Hailing from Harrisburg, PA mezzo-soprano Hannah Shea currently resides in Washington, DC where she is a Cafritz Young Artist at Washington National Opera (WNO). Ms. Shea made her Kennedy Center debut as a featured soloist on the 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors broadcast to honor bass-baritone Justino Díaz. In the 2021-2022 season Ms. Shea made her WNO debut as Mercédès in Carmen and also covered Dorabella in Così fan tutte. Other season highlights include appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra as the alto soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and a workshop of Jeanine Tesori’s new work Grounded with the Metropolitan Opera in partnership with WNO. She will return to Washington National Opera this fall to sing the Third Maid in Strauss’ Elektra, directed by Francesca Zambello.
In the spring of 2022 Hannah was named the first prize winner of the Annapolis Opera Competition. She has been a finalist in other prestigious competitions such as Houston Grand Opera’s (HGO) 2021 Eleanor McCollum Competition, Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s 2020 Mildred Miller International Voice Competition, and the 2020 Houston Saengerbund Awards.
An alumna of the HGO Young Artist Vocal Academy (2019), Hannah has since performed in HGO’s virtual outreach production of Katie: The Strongest of the Strong by Faye Chiao in the fall of 2020.
During her studies at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Ms. Shea sang the La tasse chinoise in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and Nelda in Kamala Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents. She also appeared as the title role in scenes from Bizet’s Carmen and Federico Moreno Torroba’s Luisa Fernanda.
A lover of new music, Ms. Shea premiered Songs of Strength, a song cycle dedicated to her previous voice teacher, mezzo-soprano Mildred Miller. In 2019 the work was commissioned, premiered, and recorded by her alma mater Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), composed by Marilyn Taft Thomas, and features the poetry of Maya Angelou.
Photograph by Stephanie Sedlbauer
Other concert works include performances as the alto soloist in Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky (CMU), Handel’s Messiah (Bach Choir of Pittsburgh), and as a Street Singer in Bernstein’s Mass (Brevard Music Center). Previous operatic roles include the Third Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Fidalma in Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto, and Prince Orlofsky in J. Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, all performed with the CMU School of Music. She has also covered the roles of the Old Lady in Bernstein’s Candide (Brevard Music Center), and the title role in Handel’s Xerxes (Pittsburgh Festival Opera).
Ms. Shea holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University where she studied with acclaimed mezzo-soprano Mildred Miller, and received a Master of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where she studied with Dr. Robin Rice.