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. Her most recent triumph was with Pocket Opera in March 2020 where she sang Zerlina in Mozart's Don Giovanni. OPERAWIRE praised her "standout" performance where she "excelled in her coy, seductive manner as well as her vocal energy."
In August 2019 with West Edge Opera, 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.”
During the 2020 season, Ms. LeMesh will perform the role of Lucy Brown in The Threepenny Opera with City Lyric Opera and Martesia in the U.S. premiere of Ercole su’l Termodonte with Pacific Opera Project in Los Angeles, California. Other recent roles include Juno in Semele by Marais with the American Bach Soloists and Norina in Don Pasquale with the Mendocino Music Festival. In April 2020, Ms. LeMesh was scheduled to make her Carnegie Hall debut in the live-streamed master classes with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato (please note: these classes were canceled due to COVID-19).
A lifelong lover of chamber music and art song, Ms. LeMesh has premiered many works at various festivals throughout the United States. She premiered David Hertzberg’s chamber work, Endymionis Somnum Dormire, in Harris Hall at the Aspen Music Festival and Bernard Rands’ Folk Songs at the Tanglewood Music Center. Also at Tanglewood, she performed Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with conductor Stéphane Denève. While at the Music Academy of the West, she sang Stravinsky’s Pulcinella under the baton of Matthias Pintscher.
With pianist Allegra Chapman, LeMesh performs in the duo Chordless, creating welcoming spaces to explore and appreciate music that has historically been ignored or is brand new. Together at Ms. Chapman’s festival, Bard Music West, they have 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. The collaborative partners also filmed a music video with the independent filmmaker, Joseph Dwyer, which captures their interpretation of a movement from George Crumb’s Apparition.
LeMesh received her Master of Music from the Bard College Conservatory of Music where she coached with soprano Dawn Upshaw and studied with Lorraine Nubar. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Rice University where she studied with mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer. When she isn’t performing classical music, Ms. LeMesh composes and records popular folk songs for voice and piano.