© Robert Workman
© Robert Workman
© Robert Workman
Born in New Zealand and raised in Wales, mezzo soprano Joanna Harries is a 2021/22 Young Artist at the National Opera Studio in London. She was a choral scholar at the University of Cambridge and went on to train at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She is currently an Opera Prelude Young Artist and a former Britten-Pears Young Artist and Handel House Talent Artist.
In the current season engagements include Diana in Scott Stroman’s The Weekend at the Bloomsbury Theatre; The Moon Hares a schools project performance for the OAE; Karolka Jenůfa for Fulham Opera; a series of performances with Opera Prelude; a Britten Pears masterclass and recital with Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton; and SongPath at the Oxford Botanic Gardens as part of the Oxford Lieder Festival.
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); Varava Kát’a Kabanová (Fulham Opera); Drummer The Emperor of Atlantis in Polly Graham’s production (Loud Crowd & 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 Prometheus in Tim Benjamin’s The Fire of Olympus; Tartine in David Blake and Keith Warner’s Scoring a Century (British Youth Opera); Awen (cover) in Pwyll ap Sion’s Gair ar Gnawd (Welsh National Opera); and Girl/Psychiatrist in Scott Stroman and Tamsin Collison’s Fever Pitch, an adaptation of the iconic Nick Hornby book.
As concert soloist her performances include 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 is co-founder of SongPath with contralto Jess Dandy, an initiative bringing together music, walking and nature for mental health. She was awarded a 2021 Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award for her new podcast Songs of the River and is currently developing a series of new one-woman operas about the women behind space exploration with soprano Fiona Finsbury in a residency at Snape Maltings in 2022.
Diana / The Weekend / Highbury Opera Theatre / 2021
“Joanna Harries is the standout amongst the support cast, her mezzo-soprano lending pathos to the daughter whose life is falling apart yet nobody is willing to speak to her.”
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.”
Sāvitri / Sāvitri / Hampstead Garden Opera / 2020
“Harries sang with conviction and emotional force… the only flesh-and-blood character…”
“Throughout the performance, Harries’s robust mezzo-soprano adroitly navigated the shifting moods and keys of the piece, letting rip in her final exchange with Death.”