Biography

INDIRA MAHAJAN

Marian Anderson Award-winning soprano Indira Mahajan is in demand by opera companies, orchestras and recital presenters worldwide. Praised for her “strongly centered, richly textured soprano” by New York Magazine and her “poignant soprano” for her moving portrayals by The New York Times, the versatile soprano has appeared in venues from Brazil to Russia, and from Japan to Austria in addition to performing in her native New York City.

One of the finest interpreters of the role of Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Indira Mahajan has received international acclaim for her many performances. The Tageblatt, wrote of her performance at the Grand Théâtre in Luxembourg, “Thanks to her virtuosity in the soaring, vibrant, distinctively striking timbre, Indira Mahajan was absolutely radiant as a graceful, seductive but also vulnerable Bess.”

The 2018-19 season Miss Mahajan returns to Fort Worth Opera for performances as Bess in Francesca Zambello’s production of Porgy and Bess where she performed the role in the production debut with the Washington National Opera. She will also perform the role in concert in the Czech Republic with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming performances also include a return to the United Nations where she will perform excerpts from Aida, Madama Butterfly and La Bohème. She will also perform as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor, K.626 at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York, as well as soprano soloist in a 9/11 Memorial Concert with the Schiller Institute of New York featuring actor Ed Asner. She will return with them to Carnegie Hall as a featured artist. Ms. Mahajan will perform in a Benefit Concert for Lincoln Center’s Meet the Artist Program hosted by the Ambassador of Liechtenstein and the Revival of Classical Culture. She will perform the works of Puccini in a concert sponsored by the Princeton Friends of Opera and perform in Concert at the Morgan Park Summer Music Festival in New York. Ms. Mahajan will perform as soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Op. 80 and Mass in C major, Op. 86. She will appear in a concert on a recital series, “Bach to the Future” in New York followed by performances as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, HWV 56.

The 2016-17 season Indira Mahajan performed excerpts from Verdi’s Aida at Carnegie Hall in a Memorial Tribute to Sylvia Olden Lee with the Schiller Institute. Concert work included appearances as Soprano Soloist in Mozart’s Requiem dedicated to the victims of 9/11 which was televised live in New York, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Handel’s Messiah. Miss Mahajan also reprised the title role Madama Butterfly with MidAtlantic Opera.

During the 2014-15 season Indira Mahajan performed the role Bess in Porgy in Bess in a series of performances in Russia in the cities of Moscow, Perm and Ekaterinburg. She continued singing the role in performances at The Grand Théâtre de Geneva, Switzerland, The Chassè Theater, Breda, Netherlands and Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France. Indira Mahajan joined the roster of Lyric Opera of Chicago for their production Porgy and Bess for the role of Bess.

Miss Mahajan added the title role of Verdi’s Aida to her repertoire performing with the Dayton Opera, where she previously performed the title roles of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Bohéme and Nedda in I Pagliacci. She also performed the role of Bess in a staged production at the Landestheater Linz in Austria and at the Festival de Wiltz in Luxembourg.

Concert engagements during the 2014-15 season for Indira Mahajan included appearances as a guest artist with the Klangvokal Musikfestival Dortmund in a concert entitled, “American Nights” at the Konzerthaus Dortmund as well as performing in a Benefit Concert in Upstate New York.

The 2012-13 season, Miss Mahajan performed the role of Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the Teatro di San Carlo in Italy, in concert at the Malta Arts Festival as well as performances of the role for the first time in South America when she joined conductor Marin Alsop, in her inaugural season as Music Director of the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, for performances of the Porgy and Bess Suite. She was also heard in recital at Kentucky State University with pianist Cliff Jackson.

The Washington Post reviewed her first performances of the role as “sung with brilliance and ardor,” in the Francesca Zambello production at the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera. Of her appearance in the Dallas Opera production, Opera News wrote “Bess, Indira Mahajan, looked sassy and sexy in her red dress and hit high notes with accuracy and daring.”

As Bess, she has also received international acclaim she has traveled to Europe for performances in France at the Opéra Comique in Paris and the Théâtre de Caen; to Germany for performances at the Staatsoper Hannover, Opera Frankfurt, Deutsches Theater München, Oper Leipzig, Kölner Philharmonie, Komische Oper Berlin, and the Congress Centrum in Hamburg; to the Benelux countries for appearances at the Koninklijk Theater Carré in Amsterdam and at the Grand Théâtre in Luxembourg, as well as festivals in the Canary Islands, Granada, Romania and Tokyo, Japan.

The soprano has appeared in the title role at theaters throughout Italy including the Teatro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi in Trieste, Teatro Lirio in Cagliari, Teatro Messimo Bellini in Catania and the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples.

She has also performed the title role in concert with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi, and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. The soprano has performed Gershwin concerts with the Baltimore Symphony, the San Diego Symphony and with Bobby McFerrin in her debut with the New York Philharmonic, She joined Sir Willard White in a New Year’s Eve Gala at the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Miss Mahajan’s orchestral repertoire extends from works in the Baroque and Classical periods to the foremost composers of today. She performed Steven Stucky’s riveting oratorio August 4, 1964 with the Dallas Symphony conducted by Jaap van Zweden with performances at the Meyerson Symphony Hall in Dallas and at Carnegie Hall. The recording of the work is distributed by Naxos. George

Indira Mahajan was featured in Opera News for her performances of the title role in Joplin’s full-length work Treemonisha. Having first performed Treemonisha in Costa Rica, she also appeared in the role with The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra conducted by Joplin scholar Rick Benjamin at both the Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco and at the Carlsen Center in Kansas.

