Hailed as a “force of nature” (Variety), Dolora Zajick has been internationally acclaimed as that rare voice type, a true dramatic Verdi mezzo-soprano, typified by the composer’s most famous and difficult mezzo-soprano roles. With her expressive vocal palette, seamless technique and ability to communicate even the most complex character, Dolora is particularly renowned for her interpretations of Azucena in Il Trovatore, Amneris in Aida, and Eboli in Don Carlo on the world’s greatest stages.
She has appeared in opera and concert with some of the foremost conductors of today, which include James Levine, Anthony Pappano, the late Bruno Bartoletti, James Conlon, Daniele Gatti, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Charles Mackerras, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas, and the late Mstislav Rostropovich.
Highlights of Dolora’s 2016-2017 season include performances as Ulrica in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, and two role debuts: as Mary in Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and as Mrs. Grose in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with the Dallas Opera.
In the 2015-2016 season Dolora reprised one of her signature roles, Azucena in Il Trovatore, twice at the Metropolitan Opera, at Berlin’s Staatsoper im Schiller Theater, and with Opera San Antonio. In concert, Dolora sang Verdi’s Requiem in both Bilbao and La Coruña, Spain, while also bringing her highly acclaimed composition Roads to Zion, written in honor of St. Teresa of Avila, to Spain in a concert performance with Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid.
Her 2014-2015 season included her debut in the role of Madame de Croissy in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmelites with the Washington National Opera, returns to the San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera as Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and the world premiere of two compositions: Roads to Zion was premiered at the international gathering to celebrate the life of St. Teresa of Avila and a work commissioned for the National Youth Choral Festival was performed in San Francisco.
Previous seasons have featured Dolora in debuts and favourite roles. Recent highlights include performances as Ortrud in a new production of Lohengrin at Madrid’s Teatro Real, a role in which she made her debut at the Los Angeles Opera in 2010, as Zia Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica in Barcelona, as Ježibaba in Dvorák’s Rusalka, as the Countess in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades at the Metropolitan Opera where, in a single season, she also took on Verdi’s three premier mezzo roles: Azucena in Il Trovatore, Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera and Amneris in Aida. She Houston welcomed her as Amneris in Aida and as Azucena in Il Trovatore and Washington National Opera as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma.
Dolora’s discography includes recordings of Aida, Il trovatore and Don Carlo on Sony Classical and conducted by James Levine; La forza del destino and the Verdi Requiem with Riccardo Muti on EMI; Alezander Nevsky with Mstislav Rostropovich and Hérodiade with Valery Gergiev, both on Sony Classical; and Rusalka with Sir Charles Mackerras on Decca. On Telarc, her highly acclaimed solo disc entitled Dolora Zajick: The Art of the Dramatic Mezzo-Soprano contains not only the dramatic mezzo-soprano arias for which she is famous, but also coloratura mezzo-soprano arias by Rossini and several dramatic soprano arias.
Her most recent DVDs are the 2011 release of Aida from the Met’s Live in HD series (Decca) and her 2008 performances of Eboli in Verdi’s Don Carlo at La Scala (Hardy Classics), about which Opera News exclaimed “’O don fatale,’ a Zajick showstopper…At this point in her vocal life, she can do almost anything.” Also on DVD are her performances as Amneris in Aida and Azucena in Il Trovatore, both from the Metropolitan (Deutsche Grammophon), as well as productions of Aida from Arena di Verona (TDK) and Naples’s Teatro San Carlo (Image Ent). On television and DVD, Dolora has been seen in several Richard Tucker Foundation Galas (having been a winner herself early in her career), on several Pavarotti Plus Galas, and in two anniversary galas from the Metropolitan Opera stage, one commemorating the 25th anniversary of James Levine and the other the 30th anniversary of Luciano Pavarotti.
INSTITUTE FOR YOUNG DRAMATIC VOICES
In addition to her outstanding performance career, Dolora is a passionate vocal pedagogue, having founded the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in 2006, a vocal training program for large or unusual voices designed to help nurture their development according to their unique needs, and to help these young singers reach the world stage. The institute is an intensive 3-week summer program of study with leading coaches and voice teachers who understand the nature of large or unusual voices.
Oregon-born but Nevada raised, Dolora Zajick studied voice with Ted Puffer, the conductor and former Artistic Director of the Nevada Opera, as well as professor at the Manhattan School of Music. She came to his attention when she joined the chorus of the Nevada Opera, while she was in pre-med at the University of Nevada. She eventually graduated from the University with both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in music, before going to New York for further music studies at the Manhattan School of Music. After winning the Bronze Medal at the 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and being accepted in the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, she made her major operatic debut with the San Francisco Opera as Azucena in Il Trovatore which launched her into international stardom.
Dolora Zajick was one of the first recipients of the Opera News Award held in 2005 along with James Conlon, Régine Crespin, Susan Graham, and Plácido Domingo, and in October 2009 was honored by the Giulio Gari Foundation in recognition of her extraordinary operatic career. In 2011 she received the Ortrud Award from the Committee for the Marjorie Lawrence Awards for Opera Excellence and OMTI.