefit concert honoring Jenny Lind’s birthday. She is also a recent career grant recipient from the Lee Schaenen Foundation and a winner of the Dalton Baldwin Mélodie prize in the Lotte Lehmann Vocal Competition. Recent engagements for the soprano include Samuel Barber’s The Prayers of Kierkegaard at the Kennedy Center with The Washington Chorus (The Washington Post stated, “Risa Renae Harman sang the solo part in a warm and sweetly lyrical soprano”), Dorine in Kirke Mechem’s Tartuffe with Lake George Opera (The Post-Star, “Her exquisite voice and spunky acting shone in each and every scene...”), Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti ed i Montecchi and Mum in the East Coast Premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s Greek with Story Brook Opera, Female Passerby in the workshop of Adam Silverman’s Karczak’s Orphans and a return to the Bay View Festival as Artists-in-Residence. In appreciation of Miss Harman’s artistry, a local music-lover has endowed the position of The Karen Schuilling Endowed Chair, currently held by Miss Harman. On the operatic stage, Miss Harman has sung The Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera and as special guest artist with Tri-Cities Opera, concerts as Adele in Die Fledermaus, cover assignments of Hanna and Valencienne in The Merry Widow and Kathie in The Student Prince with the Owensboro Symphony, Melody in Lesley Burr’s new opera Vanqui in Philadelphia, as well as creating the role of Electric Shock un the world premiere of the new children’s opera Blackout by Roberto Scarcella. The Cincinnati Enquirer observed that she “was a playful Zerbinetta with a big coloratura” in her debut in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos with the Sorg Opera in Ohio. Her debut as Adele in Die Fledermaus with Lyric Opera of Cleveland prompted The Cleveland Plain Dealer to remark that she “sparked the action with her vivid portrayal of Adele”. She has several operatic world premieres to her credit, including creating the roles of the Fair Witch in The Witch Boy by Tim Lloyd, and Louise in William Schuman’s A Question of Taste for Glimmerglass Opera, a portrayal The Wall Street Journal called “exciting”. Miss Harman toured North America with the New York City Opera National Company. Performing with the New York City Opera Educational Outreach Division, hes roles have included Norina in Don Pasquale, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Pamina in Die Zauberflote, Clorinda in La Cenerentola and Marenka in The Bartered Bride. Other New York opera engagements have included Una Fanciulla in I Cavalieri di Ekebù with Teatro Grattacielo at Alice Tully Hall, with whom she also essayed the role of Vivetta in L’arlesiana. For Miss Harman’s debut with the Cathedral Choral Society in an all-Baroque program at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The Washington Post described her voice as “luminous” and “outstanding”. Among Miss Harman’s recent recital engagements was a solo recital for the Trinity Church Concert Series in downtown New York. The New York Times proclaimed, “But she is that rare creature among singers, a really good recitalist ... she seemed to have something to say in all five languages she was singing in”. She also collaborates regularly with the prestigious New York Festival of Song, appearing in their 10th Anniversary Gala at 92nd Street Y and at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in a concert featuring her performance in the original version of Zerbinetta’s aria from Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. Other recital and concert engagements include the world premiere of Seymour Barab’s “Born as a Child” with Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, recitals in Naples, Florida and at Georgia College and State University, Mater Gloriosa in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Orchestra Sinfonica Nacional de Mèxico and as soloist in the annual Messiah Sing-in with the National Chorale at Avery Fisher Hall. A native of Richmond, Virginia, miss Harman received an Artist Diploma in Opera from Hartt School of Music. Miss Harman is the recipient of numerous awards and career grants, including the Lee Schaenen Foundation, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, Shoshana Foundation, Palm Beach Opera, Lola Hayes Foundation, Liederkranz Foundation, YWCA Studio Club, Washington International and the D’Angelo Vocal Competition.