Soprano Sara LeMesh, hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “powerhouse performance of vocal majesty and expressive translucency,” is a dramatic presence on the opera stage, an avid chamber musician, and an advocate of contemporary music. One of her recent triumphs was with West Edge Opera where she starred as Bess McNeill in the West Coast premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s award-winning opera, Breaking the Waves. The San Francisco Classical Voice called her performance an “extraordinary realization of Bess” with “singing [which] soars and swoons.” Opera News lauded her “mesmerizing” performance during which she “projected the character’s anguish, fervency, and increasingly fragile emotional state” in an “urgent, tonally secure and affectingly plangent vocal performance.”
LeMesh has performed throughout the United States and Europe at venues and festivals including The Morgan Library & Museum, Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, American Bach Soloists, and International Summer Academy of the Mozarteum Salzburg. While at Tanglewood, she was a soloist in Berlioz’s Les nuits d'été under the baton of Stéphane Denève and co-premiered Folk Songs by Bernard Rands. She is also a regular soloist at Bard Music West in San Francisco where she has performed Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, George Crumb’s Apparition, Copland’s Dickinson Songs, and works by Henry Cowell, William Grant Still, and Grażyna Bacewicz. Recent opera roles include Zerlina in Mozart's Don Giovanni with Pocket Opera (San Francisco, CA) Norina in Rossini’s Don Pasquale with the Mendocino Music Festival (Mendocino, California) and Juno in Marais’s Sémélé with the American Bach Soloists (San Francisco, CA).
With pianist Allegra Chapman, LeMesh performs in the duo Chordless, creating unique spaces to explore and appreciate music that has historically been ignored or is brand new. In February 2020, the duo produced a “heartbreakingly beautiful” (San Francisco Chronicle) music video for the final movement of George Crumb's “Apparition.” The film received international recognition and was an official selection in the Tokyo International Short Film Festival and Montreal Independent Film Festival. It was also a finalist in the Seattle Film Festival and Hudson Valley Film Fest.
In the summer of 2021, LeMesh relocated to Jerusalem, Israel in order to deepen her understanding of Jewish sacred and popular music. She studied at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and received a fellowship with T'ruah, a rabbinic rights organization. During her time in Israel, she also visited Vilna, Lithuania and explored the birthplace of YIVO: Institute for Yiddish Research. Sara plans to continue performing in Yiddish and Hebrew and share her passion for Jewish history and culture with wider audiences.
LeMesh received her Master of Music from the Bard College Conservatory of Music and Bachelor of Music from Rice University. She currently resides in New York City with her husband and beloved rescue dog. When she isn’t singing in traditional venues, you can find LeMesh performing in prisons, rehab centers, and nursing homes with Bay-Area nonprofit Bread & Roses Presents. You might also find her composing songs for piano and voice in the style of Kate Bush, one of her biggest musical inspirations.
“LeMesh, known in the world of classical and contemporary opera for lush tone, exceptional high-register clarity, dramatic breadth, and fearless command in roles offering unpredictable vulnerability, is in demand.”
SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE