Beyond the Bio: Soprano Joanna Mongiardo Joins Athlone Artists

“You could hardly begrudge [Nemorino] spending his last lira on a sham draft of desire. And all the more so given the surrounding cast, with Joanna Mongiardo’s Adina delivered with style and luster.” The Boston Globe, Jeremy Eichler’s review of L’elisir d’amore at Boston Midsummer Opera

Joanna Mongiardo doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t singing. The soprano was recently recognized as “a triumph” by Opera News for her portrayal of Rosalina in Teatro Gratticielo’s Il Re at Lincoln Center, “effortlessly negotiating the fiorature, extended trills and stratospheric high notes” of the role, and BachTrack has cited her “smooth, plummy, seamlessly blended soprano and fluid coloratura.

In recent seasons Joanna has brought the “energy and charm [of] her delicious  Blonde” (ForumOpera Magazine) to more than thirty performances of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, including productions at Grande Théâtre de Genève, Opéra Nice Côte d’Azur, and Deutsche Oper am Rhein – the company with whom she began her professional career and has performed numerous leading roles including Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, Nannetta in Falstaff, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro

Joanna has been seen on concert stages from Bellingham, Washington, to Shanghai, China, and has performed her signature role as soloist in Carmina Burana with more than fifteen orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, and Oratorio Society of New York. 

To boot, Joanna has just released her first solo album, Evermore on Crossover Records, recorded live at Opera America.  

Joanna grew up in Montclair, New Jersey immersed in her family’s Italian and Greek-Armenian culture. She credits her supportive parents with instilling in her a deep love of family, food, and music. “I always loved singing,” Joanna says. “And my parents always fostered that love.” As a child, she fondly remembers several family trips to see shows on Broadway. When she was just eleven years old, Joanna was cast in her first production, playing Marta in The Sound of Music. It was there that she met Donna Jeanne Schutz (Turnell). “She was playing the role of Mother Abbess,” recalls Joanna. “And she approached my parents and said, ‘your daughter has a real gift and think we should give her some voice lessons.’” They heartily agreed, and Turnell became Joanna’s first voice teacher. “She had me vocalizing to high C’s and beyond,” recalls Joanna. “I was only twelve, and I was already in love with opera.” 

Joanna has continued to maintain a close relationship with Turnell and others who have helped her along her career path, which has included a music degree from the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins and a master’s degree from Yale. “These relationships are very important,” says Joanna. “It really does take a village. I’ve been so lucky to have the right people in my corner – people whom I can trust. People who have helped me figure out this business, both technically and emotionally.”

Early in her career, Joanna was hired by Deutsche Oper am Rhein. “It was sort of indoctrination by fire,” says Joanna. “It was really intimidating at first, but they guided me through. The company became like a second family for me. My time as a fest singer there culminated in my role debut as Sophie in Der Rosenkavelier – I loved singing the role and that opera is magic!” 

Though she loved her time in Germany – and always welcomes the opportunity to return to Europe – Joanna decided to make her permanent residence back in the United States. Between singing engagements, she cherishes time spent with family, cultivates her Mediterranean roots through cooking, and is an avid reader and yogi. She also serves on the board of the Chappaqua School Foundation, helping to provide grants for innovative school projects. 

All the while, Joanna has maintained a reputation in the operatic and orchestral world for “her acting and rock-solid technique” (Boston Music Intelligencer) and her “solid technique, musicality and stage control” (Opus Magazine). She made her debut with Charis Chamber Voices in Schubert’s Mirjams Siegesgesang in May 2022; performed in recital with Novus NY; was heard as the soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the National Chorale in 2021; and has performed works by Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Mahler and Schumann with the symphonies of Pittsburgh, San Diego, Indianapolis, Oregon, and Greater Bridgeport, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, under the batons of Charles Dutoit, Philippe Auguin, Jonathan Darlington, John Fiore, Leopold Hager, Neemi Jarvi, JoAnn Falletta and Carlos Miguel Prieto. In the fall of 2019, she was invited to perform as a part of New York City Opera’s 75th Anniversary celebration. 

Mongiardo counts among her career highlights her Dallas Opera debut as Brigitta in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta; and singing the roles of La Prima Elfe in Respighi’s La campagna sommersa with New York City Opera; Fata Azzurra in Respighi’s La bella addormentata nel bosco with Teatro Grattacielo; Cinna in Mozart’s Lucio Silla with Odyssey Opera; Juliette in Roméo et Juliette with Dayton Opera and Madison Opera; Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress with Toledo Opera; and the title roles of Rossini’s Semiramide with Opéra Nice Côte d’Azur and Flotow’s Martha with Boston Midsummer Opera. A favorite of Central City Opera, Mongiardo has been seen in the roles of Eurydice in Orpheus in the Underworld, Thérèse in Les Mamelles de Tirésias, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. She also sang the title role in the company’s 50th Anniversary production of The Ballad of Baby Doe, about which Opera News wrote, “Petite, with a theater-filling smile, Mongiardo radiated warmth through her unforced, pearly-fresh timbre.”

“The reason I have continued down this path,” says Joanna, “is because singing brings me so much joy. I love it. I feel at home when I’m singing. There’s no greater feeling than when the orchestra starts playing and you know that they’re going to lift you up and carry you through. It is a privilege to be able to do this.”