February 18-23, 2019
Opera and Slavery in the French Caribbean 1760-90
Seminari di Musica Antica Egida Sartori e Laura Alvini
Directors: Pedro Memelsdorff and Vivica Genaux
Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Italy
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.”
Most recently, Ms. Kherani made a “dynamic” role debut as Musetta in La Bohème with West Bay Opera, praised for her “shimmering high notes and stunning looks.” This summer included her 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.”
Last season 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.
This November, Ms. Kherani will make her European debut as a fellow with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini – Seminari di Musica Antica singing the modern-world première of French Baroque Caribbean Concerts Spirituels under the direction of Pedro Memelsdorff and Sophie Daneman. Upcoming roles include Beck (cover) and the Quartet Soprano in the world première of Laura Kaminsky’s Today It Rains with Opera Parallèle and American Opera Projects, Frasquita with Opera Modesto, Rosina with Cinnabar Theater, and Polly Peachum with West Edge Opera.
During the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Kherani covered the role of Madame White Snake in the world première of Paola Prestini’s Gilgamesh with Beth Morrison Projects, as well as made acclaimed appearances as Marie (La fille du régiment) and Gilda (Rigoletto) with Pocket Opera, Gretel in Boston Lyric Opera’s outreach performances of Hansel and Gretel, and Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Boston University Opera Institute. For her role and company debut as Susanna in West Bay Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro, Ms. Kherani received enthusiastic reviews by critics over her “astonishingly acrobatic” voice (Repeat Performances) and “sparkling” and “delightful” portrayal (San Francisco Classical Voice).
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, Prince of Madness 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.” She was also the recipient of the 2015 McGlone Award from Central City Opera. 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.
Other critically-acclaimed roles include Savitri (Savitri), Adele (Die Fledermaus), La Fée (Cendrillon), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Eurydice (Orfée aux enfers), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), Poppea (Agrippina), Lieschen (J.S. Bach’s The Coffee Cantata), Monica (The Medium), and Nuria (Golijov’s Ainadamar with Opera Parallèle).
Ms. Kherani’s numerous awards include 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 holds a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering and minor in Music Performance from Princeton University, where she graduated summa cum laude and received the Isidore and Helen Sacks Award for excellence in Music Performance. She holds a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She resides in Palo Alto, California with her pianist/product manager husband, Zaafir, and a tank of fish. When not making music, Maya and Zaafir enjoy taking long-distance hiking and biking trips abroad and watching science fiction.
World Premieres Sung
Qual farfalletta – Partenope (G.F. Handel) – 2018
(Opera NEO / Benjamin Bayl, Conductor)
Quando m'en vo' – La bohème (Puccini) – 2018
(West Bay Opera / Jose Luis Moscovich, 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) - 2018