Making her mark as an “especially impressive” (The New York Times) soprano, Australian/American Nola Richardson has won First Prize in all three major American competitions focused on the music of J.S. Bach (Bethlehem Bach, 2016; Audrey Rooney Bach, 2018; Grand Rapids Symphony Linn Maxwell Keller Award, 2019). These honors have catapulted her to the forefront of Baroque ensembles and orchestras around the country, where she has been praised for her “astonishing balance and accuracy,” “crystalline diction,” and “natural-sounding ease” (Washington Post).
Nola’s 2021-2022 return to live performances will feature debuts with Ars Lyrica Houston in a program of Bach and Handel, the Kansas City Symphony (Handel Messiah), the Portland Symphony for (Bach St. Matthew Passion), and Arizona Early Music Society (Handel Apollo e Dafne) and a Handel recital. She will return to the Grand Rapids Symphony (Mozart Exsultate Jubilate), and American Bach Soloists (Handel Messiah and a program of German Baroque masters). Other appearances will include the Death of Classical series, Musica Sacra, and Great Music in a Great Space, Seraphic Fire, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and Baltimore Choral Arts Society.
During the 2020-2021 season, Nola took part in several virtual concerts. She made debuts with the Atlanta Symphony in a Bach program led by Robert Spano, Musica Angelica in a program of Bach and Handel, and the National Cathedral Choral Society in a “Joy of Christmas” special. In June she collaborated with the Sonnambula ensemble to film excerpts of the role of Apolo from the baroque zarzuela “Apolo e Dafne” by Durón. She was also a featured soloist in Seraphic Fire’s Season S and “Mozart and Monteverdi” programs, performed a solo concert of cantatas by Handel and Scarlatti with the Colorado Bach Ensemble, and took part in virtual concerts with the Bethlehem Bach Society and Voices of Ascension.
Nola’s 2019-2020 season featured her debuts with the Seattle Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony (Handel Messiah), Philharmonia Baroque (Bach Coffee Cantata), Tenet (in concert with American violinist Hilary Hahn), Mineola Choral Society (Haydn Creation), Bach Akademie Charlotte, and Voices of Ascension. In her Messiah performances, she was described as “agile and crystalline-voiced… a stand-out” (Seattle Times). She returned to sing with the American Classical Orchestra (Scarlatti Christmas Cantata), Colorado Bach Ensemble, Madison Bach Ensemble, Seraphic Fire, and the Clarion Music Society. Other appearances such as a debut at the Leipzig Bach Festival 2020 as a soloist with the Bethlehem Bach Society, and appearances with the American Bach Soloists and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society were unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2018-2019 season featured debuts with the Grand Rapids Symphony (Bach Mass in A), the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado (Bach Cantata 51; Monteverdi Orfeo), and appearances with the American Classical Orchestra (Bach Cantata 147), Baltimore Choral Arts Society (Brahms Requiem), and the Master Chorale of South Florida (Haydn Creation). Her debut that season at the Kennedy Center with Opera Lafayette (Fraarte in Handel Radamisto) drew praise for her “particularly appealing freshness and directness” (Washington Post).
Ms. Richardson has also made appearances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, the Colorado Symphony, and the Madison Bach Musicians (Belinda in Dido and Aeneas); sang the premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s Carroll in Numberland (alongside soprano Dawn Upshaw) at Tanglewood; and gave a recital at the National Cathedral with Baroque trumpeter Josh Cohen and ACRONYM. Her performances as Maria Magdalena in Handel La Resurrezione and a program of French Baroque music with the American Bach Soloists drew praise for her “lusciously polished… exemplary impassioned singing” (San Francisco Classical Voice).
A frequent of Mozart operatic roles, she has sung Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Madame Silberklang (Der Schauspieldirektor) with Bel Cantanti Opera, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Maryland Concert Opera, Gianetta in L’elisir D’amore with Emerald City Opera, and gave a “standout” performance (Opera News) as the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with the Clarion Music Society.
As a dedicated ensemble and chamber musician, Nola frequently appears with GRAMMY® nominated professional choirs Seraphic Fire (with whom she has performed solos at the Aspen Music Festival under conductors Robert Spano and Xian Zhang), the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and the Clarion Music Society, with whom she went on an international tour of Handel Semele with The English Concert and Harry Bicket.
An Australian by birth, Nola has spent most of her life in the US. She holds a BM from Illinois Wesleyan University and dual MM degrees in Vocal Performance and Early Music from the Peabody Conservatory. She was a young artist with the Boston Early Music Festival, a vocal fellow at Tanglewood, a Marc and Eva Stern Fellow at Songfest, and most recently, a Carmel Bach Festival Virginia Best Adams Fellow in 2019. Nola attended the Institute of Sacred Music Program and in May of 2020 she was the first and only female singer to receive the prestigious DMA degree in Early Music Voice from Yale.