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Joanna Mongiardo
Photo by Lisa Kohler

Joanna Mongiardo, soprano

The versatile soprano, Joanna Mongiardo, is quickly becoming a much sought after young talent in both the operatic and symphonic worlds.  For her performance as Juliette with Madison Opera she received praise for having “a rich, vibrant voice that's full and powerful.  She is what all sopranos should be" (The Capital Times 11/22/03).

In Summer of 2006, Ms. Mongiardo sings the title role in the 50th Anniversary production of The Ballad of Baby Doe with Central City Opera.  In September 2005, Ms. Mongiardo joined Düsseldorf’s Deutsche Oper am Rhein.  For the 2006/07 season, she sings Oscar in a new production of Un Ballo in Maschera and repeats the roles of Blondchen and Susanna.  During the 2005/6 season in Düsseldorf, she performed the roles of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Gianetta in a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Erstes Blumenmädchen II in Parsifal, and Nannetta in Falstaff

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 recently had tremendous success with her performances of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with both Portland Opera and Knoxville Opera.   In addition, her 2003/4 season included Juliette in Romeo et Juliette with Madison Opera and Paquette in Candide with Opera Pacific.  She made her New York operatic debut as Adina in L’elisir d’amore with the Caramoor Festival and recently returned to sing Amore in Gluck’s Paride ed Elena.  Also in New York, Ms. Mongiardo has sung with New York City Opera in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Mostly Mozart Festival in Cosi 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 Ms. Mongiardo’s signature piece, 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.  Other concert work has included performances of the Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Monteverdi’s Vespers and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.   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 a 2001 national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She is also a winner of the Liederkranz Foundation Award, the Opera Index Voice Competition, and the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Competition.  A Wellesley, Massachusetts native, Ms. Mongiardo has a Masters Degree in music from Yale University.

-Peggy Friedman, March 2006


In Her Own Words

I study voice with a wonderful woman who had a long career as a lyric coloratura soprano named Dodi Protero.  Dodi spent most of her career in Europe, and while she was there she studied with the famous Italian coloratura soprano, Toti Dal Monte.  When I went home to have some lessons on Baby Doe this past month, Dodi (my teacher) told me that when she began to read up on the history of The Ballad of Baby Doe, she learned (correctly) that the first woman to sing the title role was Dolores Wilson.  Dolores, Dodi said, was the first voice student of Toti Dal Monte.  And, when Dodi started studying with Toti, all she ever heard about was "Dolores this, Dolores that.  And did you know the Dolores is singing a big premiere in the United States?",  Dodi and I both thought that it was very interesting that 50 years later, yet another student (me) from the "school" of Toti Dal Monte is being given the opportunity to sing Baby Doe.  I loved the idea that I was somehow connected to the history of the opera's premiere.

"Also, I have another connection to the opera's history in Central City.  My first job in with Central City Opera was 10 years ago as a Studio Artist.  1996 was the summer that CCO presented the 40th Anniversary Production of The Ballad of Baby Doe.  Michael Ehrmann directed his new production (the same one we will use this summer), and I was in the chorus (as all studio and apprentice artists are), "appearing" (i.e. dressed) as a Whore House Madame (my favorite costume, equipped with red wig!), an Ambassador's wife and also as a local Townswoman at the rally for William Jennings Bryan.  At the end of the summer, we stayed an extra week and made the first all digital recording of the opera.  (the only other recording is the Beverly Sills version).  I also returned to Central City in 1998 where I sang Madeline in the Face on the Barroom Floor and The Shepherd Boy in Tosca!  I have come a long way since then.   And, I am delighted to be going back.