Praised for her “crystalline tone” by Opera News, Indian-American soprano MAYA KHERANI has been lauded for her vibrant voice and exciting characterizations in repertoire from the Baroque to the modern. San Francisco Classical Voice recognizes her as “obviously an enormous talent” and the Boston Music Intelligencer applauds her performances as evoking “the sparkling effervescence of a fine champagne.”
This past season's engagements included POLLY PEACHUM in The Threepenny Opera with West Edge Opera, ROSINA with Cinnabar Theater, and BECK (cover) and the QUARTET SOPRANO in the world première of Laura Kaminsky’s Today It Rains with Opera Parallèle. Upcoming performances feature Ms. Kherani as GILDA in Rigoletto and PAMINA in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Modesto, as well as highly anticipated debuts at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and Boston Baroque.
Last season, Ms. Kherani made her role debut in the title role of PARTENOPE with Opera NEO under the baton of Benjamin Bayl. For her performance San Diego Story raved, “From her opening ornate aria, Maya Kherani’s Partenope sailed through Handel’s effusive coloratura with gleaming precision and impassioned conviction. She dominated this production the same way an excellent Violetta commands Verdi’s La Traviata.” She also made “dynamic” role debut as MUSETTA in La Bohème with West Bay Opera, praised for her “shimmering high notes and stunning looks.”
Last year, Ms. Kherani made her European debut as a fellow with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini – Seminari di Musica Antica singing the modern-world première of French Baroque works from Caribbean under the direction of Pedro Memelsdorff and Sophie Daneman. She then returned this past February to sing in a follow-up program, directed by Mr. Memelsdorff and Vivica Genaux.
Recent seasons featured Ms. Kherani’s mainstage company debut as DESPINA in Così fan tutte at Opera San Jose, where she also sang LISETTE in the student matinee performance of La Rondine as well as YVETTE in all other performances. Other roles last season include BRITOMARTE with West Edge Opera in Martín y Soler’s L’arbore di Diana (The Chastity Tree), JILL in the world première of Jack and Jill and the Happening Hill with Salt Marsh Opera, the title role of SEMELE with Pocket Opera, and FRASQUITA in Carmen with West Bay Opera.
In demand for new and challenging works as well as from the Baroque era, Ms. Kherani has been engaged for many world premières in her young career. In 2014, she made her Houston Grand Opera (HGOco) debut in the role of MEERA in the world première of Jack Perla’s River of Light. Other premières include Neil Rolnick’s Anosmia, released by Innova Records in 2013, and Dante de Silva’s “graphic opera” Gesualdo with Opera Parallèle. In 2015, she appeared in the leading role of ALTISIDORE in Boismortier’s Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse at Central City Opera, for which she was praised for her “vocal triumph” in the “cruel demands” of the role; critics noted that her “bright, strong voice and fluid dancing were notable strengths of the production.” A passionate interpreter of early music, Ms. Kherani has been featured with the American Bach Soloists, the San Francisco Bach Choir, the Amherst Early Music Festival, Early Music Vancouver, and the American Handel Society Festival.
Ms. Kherani’s numerous awards include the 2015 McGlone Award from Central City Opera, 1st Place and Audience Favorite at the James Toland Vocal Competition (Tier II), 2nd Place at the Peter Elvins Vocal Competition (Opera Division), the Kalvelage Award at West Bay Opera’s Holt Competition, two Encouragement Awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the top overall Barlow Award at the San Francisco Bay Area NATS competition, where she also won 1st Place in both the Professional Art Song and Aria categories.
Ms. Kherani graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a B.S.E. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and certificates (minors) in Music Performance, Materials Science, and Robotics and Intelligent Systems. At Princeton, she received the Isidore and Helen Sacks Award for excellence in Music Performance, and was a dancer and choreographer for Naacho South Asian Dance Company and a member and soloist in the Princeton University Glee Club. She holds a Master of Music degree with honors from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Professional Certificate from the Boston University Opera Institute.
She currently makes her home in Northern California with her product manager husband, a tank of fish, and a garden of succulents. When not singing, Maya enjoys playing tennis, practicing yoga, cooking keto meals, reading novels, cycling, hiking, and scuba diving.
World Premieres Sung
Barbara Song (excerpt) – The Threepenny Opera (Kurt Weill) – 2019
West Edge Opera - Conductor: David Möschler; Director: Elkhanah Pulitzer
Qual farfalletta – Partenope (G.F. Handel) – 2018
(Opera NEO / Benjamin Bayl, Conductor)
L'amor ed il destin – Partenope (G.F. Handel) – 2018
(Opera NEO / Benjamin Bayl, Conductor)
Ach, ich fühl's - Die Zauberflöte (W.A. Mozart) - 2019