“The mezzo has one of those distinctive timbres recognizable six miles away in the dark, with a sparkling quality intriguingly laced with a hint of lemon juice. ” – Opera News
Mezzo soprano Lauren McNeese’s colorful, resonant voice and beautiful stage presence have established her as a sought out artist in the leading lyric mezzo-soprano repertoire. Opera News wrote of her portrayal of Dorabella at Lyric Opera of Chicago “she has one of those distinctive timbres recognizable six miles away in the dark… with a sparkling quality”. Engagements for the 2013-2014 season included Cherubino in Tulsa Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro, the title role in La Cenerentola with Opera Omaha and Intermountain Opera, and concert appearances with the Williamsburg Symphonia, Shreveport Symphony Orchestra for Mozart’s Requiem, and Augustana College for the Messiah. Engagements for 2014-2015 include La Cenerentola with Tulsa Opera, covering Venus in Wagner’s Tannhäuser with Lyric Opera of Chicago and her return to Dallas Opera as Laura in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.
The 2012-2013 season marked Ms. McNeese’s Metropolitan Opera debut in Wagner’s Parsifal, her role debut as Giovanna Seymour in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena with Minnesota Opera and Dorabella with Intermountain Opera. In 2012 she made her debut with Dallas Opera and returned to San Francisco Opera and Ravinia Festival as the Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte. During the 2010-2011 season, Ms. McNeese made her role debut as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Intermountain Opera followed by her return to Michigan Opera Theater as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. She was recently seen at the San Francisco Opera as Wellgunde and Rossweisse in the critically acclaimed production of Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Donald Runnicles. During the fall of 2010, Ms. McNeese made her debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as the mezzo soloist in the dramatic symphony Roméo et Juliette by Hector Berlioz conducted by Charles Dutroit. The 2009-2010 season included appearances with the Ravinia Festival as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, her Pittsburgh Symphony debut as the mezzo soloist in Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Manfred Honeck and the Los Angeles Opera as Wellgunde in Der Ring des Nibelungen conducted by James Conlon.
A graduate of the Patrick G. and Shirley Ryan Opera Center, Ms. McNeese has been seen on the Lyric Opera of Chicago stage as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Siebel in Faust, Wellgunde and Rossweisse in Der Ring des Nibelungen, Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, Lapak the dog in The Cunning Little Vixen, Edith in The Pirates of Penzance, Flora in La Traviata and Myrtale in Thaïs. She has also appeared with the LA Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Wellgunde in Das Rheingold, Karolka in Jenufa, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi directed by Woody Allen, Tebaldo in Don Carlos and Javotte in Manon conducted by Placido Domingo.
Other recent engagements have included debuts with San Francisco Opera as Wellgunde in Das Rheingold conducted by Donald Runnicles, Arizona Opera as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Opera Company of Philadelphia as L’enfant in L’enfant et les sortilèges and La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Michigan Opera as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette, and PortOpera as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette. She has appeared with the Minnesota Opera as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and Bellino/Teresa in Casanova’s Homecoming by Dominick Argento, the Wolf Trap Opera as Isolier in Le Comte Ory where she was awarded a Shouse Education Career Grant and with the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto Italy as La Ciesca in the reprisal of the critically acclaimed LA Opera production of Gianni Schicchi. In concert, Ms. McNeese has appeared with the Toronto Symphony as the mezzo soloist in Mozart’s C Minor Mass conducted by Helmuth Rilling and the Cincinnati May Festival as the mezzo soloist in Mozart’s Requiem conducted by James Conlon.