Vanessa Naghdi is a young Iranian-American soprano originally from the Washington, D.C. area. She is currently a Resident Young Artist with Opera Colorado. Most recently, Ms. Naghdi debuted the role of Clorinda in the premiere of the company's Cinderella touring production. She will be singing Adina in The Elixir of Love (touring production) and covering the roles of Musetta in La Bohème and Ina Soep in the world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me, as well as Nannetta in Falstaff, which she will also preform in the spring. In 2015, Ms. Naghdi joined Arizona Opera as a Teaching Artist in their Education and Outreach department. She performed Rusalka in Rusalka: The Littlest Mermaid and as herself in Opera 101 over 100 times throughout Arizona this past spring with their touring troupe, OperaTunity. Ms. Naghdi is thrilled to be a part of Opera Colorado's upcoming season.
This past summer, Ms. Naghdi created the title character in the premiere of the original chamber opera Mignon by contemporary composer William Clay with Arizona Chamber Opera. Last season, she made her operatic role debut as Amy March in Little Women as a Young Artist with Nightingale Opera Theatre in Hudson, Ohio. Ms. Naghdi then performed the role of Liat with Annapolis Opera in their production of South Pacific. In 2015, she played Sparrow and Baker in Arizona Opera Education's performance of Brundibár by Hans Krása. Ms. Naghdi had the opportunity of working with Arizona Opera early in her career through their Cover Study Program with Arizona State University. She prepared Marie in La fille du régiment, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Norina in Don Pasquale, and Musetta in La Bohème with them.
Ms. Naghdi has portrayed Nannetta in Harrower Opera’s production of Falstaff in Atlanta, Georgia. Other roles include Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Amelia in Amelia al ballo, Dew Fairy in Hansel und Gretel, and Guadalena in La Périchole. She was also Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica and Solo Angel in Die Jungfrau von Orléans as well as Zerlina in a scene from Don Giovanni with the Mittelsächsisches Theater and Philharmonic in Freiberg, Germany.
In 2013, Ms. Naghdi made her debut with Virginia Opera in their production of Camelot. A pioneer of new works, she also created the role of Diane Slawyer in the premiere of the new musical Endangered at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Off-Broadway premiere this past summer). Also that year, Ms. Naghdi performed as a soloist with the Washington Women’s Chorus Concert Series at the Strathmore Music Center.
A diverse performing artist, Ms. Naghdi made her theatrical role debut as Helen in the premiere of the musical Spellbound! with Southwest Shakespeare Company. Also on the musical theater stage, she has portrayed Christine Daaé from The Phantom of the Opera at gala events with both Arizona Opera and the Pocono Mountains Music Festival in Pennsylvania. On the concert stage, Ms. Naghdi has been the soprano soloist in Rutter's Magnificat and in excerpts from Handel's Messiah with the Valley Presbyterian Church Concert Series, for Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, and for Bach cantata Der Herr denket an uns, BWV 196. She has also sung such works as Carmina Burana with the Arizona Musicfest Orchestra.
In 2015, Ms. Naghdi won as Finalist in the Concert of Soloists Competition at Arizona State University, as well as Semi-Finalist in Phoenix Opera’s Southwest Vocal Competition. In 2013, she won Second Place in the American Prize in Opera (University Division), and was a winner of the Shirley Rabb Winston Scholarship in Voice from the National Society of Arts and Letters.
Ms. Naghdi holds a Master of Music in Opera Performance from Arizona State University in which she was the recipient of the Special Talent Award in Music and the Katherine Herberger Music Scholarship. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University.