Mezzo-soprano, Jessica Blau, is a diversely gifted performer who brings passion, precision, and wit to every performance. At home in a variety of genres, Ms. Blau offers a unique palette of cultural and linguistic nuance, informed by extensive academic study and travel both inside and outside the classical music field.
During the 2017-2018 season, she portrayed Zulma in L’Italiana in Algeri with Operativo Houston, Third Lady in Portland Opera To Go’s production of The Magic Flute, and Orestes in Offenbach’s La belle Hélène with Pocket Opera in San Francisco where she will return this summer to sing Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro.
Prior to pursuing formal vocal training, Ms. Blau obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies from Bard College, as well as a Spanish Honors Certificate from La Facultad de Comunicación in Seville, Spain. Having spent time studying and living in both Spain and Mexico, she has found a particular affinity and love for both Latin-based and Latin-inspired repertoire, which she has enjoyed performing on both concert and operatic stages.
In concert, she has performed Siete canciones populares Españolas by DeFalla, Cinco canciones populares Argentinas by Ginastera, Spanish Songs by Shostakovich, and a multitude of Spanish-inspired nineteenth century French salon songs by composers such as Massenet, Delibes, and Viardot, to name a few. In 2017, Ms. Blau made her Mexican concert debut performing the classic romanza “Al pensar en el dueño de mis amores (Carceleras),” from the zarzuela Las hijas del Zebedeo by Chapí alongside other Spanish-influenced repertoire at the Palacio del Gobierno de Sonora as a part of the Festival International del Pitic in Hermosillo, Sonora.
Operatic Spanish-language roles include Dionisia (La Curandera) with Alamo City Opera, Isabela (La hija de Rappaccini) with Moores Opera Center, and this fall she returns to Portland Opera To Go to sing the role of Rosina in a Spanish/English bilingual version of Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Ms. Blau is also experienced in modern American and English operatic repertoire, having performed the roles of Dolly Oblonski in David Carlson’s Anna Karenina, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, Meg in Little Women, and Nancy in Albert Herring. In addition, she had the privilege of originating the role of Mother Superior in the world premiere of Henry Mollicone’s Children of the Sun. Equally at home in standard operatic repertoire, she has portrayed a wide spectrum of roles including Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Nicklausse (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Mère Marie (Dialogues des Carmelites), Ruth (The Pirates of Penzance), and the title role in Carmen.
Ms. Blau has completed young artist residencies with Florentine Opera (Summer Quartet), Chicago Summer Opera, Castleton Festival, Opera in the Ozarks, and Spotlight on Opera. She holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Texas State University, San Marcos, and a Performance Certificate in Vocal Performance from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, where she studied under mezzo-soprano, Melanie Sonnenberg and director Buck Ross.
In addition to singing, Ms. Blau has spent nearly two decades studying and performing flamenco dance in New York, Florida, Texas, and Spain. She has studied with a number of master teachers including Manuel Betanzos, Aileen Passloff, and Pilar Andujar. She has danced professionally in Texas with The Spirit of Flamenco, Compañia Pilar Andujar, and Flamencura.