Young British-New Zealand mezzo-soprano Joanna Harries was a choral scholar at the University of Cambridge and studied with Jane Irwin at the Royal Northern College of Music before taking up a scholarship to the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she is currently completing her studies with Wilma MacDougall.
Joanna’s operatic roles span from early to contemporary opera. Credits include Nun in Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel (Scottish Opera – concert performance); Awen (cover) & Semi-Chorus in the new opera Gair ar Gnawd (Welsh National Opera); Dido/Dido and Aeneas (Dartington International Summer School & Festival); Ottone/Agrippina, Der Trommler/Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Jenny Hildebrand/Street Scene (all Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); and the principal role of Girl/Psychatrist in a new opera based on Nicky Hornby’s Fever Pitch (Highbury Opera Theatre). She also joined the chorus of Opera Holland Park for their 2016 and 2017 seasons.
As a concert soloist, performances include Macmillan’s Seven Last Words From The Cross with the BBC Philharmonic and Huddersfield Choral Society at Harrogate Royal Hall; Bach’s Easter Oratorio at the Bach Festival Świdnica in Poland, Mozart’s Requiem City Hallsat in Glagsow, Handel’s Messiah at Lincoln Cathedral and Haydn’s Maria Theresa Mass at Chester Cathedral. Her repertoire includes many of the major oratorios by J.S. Bach, C.P.E Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Haydn and Mozart, through to Dvořák and Vaughan Williams.
A keen recitalist, Joanna is a 2018 Britten-Pears artist and was chosen by Laurence Cummings as one of the six 2017/18 Handel House Talent artists. She has performed programmes of song and Lieder at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the National Portrait Gallery in London, as part of the “Introducing” series at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, and a programme of Russian music at Pushkin House. In 2015 she was selected to take part in the Oxford Lieder Festival Mastercourse with pianist Rachel Fright.
Joanna is in demand as a performer of contemporary music, creating roles in several new operas and premiering vocal works by Melissa Douglas (Sonnet 116 at the John Ryland’s Library, Manchester), Michael Betteridge (Dawn Chorus at the Royal Exchange Theatre), and Anna Appleby (winning composition, 2015 Rosamond Prize). She performed as vocal soloist in the UK revival of Steve Reich’s video opera Three Tales (Ensemble BPM) and regularly collaborates with artist Maeve Rendle, performing her works of performance art at Manchester Art Gallery and the Harris Museum in Preston.
An experienced ensemble singer, Joanna was a choral scholar while at Cambridge University and sang with the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge under Stephen Layton. Since then she has performed with ensembles such as Vocalconsort Berlin, was a founder member of the Portrait Choir at the National Portrait Gallery in London and a regular singer with the BBC daily service singers in Manchester.
Joanna is grateful for awards from the Fondation Michelle / Fonds Culturel National Luxembourg, the Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust, the Ryan Davies Memorial Fund, the Mario Lanza Foundation, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Trust, the Hope Scott Trust, the Dartington Hall Trust, the Gwilym Gwalchmai Jones Award (RNCM) and Manchester Welsh Society Prize.
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