Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Armenian American mezzo-soprano Aria Minasian is quickly gaining recognition as a sought-after performer on the operatic stage and in concert.
Ms. Minasian is a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Washington District Winner (2019), a MONC Northwest Region Finalist (2020), and the recipient of the MONC Western Canada District Encouragement Award (2020). Other notable awards include Grand Prize Winner of the Patricia Crump Vocal Competition (2023), Encouragement Award in the Sam Vitale & Aaron Caruso Neapolitan Song Competition (2023), 1st Place in the Friends of Opera Competition (2022), 2nd Place in the Seattle Opera Guild's Singers' Development Awards (2020), Semi-Finalist for The American Prize in Chamber Music in the Professional Division (2020), and finalist in Eugene Opera's Vocal Competition (2019).
Ms. Minasian is delighted to begin the 2023-2024 season with her role debut as Zita in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, directed by Mo Zhou and conducted by Maestro Kirk Severtson. Aria will be performing in numerous concerts, including two recitals with collaborative pianist John Morefield featuring works by Duparc, de Falla, Clara Schumann, and more. In March 2024, Ms. Minasian will be starring as the title role in Kevin Puts' Elizabeth Cree, conducted by Maestro Kirk Severtson and directed by Gregory Keller at Mendelssohn Theater. Additionally, since 2022, Aria has been thrilled to perform with Detroit Opera in their touring ensemble and outreach concerts.
The 2022-2023 season proved to be deeply artistically fulfilling, as Ms. Minasian’s repertoire covered the classics to brand new works and premieres. Aria made her company debut with Pacific Symphony in their production of Verdi’s Rigoletto as Giovanna, conducted by Maestro Carl St. Clair and directed by Kathleen Belcher at Segerstrom Hall. Ms. Minasian’s highly anticipated role debut as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni was hailed to be the “favorite all-around performance...for her ability to embody both the humor and the darker, more painful emotions of [Donna Elvira’s] story” (Arts at Michigan), conducted by legendary Maestro Martin Katz and stage direction of Mo Zhou. Following the success of Don Giovanni, Aria was honored to collaborate with Tom Cipullo on his new opera Hobson’s Choice, in which she workshop premiered the role of Maggie Hobson, directed by Kathleen Belcher and conducted by Maestro Kirk Severtson. Ms. Minasian was delighted to work with Roberto Sierra in his large chamber work I Am Carmen Miranda as Carmen Miranda with the Contemporary Directions Ensemble conducted by Maestro Jayce Ogren. Ms. Minasian performed the role of the Forester's Wife and The Owl in Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen in Czech under the direction of Tara Faircloth and Maestro Kirk Severtson at the Power Center. Ms. Minasian was also chosen to be a Vocal Fellow for international star baritone Thomas Hampson in his American Song Institute and then performed in a concert for the Singing Justice Research Initiative in Royal Oak, Michigan, featuring works by African American composers and poets.
The 2021-2022 season began with Ms. Minasian premiering Grammy Award-Winning composer Christopher Theofanidis' work Door Out of the Fire, performing as the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, with the University of Michigan Chamber Choir conducted by Dr. Eugene Rogers. Ms. Minasian returned to the operatic stage in the role of Madame de la Haltière in Massenet's Cendrillon under the baton of Maestro Kirk Severtson and stage direction of Dr. Abbigail Coté. In the spring of 2022, Ms. Minasian performed the role of Aunt Lou in William Grant Still's opera Highway 1, USA under the direction of Danielle Wright and Maestro Kirk Severtson in Mendelssohn Theater (canceled due to Covid-19). Other operatic performances included scenes performances as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther, Octavian in Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, and the title role in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur. Ms. Minasian was featured in numerous other concerts and recitals, including the University of Michigan Symphony Band as the mezzo-soprano soloist for Stephenson's Symphony No. 2, working with the composer and Maestro Michael Haithcock in the spring. In July of 2022, Aria performed in Singing Down the Barriers Concert & Workshop, which featured works by African American composers, as well as research and workshops on the history of these works and composers.
Aria's 2018-2019 season featured her debut of Olga in Eugene Onegin with Russian Opera Workshop directed by the late Ghena Meirson, and Dorabella in Mozart's Così fan tutte with Lawrence University Opera for their spring scenes performance. Ms. Minasian was a Principal Artist at Utah Valley Operafest (formerly UVAA) performing Mercédès in Bizet's Carmen under the baton of Maestro Nicholas Giusti and direction of Anthony Laciura, as well as performing numerous opera scenes. Previously, Aria was a Studio Artist at Utah Valley Operafest as Olga in Lehar's The Merry Widow and in the chorus of Don Giovanni in 2017.
Ms. Minasian has been selected for numerous masterclasses with international stars Thomas Hampson, Florence Quivar, Myra Huang, Mark Rucker, Dale Duesing, Deborah Voigt, John Holiday, Peter Randsman, Darryl Taylor, and Katherine Jolly. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Aria was chosen to perform in Grammy Award-Winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard's "Isa Chats" online as one of ten performers from all over the world.
In the spring and summer of 2021, Aria worked with Dr. Louise Toppin and Dr. Sara Chiesa to make recordings of several art songs for Classical Vocal Reprints' An Anthology of African and African Diaspora Songs to be featured on Thomas Hampson's Song of America and the African Diaspora Music Project, a database for resources, history, and encouragement to explore and perform more of these composers and their works.
Highlights from the 2020-2021 season featured Aria's return to the role of Dorabella in Mozart's Così fan tutte with Mozart Concert Opera, Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice conducted by Maestro Timothy Cheek, and Taller Daughter in Missy Mazzoli's opera Proving Up with libretto by Royce Vavrek, which was directed by Dr. Abbigail Coté and conducted by Maestro Kirk Severtson with University of Michigan Opera.
Under the direction of Copeland Woodruff, Ms. Minasian performed the demanding role of The Celebrant from Bernstein's Mass, a role written for and traditionally sung by a baritone or tenor. The production, performed at Lawrence University Opera, collaborated with actor Robert Schleifer, with all performers signing in American Sign Language. Following the success of the production, Mass was awarded 3rd place in The American Prize in Opera Performance in the college/university division 2019-2020, and 3rd Place in the National Opera Association's Opera Production Competition in the Undergraduate Division IV.
Prior to studying opera, Aria trained as a classical pianist for over a decade, winning several competitions, before finding her passion for opera as she entered college. Ms. Minasian has an extensive background in vocal pedagogy, receiving her training from Professor Ken Bozeman and Professor Joanne Bozeman in vocal acoustics and pedagogy, and Dr. Karen Leigh-Post in studies on the brain and mind-body relationship, and optimal performance.
Ms. Minasian will receive her Specialist of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, & Dance in the spring of 2024, where she graduated with her Master's degree in April of 2022, under the tutelage of mezzo-soprano Freda Herseth. Aria graduated from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, cum laude, with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, studying with tenor Steven Spears from 2015-2017 as a coloratura soprano and then transitioned to mezzo-soprano in the studio of soprano Joanne Bozeman.
When Aria is not on the stage or practicing, she enjoys time with friends and family, practicing yoga, going on hikes with her two dogs, and is a deeply committed Mariners baseball fan.