Risa Renae Harman, Soprano
American soprano Risa Renae Harman has been widely acclaimed for her technical virtuosity and communication skills as an artist. For her recital at Trinity Church, The New York Times noted, “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.”
Noted for her diverse repertoire, recent engagements include soloist in Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51 with The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, the NY premiere of The Wooden Sword, a chamber opera by Sheila Silver, at Symphony Space, a solo recital at the Brooklyn Library and guest artist with the Greenwich Chamber Players. Other 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.”).
Favorite operatic performances have included Violetta in La Traviata, Hanna in The Merry Widow, The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor and Massenet’s Manon. 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.” For Miss Harman's engagement as the Queen of the Night in Fargo-Moorhead Opera's The Magic Flute, the press lauded her performance, “The real payoff comes in the vocal pyrotechnics of Risa Renae Harman. She nails them.” 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 has been on the roster for New York City Opera, toured with their National Company and served as a Teaching Artist. A frequent recitalist, oratorio and concert soloist, Miss Harman has appeared at Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Weill Hall and the Kennedy Center. For her 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”. Miss Harman’s international credits include recitals in Sweden as the winner of the American Jenny Lind Competition and the Italian Festivals Da Bach a Bartok and Musica nei Chiostri, and concerts with Orchestra ProArte Marche.
From Richmond, Virginia, Miss Harman received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Masters of Music degrees from Stony Brook University, an Artist Diploma in Opera from the Hartt School of Music and a Diploma with Distinction from the Franz Schubert Institute in Austria. 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, the D'Angelo Vocal Competition and a winner of the Dalton Baldwin Mélodie prize in the Lotte Lehmann Vocal Competition. As a winner of the American Jenny Lind Competition, she made a concert tour of Sweden and appeared with Elisabeth Söderström in a gala benefit concert honoring Jenny Lind's birthday.
An Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Voice Department at the Bay View Music Festival in Michigan for the past several seasons, her performances have included Broadway and Opera favorites, and recitals that boasted such diverse repertoire as Schubert's Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, Andre Previn's Four Songs for soprano, cello and piano, Chausson's Chanson Perpetuelle, Haydn’s Welsh Airs and Scottish Songs and Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate. In appreciation of her artistry, the Karen Schuilling Endowed Chair was created. Miss Harman currently resides in New York.