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Biography

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Noted for her lustrous and superbly controlled voice, shimmering tone and strong connection with the public, Greek mezzo-soprano Mary-Ellen Nesi has performed to great acclaim on the most important stages worldwide, and has recorded and performed major roles with the most notable conductors of our time.

Theatres she has appeared in include: the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House  at Covent Garden, the Frankfurt Opera,  the Semperoper (Dresden), Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall (NY), Place des Arts (Montreal), Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (Paris), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Theater an der Wien (Vienna), Cadogan Hall (BBC Proms-London), Chungmu Art Hall (Seoul), Strathmore Hall (Washington DC), the Royal Opera of Versailles, the Opéra de Lausanne, the Opéra de Nice, the Opéra du Rhin, the Sao Carlos Opera (Lisbon), Tchaikovsky Concert Hall (Moscow), Juliusz Slowacki Theater (Krakow), the Arriaga (Bilbao), the historic opera houses of Florence, Ferrara and Modena, the Municipale of Piacenza, Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, Koerner Hall (Toronto). Frauenkirche (Dresden), Tonhalle (Duesseldorf), Teatro Monumental  (Madrid), Teatro Caio Melisso (Spoleto), Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, the Palais des Beaux-Arts( Bozar) of Brussels, the Koelner Philharmonie, Boston University Theater, Teatro de la Maestranza (Seville), Teatro Olimpico (Rome) and festivals such as Spoleto Festival de due mondi, the Göttingen and the Halle Händel Festspielen, the Semana de la Musica Religiosa di Cuenca, the Santiago de Compostela Festival, the Opera Rara, the Dubrovnik Festival, the Athens Festival. She is also a regular guest at the Greek National Opera, the Megaron of Athens, the Thessaloniki Concert Hall.

Mary-Ellen Nesi´s repertoire consists mainly of baroque, classical and belcanto music. She has delighted the public in many major operatic roles such as the title roles in Carmen, Cenerentola, Der Rosenkavalier, Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso and Farnace, Handel’s Serse, Oreste, Rodrigo and Faramondo, and also Ruggiero (Alcina), Andronico (Tamerlano), Dejanira (Hercules), Teseo (Arianna in Creta),  Medea (Teseo), Charlotte (Werther), Romeo (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Adalgisa (Norma),  Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena), Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Sifare (Mitridate), Ramiro ( La Finta Giardiniera), Megacle in the first world revival of Paisiello’s L’Olimpiade, Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice), Licida in Pergolesi’s L’Olimpiade, Ottavia ( L'Incoronazione di Poppea),  Penelope and Melanto in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Antiope in the first world revival of Vivaldi’s Ercole su’l Termodonte, Anastasio in Vivaldi’s Giustino, Mitrena, Fernando & Ramiro in Motezuma, , Hansel in Hansel und Gretel,  Teresa in La Sonnambula, Ino and Juno in Semele, Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana,  Maddalena in Rigoletto, Tebaldo in Don Carlos and principal roles in operas by contemporary composers.

Conductors she has performed with include René Jacobs, Ivor Bolton, Charles Dutoit, Bruno Weil, Alan Curtis, Ottavio Dantone, Fabio Biondi, George Petrou, Frans Bruggen, Theodor Currentzis, Julia Jones, Diego Fasolis, Paul O' Dette, Stephen Stubbs, Andrea Marcon, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Federico Maria Sardelli, Emmanuelle Haim, J. Reilly Lewis, Ruben Dubrovsky, E.López-Banzo.

Her recordings of Handel’s Oreste (as Oreste), Arianna in Creta (as Teseo), Tamerlano  (as Andronico), Giulio  Cesare (as Sesto),  Alessandro Severo  (as Alessandro) under George Petrou and Gluck’s Il Trionfo di Clelia (as Orazio), led by G.Sigismondi, were received with the highest praise from the international press (including the ECHO klassik 2008 for Tamerlano) and her Sesto in Giulio Cesare was singled out as “surely the finest on disc”.  She also performs the title role in the DVD and CD of Vivaldi’s Farnace, under Federico Maria Sardelli, Antiope in the DVD of Ercole su'l Termodonte, Polinesso in the DVD of Ariodante and Mitrena in the DVD of Motezuma, under Alan Curtis (all by Dynamic). She has also recorded D. Scarlatti's Tolomeo ed Alessandro  (as Dorisbe) (Archiv), Handel's  Berenice  (as Arsace) (Virgin), a solo CD Salve Regina  (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi), under Alan Curtis, Vivaldi’s Farnace (as Berenice) (Virgin), under Diego Fasolis, Hasse’s Siroe, Re di Persia (as Emira), under George Petrou, (Christmas at San Marco (Berlin Classics), under Peter Kopp. Her recent recordings include Le Nozze di Figaro (as Cherubino) under Theodor Currentzis (Sony), Baroque Divas under George Petrou, Beethoven’s Symphony No9, under Bruno Weil (Tafelmusik Media) and Porpora’s Germanico in Germania (as Arminio), under Jan Tomasz Adamus (Decca).

Mary-Ellen Nesi has given many recitals and baroque music concerts and has premiered works by contemporary Greek composers at home and abroad.  She had founded the Opera Festival of Ancient Corinth, which staged operas inspired by ancient Greece and ancient Rome in the archeological site of Ancient Corinth (2003-2009).

Born in Montreal, Canada, of Greek parents, Mary-Ellen Nesi studied in Athens under Misa Ikeutsi, graduating with distinction. She has also studied with Ernst Haefliger in Zurich, Arrigo Pola in Modena, Frangiskos Voutsinos and Kostas Paskalis in Athens.

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