Emma McNairy

Emma McNairy


...the sexiest and most vocally agile Lulu imaginable. -San Francisco Classical Voice
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«In voice, figure, and deportment, it is difficult to image wanting more from a Lulu than what soprano Emma McNairy presented in her role debut. Possessing a voice of unexpected range, power, and endurance for so young an artist, not to mention a pure silvery tone from bottom to ringing top, McNairy's portrayal moved from strength to strength throughout the performance, communicating the character's accumulation of experience with fearless poise. Her decline after serving time in prison for murdering Dr. Schön was pitiful and sympathetic. The clarity of her diction and powerful emission filled the room with ease and she dominated each scene until Lulu's luck finally runs out at the hands of Jack the Ripper.»
Opera news (2016)
«In the title role, Emma McNairy combined physical allure, arching, silvery soprano and superior German.​»
The Financial times (2016)
«The challenges of this assignment are legion. As the embodiment of sexual enchantment, of fundamental and amoral urges, Lulu is the object of everyone else’s desire without existing as a character in her own right. Yet Berg gives her the opera’s most ardent and expressive vocal writing, a demanding and extended stream of melody that is at once angular, forceful and glitteringly alluring. It falls to the soprano to bridge that gap — to uncover the gleaming sensuality that lies just below the surface of Berg’s twelve-tone musical language — and McNairy did that flawlessly. She caressed and cajoled the notes until they shimmered; she unleashed potent, high-flying bursts of fine-tuned melody, then dropped into conversational stretches of pointed eloquence. And in a superb bit of theatrical jujitsu, McNairy took the physical degradations of the assignment and turned them back onto the world. Director Elkhanah Pulitzer was merciless in what she required of McNairy, from complete onstage nudity to extravagantly detailed simulations of sex, and from each one McNairy emerged even more dignified and assured.»
San francisco chronicle (2016)
2019Abraham: Ball Im SavoyMadeleine De Faublas


American soprano Emma McNairy, critically acclaimed for her performance as the title role in Berg's Lulu with West Edge Opera, was praised by San Francisco Classical Voice as being the “sexiest and most vocally agile Lulu imaginable”, while The Financial Times lauded her for having "combined physical allure, arching, silvery soprano and superior German." For her portrayal of Lulu, she was nominated alongside Susan Graham for "Best Opera Performer" of San Francisco's 2014-2015 season by San Francisco Classical Voice's, "Best of the Bay" contest.

For the 2018/2019 season, she opens sings the leading role of Madeleine de Faublas in Paul Abraham's operetta, Ball im Savoy and fills out the rest of her season performing Sophie in Werther, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Dede in Bernstein's A Quiet Place. In 2017/2018, Ms. McNairy appeared as the soprano soloist in Carmina Burana, Clorinda in Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Mary in Der Ferne Klang, Dalinda in Ariodante, and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Theater Lübeck. In 2017/2018, she also joined Volkstheater Rostock, covering Clorinda in La Cenerentola, and appeared at Stadttheater Gießen as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos. She made her debut in Hamburg's Laeiszhalle singing Carmina Burana with the Philharmonisches Orchester der Hansestadt Lübeck in May. In July 2018, Ms. McNairy made her Lincoln Center debut with the Mostly Mozart Festival in Bernstein's Mass under the baton of Louis Langrée in David Geffin Hall. 

For the 2016/2017 season, Ms. McNairy joined the ensemble of Theater Lübeck in roles such as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Contessa di Folleville in Il Viaggio a Reims, the Shepherd in Tosca, a soloist in Bernstein's Mass, and Dalinda in Ariodante. In the same season she debuted with Oper Kiel as the Contessa di Folleville in Il Viaggio a Reims. Further performances included collaborating with Cantata Profana Ensemble at Symphony Space in New York City, where she sang repertoire including Webern's 3 Lieder für Sopran, Klarinette und Gitarre, Op. 18 and Monteverdi's Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. Also in 2016 she sang Elvira in L'italiana in Algeri with Livermore Valley Opera, and Carmina Burana with the San Jose Symphonic Choir in California. In West Edge Opera's 2016 summer festival she garnered great success as the Maid in Thomas Adès's Powder Her Face. She returned to West Edge Opera in 2017 as a "beguiling Ophélie" in Hamlet, praised for the "beauty and elegance" of her singing and for having a "radiant instrument with a secure high extension." Her mad scene was noted as "...mesmerizing, sung with a fine mixture of poignancy and abandon." (Opera News)

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CV & Repertoire

Musical Work Role Jump-in ready? Company Year
Abraham: Ball Im Savoy Madeleine De Faublas Immediately Theater Lübeck 2019
Massenet: Werther Sophie Immediately Theater Lübeck 2018
Rossini: Il Barbiere Di Siviglia Rosina Immediately Theater Lübeck 2018
Bernstein: Mass, A Theatre Piece For Singers, Players And Dancers Street Singers Immediately Mostly Mozart (New York (Manhattan)) 2018
Thomas: Hamlet Ophélie 24 hours West Edge Opera 2017


2. Preis- 7. Internationaler Lions Gesangswettbewerb des Opernfestivals Gut Immling
2nd place- James Toland Vocal Arts competition- tier 1
1st place- Dorothy Van waynen Voice competition
3rd place- Franco-american vocal academy grand concours de chant
2nd place- east bay opera league scholarship competition
3rd place- henry and maria holt scholarship competition
winner- san francisco conservatory of music concerto competition
1st place- burlingame music club competition
finalist- brava opera competition