January 8th, 2015 by admin
Soprano Helen Todd is known for her intense portrayals of tragic characters. Recently, Helen performed the role of Turandot with Hong Kong’s Musica Viva after successfully debuting the role with Minnesota Opera in the new Renaud Doucet and Andre Barbe production. She also stretched her vocal and acting abilities when she was asked to portray Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard with Mercury Theatre Company in Cleveland for ten performances. These new roles fit nicely in her new repertoire in the spinto and dramatic soprano realm. She also covered the role of Turandot with Pittsburgh Opera and performed Turandot first with DuPage Opera Theatre in Chicago. She also added Cio-Cio San from Madama Butterfly to her roles, having performed it with Sugar Creek Opera under the baton of Joseph Mechavich and in concert with Wooster Symphony.
Ms. Todd began her career in the lyric coloratura repertoire and began to achieve national recognition with her portrayal of Violetta in La Traviata with Minnesota Opera (the English National Opera / Jonathan Miller production). Also with Minnesota Opera, under the baton of Maestro Richard Bonynge, Ms. Todd has appeared as the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte.
Ms. Todd debuted with Canadian Opera Company in the Canadian premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale as Aunt Lydia by composer Poul Ruders. This debut occurred after the acclaimed North American premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale at Minnesota Opera where Ms. Todd debuted the role of Aunt Lydia as well. Also at Minnesota Opera, Ms. Todd debuted the role of Madame Mao in Nixon in China. Other notable engagements include Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte with New York City Opera, Cleveland Opera, Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera, Nevada Opera, Opera North, and the Colorado Opera Festival; Gilda in Rigoletto with Calgary Opera (her Canadian debut), Annapolis Opera, and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre; Fiordiligi in Cosí Fan Tutte with Arizona Opera, Nedda in Pagliacci with Sugar Creek Opera and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Illinois and Gold Coast Opera.
A lover of 20th century music, Ms. Todd also performed the role of Curley’s Wife in Of Mice and Men with Cleveland Opera (conducted by Anton Coppola) and Arizona Opera, Marie in the North American premiere of Gurlitt’s Wozzeck with California’s Long Beach Opera, the role of Susannah with Opera North and Alexandra in Regina with Baltimore Opera. Other engagements throughout her career include: Violetta in La Traviata with Asheville Lyric Opera, Fiorilla in Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia with Cleveland Opera; Violetta in La Traviata with New Jersey’s Bohème Opera Company; Mimi in La Bohème with Asheville Lyric Opera and the Wildwood Festival of Music and the Arts; Marguérite in Faust with Mississippi Opera; Juliette in Roméo et Juliette with Shreveport Opera; Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Connecticut Opera, Abilene Opera and Wildwood Festival of Music and the Arts; Musetta in La Bohème with Indianapolis Opera; Pamina in The Magic Flute, Despina in Cosí fan Tutte, and Anne Edgerman in A Little Night Music with the Wildwood Festival of Music and the Arts. Other lighter operetta performances include Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with Mobile Opera; Julie Jordan in Carousel with Opera Illinois, Wanda in a semi-staged production of The Grand Duchess of Geraldstein with the OK Mozart Festival and Clorinda in a semi-staged production of La Cenerentola with the OK Mozart Festival (conducted by Ransom Wilson).
Ms. Todd is also an opera producer and founder of the Sugar Creek Opera which is entering it’s 14th season and is a member of Opera America. Occasional past performances at Sugar Creek include Juliette in Romeo & Juliette, Violetta in La Traviata and Mimi in La Bohème.
Concert highlights have included Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Springfield Symphony, Carmina Burana with Peoria Symphony, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Detroit Oratorio Society; Darius Milhaud’s Chanson De Ronsard with Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music Concert Orchestra; Carmina Burana with the Elmhurst Symphony; and A Night at the Opera with the Colorado Symphony.
Helen Todd received her operatic training as a young artist with the Pittsburgh Opera Center at Duquesne where she performed the roles of Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore and Serviglia in La Clemenza di Tito. She received her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at DePaul University, and her Master of Music in Voice Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of the Patricia Berlin; performance highlights in Cincinnati included Cunegonde in Candide.
Numerous awards have included first place in the Houston Opera Studio Eleanor McCullom Auditions, first place in the Corbett / Treigle Opera Scholarship Competition, and first place in the Bel Canto Competition. Ms. Todd was a regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera Competition and a winner of the Liederkranz Foundation Awards in New York City.