© Steve Gregson
© Steve Gregson
© Kristen McTernan
© Robert Workman
© Robert Workman
Born in New Zealand and raised in Wales, mezzo soprano Joanna Harries was a choral scholar at the University of Cambridge before training at the Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the National Opera Studio. She is a former Opera Prelude Young Artist, Britten Pears Young Artist and Handel House Talent Artist.
In the current season she performs Prince/Stepmother Mini Cinderella (Opera North); a series of Opera Galas (Barandov Opera); Letters from Scandinavia recital with Sholto Kynoch (Barber Lunchtime Concerts); and SongPath at the Harcourt Arbooretum (Oxford International Song Festival).
Among her recent highlights are Finocchini La Princesse de Trébizonde (Opera Rara); Countess Ceprano Rigoletto (Opera Holland Park); Lucinda La forza dell’amor paterno (Barber Opera); Medoro Orlando (Liberata Collective); Tweedledee Alice’s Advenutres in Wonderland (If Opera); and Paul Rissmann’s Alice in Wonderland Suites (London Symphony Orchestra).
Her operatic roles stretch from baroque to contemporary and include the title role Sāvitri (Hampstead Garden Opera); Dido Dido and Aeneas (Dartington Arts Festival); Zerlina Don Giovanni (Merry Opera Company); Karolka Jenůfa and Varava Kát’a Kabanová (Fulham Opera); Drummer The Emperor of Atlantis in Polly Graham’s production (Loud Crowd and CHROMA); Nun The Fiery Angel (Scottish Opera); and Ottone Agrippina and Jenny Hildebrand Street Scene (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland).
In contemporary music she has premiered roles in new operas including Tartine in David Blake & Keith Warner’s Scoring a Century (British Youth Opera); Awen (cover) Pwyll ap Sion’s Gair ar Gnawd (Welsh National Opera); and Prometheus in Tim Benjamin’s The Fire of Olympus, Girl/Psychiatrist in Scott Stroman and Tamsin Collison’s Fever Pitch, an adaptation of the iconic Nick Hornby book, and Diana in Scott Stroman’s The Weekend based on Michael Palin’s play.
As concert soloist Joanna has performed Bach Christmas Oratorio (Snape Maltings); Macmillan Seven Last Words From The Cross (BBC Philharmonic); Bach Easter Oratorio (Bach Festival Świdnica, Poland); Bach St. Matthew Passion (Skipton Camerata); Handel Messiah (Lincoln Cathedral); Haydn Theresienmesse (Chester Cathedral); and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 (Sheffield Cathedral). A keen recitalist, Joanna was awarded the Edith Brass Prize for Lieder at the RCS and has performed song and Lieder at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings, Pushkin House and the National Portrait Gallery.
Joanna runs SongPath with co-founder Jess Dandy, a mental health initiative bringing together music, nature and mental health in specially curated outdoor events, alongside free workshops for local branches of mental health charity Mind. Since 2019 they have taken SongPath to Cumbria, Yorkshire and Oxfordshire. In 2021 Joanna was awarded Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award for her new podcast Songs of the River.
Medoro / Orlando / Liberata Collective at Buxton International Festival / 2023
“Olivia Doutney and Joanna Harries make an ideal pair of lovers as Angelica and Medoro respectively, each producing measured tone combined with clear and emphatic dramatic performances.”
“Joanna Harries was an elegant Medoro…”
“Joanna Harries brought vocal warmth and flexibility to the role of Medoro.”
(Classical Music Daily)
National Opera Studio ENO Showcase / Cadogan Hall / 2022
“As for the stylish mezzo-soprano Joanna Harries, she graced two different versions of Perrault’s most popular fairy tale in conquering both the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola and the Prince in Massenet’s Cendrillon.”
Innkeeper’s Wife / The Cunning Little Vixen / Longborough Festival Opera / 2021
“The other roles come and go in quick succession, and are sung charismatically – among them, David Howes’s authoritative Priest and Joanna Harries’s trenchant Innkeeper’s Wife might be singled out.”