Aria Minasian

Aria Minasian
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. 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 1st Place in the Friends of Opera Competition (2022), 2nd Place in the Seattle Opera Guild's Singers' Development Awards (2020), and a finalist in Eugene Opera's Vocal Competition (2019).  

Minasian is honored to begin the 2022-23 season as a Vocal Fellow for Thomas Hampson's American Song Initiative in September. Next, Minasian will be performing in a concert for the Singing Justice Research Initiative in Royal Oak, Michigan, featuring works by African American composers and poets. On the operatic stage, Minasian will perform in Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen in Czech as the Forester's Wife and The Owl with University of Michigan Opera under the direction of Tara Faircloth and Maestro Kirk Severtson at the Power Center in November. This December, Minasian will be the soloist in Roberto Sierra's large chamber work I am Carmen Miranda with the Contemporary Directions Ensemble conducted by Maestro Jayce Ogren. Minasian will be performing the role of Donna Elvira in Mozart's iconic opera Don Giovanni conducted by Maestro Martin Katz and directed by Mo Zhou at Mendelssohn Theater in March. In April, Minasian will be performing as Maggie Hobson in the world premiere of Tom Cipullo's new opera Hobson's Choice conducted by Maestro Kirk Severtson and directed by Kathleen Belcher, in which Minasian is delighted to be working with Mr. Cipullo leading up to this premiere. Next, Minasian will be making her Pacific Symphony debut as Giovanna in Verdi's Rigoletto under the baton of Maestro Carl St. Clair and stage direction of Kathleen Belcher.

 The 2021-22 season began with Minasian premiering Grammy Award-Winning composer Christopher Theofanidis' work Door Out of the Fire, as the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, with the University of Michigan Chamber Choir conducted by Dr. Eugene Rogers. 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, 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. 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, conducted by Maestro Kirk Severtson and directed by Dr. Abbigail Cote. 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, Minasian 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. Throughout the summer and fall of 2022, Minasian was thrilled to perform with Detroit Opera in their outreach concerts.

Highlights from the 2020-21 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, 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, which was 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, as well as 3rd Place in the National Opera Association's Opera Production Competition in the Undergraduate Division IV.

Minasian's unique voice renders her well-fit for a large variety of roles and repertoire including musical theater, jazz, and contemporary works, such as Lang Chen's world premiere of Chamber Symphony in Vienna, Austria in 2017, and Dater #22 and #25 in Michael Ching's opera Speed Dating Tonight! Minasian was a semi-finalist for The American Prize in Chamber Music in the Professional Division in 2020 with her performance of a scene from Mazzoli's 2012 opera Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt.

In the summer of 2019, Minasian was a Principal Artist at Utah Lyric Opera's Utah Vocal Arts Academy (UVAA) performing Mercédès in Bizet's Carmen under the baton of Maestro Nicholas Giusti and direction of Metropolitan Opera tenor Anthony Laciura, and performed scenes as Romeo in Bellini's I capuleti e i montecchi under the direction of Anthony Buck. Previously, Minasian was a Studio Artist at UVAA as Olga in Lehar's The Merry Widow and in the chorus of Don Giovanni in 2017.

The 2018 season brought Aria's 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.

Minasian has been selected for numerous masterclasses with international stars Thomas Hampson, Florence Quivar, 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.

Prior to studying opera, Minasian trained as a classical pianist for over a decade, winning several competitions, before finding her passion for opera as she entered college. Minasian has an extensive background in vocal pedagogy, receiving her training from Professor Ken Bozeman and Joanne Bozeman in vocal acoustics and pedagogy, and Dr. Karen Leigh-Post in studies on the brain and mind-body relationship, and optimal performance

 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 transitioning to mezzo-soprano in the studio of soprano Joanne Bozeman.

When Minasian 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 longtime Mariners baseball fan.