Young British/New-Zealand mezzo-soprano Joanna Harries studied at the University of Cambridge, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
As a concert soloist, performances include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at Snape Maltings Concert Hall; 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; Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Skipton Camerata; Handel’s Messiah at Lincoln Cathedral; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Sheffield 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, Vaughan Williams and contemporary works.
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) in the new opera Gair ar Gnawd (Welsh National Opera); Tartine/Chaneuse/Mary-Lou/Scoring a Century (British Youth Opera); Dido/Dido and Aeneas (Dartington Arts Festival); Varava/Kat’a Kabanova (Fulham Opera); Der Trommler/Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Ottone/Agrippina, and Jenny Hildebrand/Street Scene (all Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). She has also worked with Opera Holland Park , Grange Park Opera and Welsh National Opera.
A keen recitalist, Joanna is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and one of the six current Handel House Talent artists selected by Laurence Cummings. She is the winner of the first Edith Brass Prize for Lieder at the RCS and 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 in a programme of Russian music at Pushkin House. She is also an Alumnus of 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.
She is co-founder, with contralto Jessica Dandy, of SongPath – a charitable venture which promotes walking and music-making in the context of mental health. SongPath’s inaugural event took place in Cumbria in June 2019 as part of the Ulverston Music Festival.
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 Tillett Trust, the Hope Scott Trust, the Dartington Hall Trust, and the Gwilym Gwalchmai Jones Award (RNCM).
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