SHIRIN ESKANDANI – mezzo soprano
Hailed by Opera Today for her “pleasing and pliant voice” Iranian Canadian mezzo soprano, Shirin Eskandani is a 2013 recipient of an Encouragement Award from the George London Foundation. In 2014 she was awarded first prize in the Gerda Lissner Competition and was also a prize winner of the Lucia Albanese Puccini Foundation.
For the 2013-14 season, Ms. Eskandani had 4 debuts: with American Ballet Theater at Lincoln Center singing the solos in the new production of Sibelius’ The Tempest, with Teatro Gratticielo in Alfano’s Sakuntala, as The Mother with the Little Orchestra Society in a staged production of Hansel and Gretel in Avery Fisher hall, and with Livermore Valley Opera as Cenerentola. She will spend the summer of 2014 as a member of the Merola Opera Program and joins the Metropolitan Opera in 14-15 covering in The Merry Widow.
Highlights of the 2012-2013 season for Ms. Eskandani include a return to Palm Beach Opera where performed the roles of Flora (La Traviata), Tisbe (La Cenerentola), and Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw). She also premiered the role of Tamara in the first staged performance of Ben Moore’s Enemies: A Love Story. Last summer she was featured as a young artist with Caramoor opera and the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice.
The 2011-2012 season included several career debuts for Ms Eskandani. She debuted as a young artist with Palm Beach Opera where she performed the roles of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Gertrude (Roméo et Juliette) and Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor) on the main stage. She made her Opera Theatre of St. Louis stage debut singing the role of Mercedes in Carmen, where she was a returning Gerdine Young Artist.
As a soloist Ms. Eskandani has performed in numerous works including Bach’s Matthaus-Passion, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah, and Durufle’s Requiem. She has premiered several works including The Oratorio to End all Oratorios with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. Her interest in Middle Eastern culture has led her to work with several Middle Eastern composers including Farshid Samandari and Amir Koushkani of the SAFA Ensemble. She also has had the great honor of performing as a featured soloist for the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Shirin Ebadi.
A recent Midwest district finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she has worked as a young artist with Syracuse Opera, the Green Mountain Festival, the Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Opera on the James, and Banff Opera. She received her Bachelors of Music from the University of British Columbia and her Masters of Music from the Manhattan School of Music.