Making her mark as an “especially impressive” (The New York Times) soprano, Australian/American Nola Richardson has won First Prize in all three major American competitions focused on the music of J.S. Bach (Bethlehem Bach, 2016; Audrey Rooney Bach, 2018; Grand Rapids Symphony Linn Maxwell Keller Award, 2019). These honors have catapulted her to the forefront of Baroque ensembles and orchestras around the country, where she has been praised for her “astonishing balance and accuracy,” “crystalline diction,” and “natural-sounding ease” (Washington Post).
In concert, Nola’s repertoire ranges from medieval to contemporary works – including several world premieres — and she has been particularly noted for her interpretations of Bach, Handel, and Mozart. Recent seasons have featured her debuts with the Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Colorado Symphonies in performances of Handel’s Messiah in which she was described as “agile and crystalline-voiced…a stand-out” (Seattle Times). Her debut in Bach’s Coffee Cantata with Philharmonia Baroque was noted for her “graceful ebullience” (San Francisco Chronicle) and performances in Handel’s La Resurrezione and a program of French Baroque music with the American Bach Soloists drew praise for her “lusciously polished…exemplary impassioned singing” (San Francisco Classical Voice). She has appeared in concert at the Lincoln Center with the American Classical Orchestra, in a Sondheim review with the Boston Pops, and has performed works of Bach with the Baltimore and Grand Rapids Symphony among other noted Baroque ensembles and choral societies.
Her operatic roles include a “standout” performance (Opera News) as the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with the Clarion Music Society, and her debut at the Kennedy Center with Opera Lafayette as Fraarte in Handel’s Radamisto drew praise for her “particularly appealing freshness and directness” (Washington Post). Most recently she has interpreted the role of Apolo in a rare performance of the Baroque Zarzuela Apolo e Dafne by Sebastián Durón and next season will feature a performance of Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum staged by Francesca Zambello with Seraphic Fire.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Richardson took part in a wide variety of virtual projects including appearances with the Atlanta Symphony in a documentary, “In the Key of Bach” led by Robert Spano, solo concerts with Musica Angelica and the Colorado Bach Ensemble, and programs with the National Cathedral, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Seraphic Fire, and Voices of Ascension. Other appearances such as a debut at the Leipzig Bach Festival 2020 as a soloist with the Bethlehem Bach Society, debuts with the Boston Early Music Festival and Ars Lyrica Houston, and concerts with the American Bach Soloists, Trinity Wall Street and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society were unfortunately cancelled or postponed.
Nola is also a devoted chamber musician and has performed, toured, and recorded with Grammy® nominated ensembles Seraphic Fire, Clarion, Musica Sacra and Trinity Wall Street. She performed as the soloist for Arvo Pärt’s Passio on tour in Russia, Estonia, and Latvia with the Yale Schola Cantorum and at the Aspen Music Festival with Seraphic Fire. She is the first and only soprano to receive the prestigious DMA degree in Early Music Voice from Yale, where she attended the Institute of Sacred Music. Her upcoming season will include performances with the American Bach Soloists, the Kansas City and Grand Rapids Symphonies, Musica Angelica, Seraphic Fire, and debuts with Ars Lyrica Houston, and the Tuscon Baroque Music Festival.