© Kristen McTernan
© Kristen McTernan
© Robert Workman
© Robert Workman
Born in New Zealand and raised in Wales, mezzo soprano Joanna Harries is a recent graduate of 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 her debut with Opera Rara as Finocchini in Offenbach’s La Princesse de Trébizonde; Countess Ceprano Rigoletto for Opera Holland Park; Lucinda La forza dell’amor paterno for Barber Opera; mezzo soloist in Paul Rissmann’s Through the Looking Glass with the London Symphony Orchestra; and she competes in the 2022 Wigmore Hall/Bollinger International Song Competition with duo partner Thomas Ang.
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 Prometheus in Tim Benjamin’s The Fire of Olympus, Tartine in David Blake & Keith Warner’s Scoring a Century for British Youth Opera, Awen (cover) in Pwyll ap Sion’s Gair ar Gnawd for Welsh National Opera, and 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 new opera The Weekend based on Michael Palin’s play.
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 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 (Ulverston International Music Festival), Yorkshire (Leeds Lieder) and Oxfordshire (Oxford Lieder). In 2021 Joanna was awarded Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award for her new podcast Songs of the River.
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.”
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.”