A native of Syracuse, New York, mezzo-soprano Tessa Romano holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado Boulder, a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and a Bachelor of Arts in Italian from Princeton University. Currently, Tessa resides in Brooklyn, New York where she is established as a freelance singer and voice teacher. She has studied with Jennifer Bird-Arvidsson, Freda Herseth, Christopher Arneson, Richard Lalli, and Helen Boatwright.
Tessa Romano began her singing career under the auspices of renowned soprano Helen Boatwright in 2002. Having learned and performed many of the late Howard Boatwright’s works early in her career (a student of Paul Hindemith), Romano became an enthusiastic performer of new and contemporary music. In 2012, Ms. Romano took on the role of Jenna in Anthony Davis’ premier of Lear on the Second Floor at Princeton University. Romano later premiered the “Song for Judy Feder” by Alan Fletcher, CEO of the Aspen Music Festival, in 2013. In the summer of 2017, Tessa was one of four fellows at the University of Colorado New Opera Workshop program singing new operatic works by four student composers at CU Boulder. Recently, Tessa co-founded a flute and voice chamber duo with flutist Elisa Muzzillo with which she commissions new works and tours around the world.
Past opera credits include Jenna (Lear on the Second Floor, a premier) at Princeton University, Amahl (Amahl and the Night Visitors) with Syracuse Open Hand Theater, Fru Fru (The Merry Widow) with Oswego Opera Theater, Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Drei Knaben (Die Zauberflöte), Jade Boucher (Dead Man Walking) and Tolomeo (Giulio Cesare) with the University of Michigan, Mother Marie (Dialogues des Carmélites) with Eklund Opera CU Boulder, covering Nettie/Aunt Bea (A Wedding) with the Aspen Opera Center, and Dame (Dame, Not Lady) with CU NOW.
As a concert performer, Tessa has been a soloist for the Syracuse and Hartford symphonies, the American Handel Society Festival, and the Boulder Bach Festival. Tessa has been a finalist in the Classical Singer Summer Competition, and a first-place winner of The Art of Art Song Competition, the Florida Grieg Competition, the Franco-American Vocal Academy’s Grand Concours Prize and the Isidore & Helen Sacks Memorial Prize.
As an avid proponent of world music, Tessa has presented recitals of Norwegian song as well as recitals in which she performs in the Hindustani and Carnatic classical styles in order to juxtapose Western “orientalist” compositions with Eastern musical traditions. Her Norwegian recitals have featured works by Agathe Backer-Grøndahl, Geirr Tveitt and Edvard Grieg. Recitals featuring Hindustani and Carnatic styles amongst Western traditions have included compositions by Fukai, Ibert, Harbison, and Mirabai bhajans set to melodies in Raga yaman and saraswati. Tessa has also conducted original research on and performed recitals of Jewish-Italian composers persecuted by fascism in tandem with works by fascist composers such as Francesco Santoliquido.
Tessa Romano has worked as a professional choral singer with renowned British ensemble VOCES8 (www.voces8.com) in their USA Choral Scholars program with which she toured the country performing in concert with VOCES8 and VOCES8 co-founder Paul Smith, presenting workshops on the VOCES8 Method, and recording with Minnesota Public Radio. Additionally, she has worked with numerous professional choirs in New York City, including the Trinity Wall Street Choir.
Prior to her singing career, Tessa Romano conducted original research on sixteenth-century Italian ghettos, and was a member of Princeton’s premier jazz a cappella group: the Princeton Katzenjammers.
Tessa currently works as Tenure Track Lecturer in Classical Voice at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.
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