Serena in Porgy and Bess 2023
Aida in AIDA
Soprano Michelle Johnson, a Grand Prize Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions where she was described as “a clear audience favorite” (New York Times), has been lavished with praise for her “extraordinary breath control and flawless articulation… Her voice is velvety and pliant – a dulcet dream.” During the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Johnson made her Boston Lyric Opera debut singing Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, made a role debut with Opera Columbus as Tosca, sings the title role in Aida with Opera Carolina, sings Mimi in La bohème with both the Columbus Symphony and Florentine Opera, makes her Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra debut as the soprano soloist in Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and Mahler’s 4th Symphony, and joins Fort Worth Opera for their Evening of Black Excellence. In the summer of 2022, Ms. Johnson will make her debut with Des Moines Metro Opera as Bess in Porgy and Bess and in 2023, she will reprise the title role of Aida with Opera Grand Rapids, makes her Nashville Opera debut TBA, debuts the role of Serena in Porgy and Bess with North Carolina Opera and Opera Carolina, and sings as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Allentown Symphony.
Other recent engagements include Ms. Johnson’s house and role debut with Chicago Opera Theater as Zemfira in Aleko, a featured soloist performance with Madison Symphony Orchestra, a debut with Waterbury Symphony for their Holiday Pops and a return to Chautauqua to perform Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. During the 2020-2021 season, Ms. Johnson was slated to make her Allentown Symphony, Florentine Opera, Opera on the James and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia debuts (COVID19). Instead, she joined Opera Tampa as Leonora in Il trovatore, and Opera Delaware for a concert of Shakespeare selections.
A favorite of many houses, Ms. Johnson made recent returns to Lyric Fest for “I Hear America Singing”, Sarasota Opera as Madame Lidoine in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, and Boston Landmark Orchestra as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Ms. Johnson has also made a name for herself as one of the most in demand Aidas in the opera world today, performing Verdi’s tragic heroine with Glimmerglass Music Festival, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Columbus, Knoxville Opera, Opera Idaho, and Sarasota Opera, among others. Ms. Johnson’s debut with Columbus Symphony as soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem was highly praised, and her collaboration with Madison Opera as Santuzza in their most recent production of Cavalleria Rusticana was given rave reviews.
Past opera credits include Leonora in Il trovatore most recently with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Minnie in La Fanciulla del West with Kentucky Opera, Élisabeth de Valois in Don Carlos with Sarasota Opera, the title role in Manon Lescaut and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Opera Philadelphia, and Mimi in La bohème with both Annapolis Opera and PortOpera. Her concert and solo credits include the soprano solo in Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Boston Philharmonic, an all-French Opera concert with Maestro Michel Plasson in Montpellier, France, the soprano soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem with Juneau Symphony, and an all Verdi concert with The Princeton Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Rossen Milanov. Adept in non-standard repertoire as well, Ms. Johnson performed the title role in the rarely performed Sakuntala with Teatro Grattacielo along with numerous other contemporary works.
A graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Boston University Opera Institute, and New England Conservatory, Ms. Johnson was seen as the title role in Suor Angelica, Leonora in Oberto, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, the Countess in Capriccio, and Alice Ford in Falstaff during her educational tenure. In addition to winning a Grand Prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms.Johnson has also graced the winner’s circle of the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation and the Giulio Gari Foundation.