Young British mezzo-soprano Joanna Harries grew up in South Wales and studied at the University of Cambridge and the Royal Northern College of Music. In 2016 she took up a scholarship to the Alexander Gibson Opera School 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 Dido/Dido and Aeneas (Dartington International Summer School & Festival); Awen (cover) & Semi-Chorus in the new opera Gair ar Gnawd (Welsh National Opera); Nun/The Fiery Angel (Scottish Opera – concert performance); Ottone/Agrippina, Der Trommler/Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Jenny Hildebrand/Street Scene, Le Loup/Les Malheurs d’Orphée & Mezzo-soprano/Le vin herbé (all Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); Mrs Jones/Street Scene (Royal Northern College of Music) and Giove-in-Diana/La Calisto (Hampstead Garden Opera). She joined the chorus of Opera Holland Park for their 2016 and 2017 seasons, and recently created the principal role of Girl/Psychatrist in a new opera based on Nicky Hornby’s Fever Pitch (Highbury Opera Theatre).
As a concert soloist, recent appearances include Handel’s Messiah at Lincoln Cathedral, Macmillan’s Seven Last Words From The Cross with the BBC Philharmonic and Huddersfield Choral Society at Harrogate Royal Hall conducted by David Angus; Haydn’s Maria Theresa Mass at Chester Cathedral; and Bach’s Easter Oratorio at the Bach Festival Świdnica in Poland conducted by Paul Goodwin. Other performances last year included C.P.E. Bach Magnificat, Handel Messiah, Haydn Nelson Mass, Mozart C Minor Mass, Requiem and Solemn Vespers, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music and Vivaldi Gloria.
A keen recitalist, Joanna is a 2017/18 Handel House Talent artist, under the guidance of Laurence Cummings. 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 as part of the “Sing Russian” scheme. In 2015 she was selected to take part in the Oxford Lieder Festival Mastercourse with Roger Vignoles, Robert Holl, Imogen Cooper and Ann Murray.
Joanna is in demand as a performer of contemporary music, creating roles in several new operas and premiering vocal works by Michael Betteridge (Dawn Chorus at the Royal Exchange Theatre), Melissa Douglas (Sonnet 116 at the John Ryland’s Library, Manchester), 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 The Manchester Contemporary, 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.
Please do not print, reproduce or edit this biography without permission.