Die Walkure, The Miami Wagner Institute
"Helena Brown’s Sieglinde [was an] extravagant display of tragic ferocity.”
- Suzanne James, The Sophia News
Lauded as having a "stunningly large round sound," as well as a “steely, velvety” timbre, American soprano, Helena Brown, is quickly distinguishing herself as a force of nature for the international stages. She was recently awarded the Sergio Franchi Award in the Deborah Voigt/Vero Beach Opera Competition, Second Place in the Young Patronesses of the Opera/Florida Grand Opera Vocal Competition, as well as awards from the Cooper-Bing, Opera at Florham, Opera Birmingham, and Opera Ebony Benjamin Matthews vocal competitions. Helena additionally received grants from the Gerda Lissner Foundation, Giulio Gari Foundation, and Encouragement Grants from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Philadelphia, Jensen Foundation, the Wagner Society of New York, and the MetroWest Opera Vocal Competition in Boston. Helena was a member of Sarasota Opera for their 2017 winter season as a Studio Artist, covering the role of Madame Lidoine (New Prioress) in the Dialogues of the Carmelites. That summer, she returned to the Glimmerglass Festival to sing Isabella in the American premiere of The Siege of Calais and covered Serena in Porgy and Bess. Last season, Helena made her role debuts as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Rioja Lirica/DIVAria Productions and Sieglinde in Die Walküre with Miami Wagner Institute. For the 2018-2019 season, she will reprise the role of Donna Elvira with Rioja Lirica/DIVAria Productions and debut the role of Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia with New Camerata Opera.
Formerly a mezzo-soprano, Helena was a young artist at the 2016 Glimmerglass Festival where she performed Rebecca Nurse and covered Tituba under the baton of Nicole Paiement in Francesca Zambello’s acclaimed production of The Crucible. She made her European debut as Serena and Strawberry Woman in Porgy & Bess with New York Harlem Productions, appearing in theaters such as Grand Théâtre de Genève, Chassé Theater, and Amsterdam RAI. Additionally, Helena appeared with Minnesota Opera, performing Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos; portrayed Bloody Mary in South Pacific at Opera Roanoke; sang Addie in Regina and Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring at Bronx Opera; covered Mama McCourt in Ballad of Baby Doe with Chautauqua Opera; and covered Grandmother Buryjovka in Jenůfa with Des Moines Metro Opera, where she also appeared in scenes concerts as Dalila in Samson et Dalila, Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, Martha in Faust, and Filippyevna in Eugene Onegin.
As a Masters student at Manhattan School of Music, Helena Brown performed the roles of the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel, Klementia in Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna, Madame Halitiere in Cendrillon, Queen Jezebel and Angel in Elijah, and in Mignon Dunn’s beloved scenes program, played Martha in Faust, Leonora in La Favorita, and Erste Magd in Elektra. She also appeared at the Crittenden Opera Festival as La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica and Marcellina in scenes from Le Nozze di Figaro.
No stranger to contemporary music, Helena has premiered compositions as well as principal roles in opera and theater. Notably, she collaborated with Rebecca Erin Smith in the premiere of Feast for Pierrot ensemble at Manhattan School of Music. Helena also performed the actor-singer role of Mother in Bellocq’s Ophelia, written by U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, which was presented in festival at the Kennedy Center.
Helena holds a Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Music, Summa Cum Laude, from Hollins University where she also studied arts management and theatre.