In demand as a concert artist by internationally-celebrated orchestras, she performed Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 with Gustavo Dudamel’s Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Caracas and with the Korean Broadcast Symphony Orchestra at the United Nations, and Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica.

The soprano performed repertoire ranging from Handel’s Messiah to an all-Gershwin program in performances with the Colorado Symphony. The Sioux City Symphony also engaged her for the Messiah, with a re-engagement for a chamber concert including Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, op. 52. New York audiences have enjoyed her performances of Bach’s B minor Mass (BWV 232) and the Magnificat (BWV 243), the Brahms and Fauré Requiems, Mozart’s “Coronation” Mass in C (K.317) and Exsultate, jubilate (K. 165), as well as Orff’s fiery Carmina Burana. She was invited to be the featured guest artist in the Alabama Symphony’s festive New Year’s Eve Gala. With the Colorado Chamber Orchestra, the soprano gave her first performances of Harbison’s The Flight into Egypt and Previn’s Honey and Rue, a work that she repeated in a piano-version as part of her debut recital at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Indira Mahajan has also appeared in recital at Kentucky State University and in a benefit recital for Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS in New York.

Indira Mahajan’s operatic repertoire spans an equally wide range; from Italian chestnuts to contemporary American opera. Puccini heroines have played a significant role in the soprano’s career. Miss Mahajan was named both the New York City Opera Debut Artist of the year and the Maria Callas Debut Award recipient from the Dallas Opera for her portrayal of Musetta in La bohéme. As a result, the soprano was also invited to sing; ‘Quando me’n vo’ in the prestigious Richard Tucker Gala at Lincoln Center.

She also performed the role in staged productions at Orlando Opera, Opera Omaha, with Houston’s Opera Ebony and on a national tour under the auspices of the New York City Opera’s National Company. Miss Mahajan was invited to perform the role at Royal Albert Hall in the United Kingdom. The production of La bohème was directed by three-time Olivier Award- winning director Francesca Zambello and conducted by David Parry. The soprano has also performed the title roles in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at Arizona Opera and Cedar Rapids Opera where it was recorded live in HD by Iowa Public Television and Suor Angelica in Jay Lesenger’s production at Chautauqua Opera. Opera audiences also enjoyed a New York City performance of Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.

Critics reported that as Lucia di Lammermoor, “Indira Mahajan, was no ordinary singer at all, but one of those extraordinary performers who, as they say, have ‘got it all together’…Most impressive, Mahajan has that rare ability to make each vocal flourish, each musical embellishment seem an extension, even a revelation, of Lucia’s poetic, tormented character. Moreover, the lady sings from her heart.” She performed Verdi’s Violetta in La traviata for the first time at the Ash Lawn Festival and repeated the role with the Bridgeport Symphony conducted by the distinguished conductor Gustav Meier.

Indira Mahajan, a native of New York City, began violin studies at the age of five. Creating and performing leading roles in contemporary operas has drawn upon her extensive musical studies. The soprano created the featured role of Mordeen in the first fully-staged production of Frank Lewin’s opera Burning Bright in Princeton, New Jersey. She performed excerpts of Richard Strauss’ Capriccio and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Colorado Music Festival, roles that she anticipates performing in their entirety in future seasons. Early in her career she performed Teresa I in Virgil Thompson’s Four Saints in Three Acts, and performed leading roles in two Metropolitan Opera Guild productions in New York: Different Fields by Mike Reid and First Up Opera. While an apprentice, she was cast as Moppet in the Glimmerglass production of Paul Bunyan. The Britten opera was eventually mounted by the New York City Opera and telecast nationwide “Live From Lincoln Center.”

Miss Mahajan first came to public attention as a graduate student at Mannes College of Music in New York City performing Sandrina in La Finta Giardiniera. The New York Post reported that she handled “Mozart’s vehement demands confidently.” She later performed Mozart’s Donna Elvira at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, at Virginia Opera, and at Dallas Opera in Don Giovanni performances conducted by Music Director Graeme Jenkins. Additionally she performed Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at both Virginia Opera and Opera Carolina. In the Baroque repertoire, she has portrayed the title role of Esther in New York performances of the rarely-performed Handel opera, and appeared in Semele in performances conducted by Joel Revzen.

In addition to her Master of Music degree from Mannes College of Music mentioned above, Indira Mahajan holds a Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a Diploma from the Accademia Musicale Ottorino Respighi. Miss Mahajan dedicated her Marian Anderson Award to her mentor Betty Allen, the late director of The Harlem School for the Arts, and her mother, mezzo-soprano Barbara Mahajan. She has received many other vocal awards including a Richard Gold Career Grant, First Prize in the Charlie Parker Music and More Classical Vocal Awards, First Place in the Eastern Division of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Second Place Award in the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Awards, the University Scholars Award at the New School for Social Research, Third Prize in the New York YWCA Studio Competition, and the Sally Van Lier/Harlem School of the Arts Fellowship for Advanced Study, in addition to the New York City Opera Debut Artist Award and Dallas Opera’s Maria Callas Award.

October 2018