Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, mezzo-soprano Mary Burke Barber, “reveals [her] powerfully rich voice of regal warmth and strength” (critic Patrick D. McCoy). She has performed internationally, having made her debut with the Singapore Lyric Opera Orchestra in 2015. Mary made her operatic debut as Hänsel in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with the Peabody Opera Department in 2016. She has since performed the roles of Chérubin (Chérubin, 2018), Drei Knabe (Die Zauberflöte, 2021) and reprised Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel, 2021).
This upcoming Winter Season 2024, Mary will return to Sarasota Opera as a Studio Artist, participating in the productions of Georges Bizet’s Carmen and Joseph Haydn’s L’infedelta Delusa. The Winter of 2023, Mary joined Sarasota Opera as an Apprentice Artist. The Fall of 2022, she joined the Westminster Opera Theater at Rider University as a guest artist to perform the role of Barigoule in a production of Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon. The Summer of 2022 brought Mary to Vienna, Austria to participate in the Vienna Summer Music Festival. There, she performed the role of Zerlina in W. A. Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and covered the role of Cherubino in W. A. Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro.
In 2023, Mary was awarded the Sarasota Opera Guild Ann J. O’Donnell Award for Outstanding Apprentice Artist. Additionally, she competed as a semi-finalist in the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition. In 2022, Mary received second place in the NATS Eastern Region Student Auditions (Advanced Level) and a Finalist in the MIOpera Competition. In 2021, she was a finalist in the inaugural Century Opera Competition, awarded first place in the Philadelphia Regional Round of the NATS Student Auditions, and second place in the Vienna Summer Music Festival Competition.
Mary began her musical studies at the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore, Maryland under the care of Phyllis Bryn-Julson. During her undergraduate studies, she completed a joint degree with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore, under the direction of Alan Bennett. She completed her master's degree at Peabody under the tutelage of Denyce Graves-Montgomery and Margaret Baroody in the Spring of 2018.
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