Melissa Wimbish, soprano
In the world-premiere of Josephine with UrbanArias, The Washington Post gushed, “... the afternoon belonged to Melissa Wimbish, who was creating the role of Josephine Baker in this world-premiere. Beautifully prepared, vocally stunning, and theatrically riveting, Wimbish effortlessly held the audience in her hand throughout this one-woman show.” The New York Times wrote of her “show-stealing turn as the hormonal pageboy Cherubino” in OnSite Opera’s revival of The Marriage of Figaro by Marcos Portugal. Opera News praised her “promising soprano” as Barbarina with Baltimore Opera while The Baltimore Sun echoed praise for her “bright voice” and “knack for animating phrases.” DC Metro Theater Arts found her performance as Juliette at Strathmore “especially captivating … complete with impressive vocal runs and coquettish mannerisms.” She is known for her chameleon-like vocal talent, which spans traditional, contemporary, and popular styles.
During the 2019-20 season, Melissa returns to UrbanArias to star in The Juliet Letters, a part song-cycle, part rock opera collection of musical love notes to Shakespeare’s Juliet. She is a featured soloist at the New Hampshire Music Festival in Mozart’s Grand Mass as well as the soloist in Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem with Central Maryland Chorale. Other season highlights include the world-premiere of That Which We Cannot Live Without, a song cycle for soprano and orchestra with Peabody Modern Orchestra, the US-premiere of Pablo Manavello’s El Camino de Santiago at Strathmore, guest recitalist at CCBC’s Music in the Forum series, and featured performances with her band at Rockwood Music Hall, Some Like it Hot Festival, Remington Festival, and The Ladybug Festival.
An in-demand interpreter of living work, Melissa’s résumé includes dozens of contemporary opera and art song premieres. Her Carnegie Hall solo recital debut featured works of living composers, including the world-premiere of Space in Chains by Jessica Meyer set to Laura Kasischke’s poetry. With the original cast of Paul's Case, Melissa premiered the role of History Teacher at the Prototype Festival in Gregory Spears and Kathryn Walat’s celebrated chamber opera. For her Baltimore Symphony solo debut, she wowed audiences with her staged interpretation of Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre.
At the NATS National Conference, Melissa was awarded the Grand Prize NATS Artist Award after four rounds of competition at the district, regional, and national levels. She also received the Franco-American Award for Best Interpretation of French Repertoire at the same competition. She received an award for Best Interpretation of American Song at the International Liszt-Garrison Competition. As a winner of the Vocal Arts Society Discovery Series, Melissa made her Kennedy Center recital debut at the Millennium stage followed by the Terrace Theater the following year. Other awards include the Denver Philharmonic Concerto Competition, Kennett Square Symphony Competition, Dante Alighieri Award, Denver Lyric Opera Guild Award, the Hilda Perl and Douglas Goodwin Award for Opera, and the Peabody Voice Award.
Other career highlights include her debut at the Kennedy Center Opera House in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Washington Ballet, Carmina Burana with Washington Ballet, Candide with Baltimore Symphony, and Mozart’s Requiem with Richmond Symphony. She has performed with American Opera Projects, Denver Philharmonic, National Philharmonic, American Modern Ensemble, Manchester Choral Society, The Spirituals Project, MSU Denver Symphony Orchestra, Concert Artists of Baltimore, The Occasional Symphony, and Young Artists of America at Strathmore. Operatic roles include Cunegonde (Candide), Manon (Manon), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Lady with the Cakebox (Postcard from Morocco), Micaëla (Carmen), Cherubino (The Marriage of Figaro; Marcos Portugal), Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro), Silly Baby Mouse (The Tale of the Silly Baby Mouse), Miss Rose (Lakmé), First Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Blöndchen (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), Christine (Lost Childhood; Hamer), Nancy Tuckerman (Camelot Requiem; Bornfield), Eve (Adam and Eve; Soluri), and Elle in Poulenc’s monodrama for soprano, La voix humaine.
Melissa fronts the Baroque indie-pop duo Outcalls with Britt Olsen-Ecker who have rapidly established themselves as a genre-defying powerhouse in the Baltimore music scene. Their latest album, No King, was praised in The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Magazine. Outcalls are one of 37 finalists out of over 900 applicants for the 2019 Baker Artist Award.