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Donna Balson
Soprano | Repertoire

Originally from Australia, soprano Donna Balson possesses a unique talent that combines a wonderfully rich, warm sound with extreme musicality and poise. Critics proclaimed after a recent performance in Sydney, Australia “Donna Balson stole most of the vocal limelight, rising to any and all challenges magnificently and with seaming ease, conveying admirably the almost barbaric emotional excitement that is so fundamental to this work”.

In the 2005-2006 season Donna Balson sang the title role in Tosca with Canterbury Opera, New Zealand as well as Margherita in Boito’s Mephistofele with Bob Jones University and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Jacksonville Symphony. Ms. Balson sang the role of Anna and covered the role of Abigaille in Nabucco with Opera Australia and was engaged to sing the title role of Tosca with the Bridgeport Symphony. Upcoming, Ms. Balson sings Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass in a return engagement with the Jacksonville Symphony, Brahms’ German Requiem with the Hofstra Symphony Orchestra in New York as well as concerts with the Symphony of the Americas and the American Chamber Ensemble. She also covers the role of Leonora in Il Trovatore with Opera Australia. During the 2004-2005 season Ms. Balson performed the role of Leonora in La Forza del Destino with New Zealand’s Canterbury Opera to critical acclaim. The Christchurch Press wrote of her performance: “..here was vocal acting at its best, with expression and colour in abundance…Just this aria (Pace pace mio Dio) would justify the ticket price with Donna Balson in superlative form”. Recently, she was the featured soloist at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles with Long Beach Opera’s production of Freshwater and has sung Verdi’s Requiem with the Tucson Symphony and the China National Symphony.

Her operatic engagements have included work with European companies such as Oper Frankfurt, Frankfurter Kammeroper, Düsseldorf Opera and the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart. She traveled to Sri Lanka to appear with Opera Lanka as Violetta in La Traviata and revisited Australia for the Sydney Festival production of Elektra where she sang the 4rh Maid and to sing Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte with Opera Queensland. As an ensemble member of the Operaworks Company in New York she has performed the roles of the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos and, for the New York premiere, Nina in The Seagull by Pasatieri. She returned to Opera Queensland for Rossini’s La Cenerentola, scoring a great personal success in the title role.

An avid concert performer and enthusiast for both contemporary and classical music, she has appeared as a soloist with orchestras and chamber ensembles in Europe and the US as well as Australia. She has also performed as a recitalist, most recently in a concert tour of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Her European concert debut was with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra in Amsterdam as soloist in the European premiere of the Japanese Requiem by British composer James Stevens. She has sung with the Prague Symphony, the Hessischer Rundfunk and the Residentie Orchest Den Haag, among others, in repertoire ranging from Bach through Verdi to Nono. In Sydney she appeared with the Sydney Opera House Orchestra in the St Matthew Passion, with the Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra in the St John Passion and with the Seymour Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Contemporary Singers in various works including Stravinsky’s Les Noces. She made her New York concert debut in 1999 with the National Chorale at Lincoln Center in “An Evening with Gershwin and Bernstein” and has since performed regularly with the Chorale as soloist in works including the Bach B Minor Mass and Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass. Donna Balson appears on the recording of Schoenberg’s Die Glückliche Hand with the Hessischer Rundfunk Orchestra. She can also be heard on the EMI Australia children’s CDs “Have you any wool?” and “Three Bags Full”. She has sung with conductors including Ingo Metzmacher, Heinrich Holreiser, Simone Young, Paul Daniel, David Porcelijn, Carlo Felice Cillario, Myer Fredman and David Agler, and has worked with stage directors such as John Copley, Peter Mussbach, James Lucas, Sue Rider and Katherina Lang.

Donna Balson began her formal musical education in her native Australia when, as an accomplished pianist at the age of twelve, she was awarded one of only twenty-five coveted places available per year at the Conservatorium High School for performing artists in Sydney. After graduating with an Associate Degree in piano and flute, she enrolled at the Conservatorium at Sydney University as a voice major, achieving a Bachelor of Music Degree and a Diploma of Operatic Arts. She was immediately offered a contract with the Australian Opera and made her debut there singing the title role in the world premiere of the Australian contemporary opera The Little Mermaid by Anne Boyd. During her seasons with this company she performed and covered diverse roles ranging from Chava in Fiddler on the Roof to the title part in Alban Berg’s Lulu.

Opera Repertoire

BERG Wozzeck Marie
BIZET Carmen Micaela
BOITO Mefistofele Margarita
BRITTEN Peter Grimes Ellen Orford
  Turn Of the Screw Miss Jessel
DEBUSSY Pelléas et Mélisande Mélisande
GOUNOD Faust Marguerite
HOLLIGER, Heinz Come and Go Woman
JANACEK Jenufa Jenufa
  Katya Kabanova Katya
KORNGOLD Die Tode Stadt Marie
LEONCAVALLO I Pagliacci Nedda
MOZART La Clemenza di Tito Vitellia
  Cosi Fan Tutte Fiordiligi
  Don Giovanni Donna Anna
    Donna Elvira
PASATIERI The Seagull Nina
POULENC La Voix Humaine Elle
PUCCINI Madama Butterfly Butterfly
  Manon Lescaut Manon
  Il Tabarro Giorgetta
  Tosca Tosca
SCHOENBERG Die Glückliche Hand Sie
STRAUSS, R. Elektra Chrysotemis, Maids (various)
  Salome Salome
VERDI Falstaff Alice Ford
  La Forza del Destino Leonora
  Nabucco Abigaille, Anna
  Il Trovatore Leonora
     

Concert Repertoire
BACH B Minor Mass National Chorale, New York
  St John Passion Conservatorium Singers, Sydney
  St Matthew Passion Sydney Opera House Orchestra
BAULD, ALISON One Pearl Seymour Group, Sydney
BEETHOVEN C Major Mass Conservatorium Singers
  9th Symphony Jacksonville Symphony
BRAHMS German Requiem Hofstra Symphony
DVORAK Stabat Mater Newcastle University Choir
HANDEL Messiah American Community Choir, Wiesbaden
    Combined Church Choirs of Sydney
    Sydney Symphony Orchestra
HAYDN Die Schöpfung Conservatorium Singers
  Lord Nelson Mass Jacksonville Symphony
LUMSDAINE, DAVID A Tree Telling of Orpheus Seymour Group, Sydney
MOZART C Minor Mass Conservatorium Singers
  Coronation Mass National Chorale, New York
  Requiem National Chorale, New York
NONO Canti di Vita e d'Amore Residentie Orchest, Den Haag
PERGOLESI Stabat Mater Taverner Consort, Sydney
PURCELL King Arthur Maquarie University Baroque Players
ROSSINI Petite Messe Solonelle Chor der Erlöser Kirche, Bad Homburg
     
SCHÖNBERG Die Glückliche Hand Neue Vocalsolisten, Stuttgart
     
STEVENS, JAMES Celebration for the Dead Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra
STRAVINSKY Les Noces Contemporary Singers, Sydney
VARESE Offrandes Junge Deutsche Philharmonie
VERDI Messa da Requiem Prague Symphony Orchestra
  Tucson Symphony
    China National Symphony, Beijing
VIVALDI Gloria Conservatorium Singers, Sydney