Praised by The Washington Post for her “consistently beautiful sound,” American mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko made a striking role debut as Dorabella with Washington National Opera in their 2012 Emerging Artist performances of Così fan tutte. This season she returns to Washington National Opera for another significant role debut as Hansel. Ms. Mesko also makes recital appearances with the Dolce Suono Ensemble, performing “La flûte enchantée” from Ravel’s Shéhérazade; with Vocal Arts DC, presenting Janáček’s Diary of One Who Disappeared with tenor Toby Spence and pianist Graham Johnson; and with San Francisco Opera Center’s Schwabacher Debut Recital Series, presenting a joint recital with tenor Theo Lebow and pianist Robert Mollicone. In May, Ms. Mesko returns to Washington, DC for her company debut with Opera Lafayette as Junon and Hyale in Charpentier’s Actéon, and she concludes the 2012-2013 season with the Santa Fe Opera, making her company debut as Amélie in La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein and covering Malcom in La donna del lago.
Ms. Mesko’s 2011 – 2012 season included appearances with Washington National Opera as
Alisa in David Alden’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor and covering Fenena in Thaddeus Strassberger’s new production of Nabucco at WNO. On the concert stage, Ms. Mesko made debuts with the National Symphony Orchestra under Tito Muñoz and with the Alexandria Symphony in Mozart’s Requiem. She returned to the Washington National Cathedral for a second Mozart Requiem with the Cathedral Choral Society and she completed a recital tour, which began with the John Harrison Opera Foundation in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and ended in the nation’s capital with Vocal Arts DC.
Recent seasons include Ms. Mesko’s European debut in Paris as La Sagesse and Sidonie in Lully’s Armide with Mercury Baroque and the Théatre de Gennevilliers. In 2011 she made her debut with Washington National Opera in Madama Butterfly, first as Kate Pinkerton and then in a highly acclaimed role debut as Suzuki, conducted by Plácido Domingo in a Young Artist performance – a role for which The Washington Post remembered her as “the best part of the Young Artist Program performance of Madama Butterfly last year.”
A compelling concert artist, Sarah Mesko has appeared as a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop; Mercury Baroque, led by Antoine Plante; Jeffrey Thomas and the American Bach Soloists Academy; the Aspen Music Festival Chamber Orchestra under Lawrence Renes; the Washington National Cathedral Choral Society; the Hot Springs Music Festival Orchestra under Peter Bay; and the Arkansas, Fort Smith, and North Arkansas Symphonies. Her diverse concert repertoire includes Bach’s Johannes-passion and Mass in B Minor, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Handel's Messiah, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, Mozart’s Requiem and Missa Brevis in F, and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky.
A graduate of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Ms. Mesko has appeared often in mainstage productions with WNO, including Emilio Sagi’s Iphigénie en Tauride, starring Plácido Domingo and Patricia Racette. She has also trained with other highly regarded programs, including the Santa Fe Opera, covering Costanza in Peter Sellars’ production of Vivaldi's Griselda and performing Idamante in scenes; the Merola Opera program, performing Ramiro in La finta giardiniera, appearing as Charlotte and Bianca in scenes from Werther and The Rape of Lucretia, and covering A Lady with a Hat Box in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco; Central City Opera, covering and performing the title role in Rinaldo and Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor; and the Aspen Music Festival, appearing as Mercedes in Carmen and Dorothée in Cendrillon, and giving the World Premiere of Richard Wernick’s “A Song for Phil,” written in memory of AMF faculty members Philip West and Jan DeGaetani.
In 2009, Ms. Mesko was a national finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, performing with the Met Orchestra under Patrick Summers. She has won First Prizes in various competitions, including those sponsored by the National Society of Arts and Letters, Annapolis Opera, Virginia Opera, Young Texas Artists, Sun Valley Opera, and the Franco-American Vocal Academy. She is also among a rare number of singers who have won the Richard F. Gold Career Grant more than once: in 2011 from Washington National Opera, and in 2009 from Central City Opera.
A native of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Ms. Mesko holds a master of music degree in vocal performance from Rice University and a bachelor of music degree in vocal and flute performance from the University of Arkansas. At Rice University, she appeared as Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos and as Charlotte in A Little Night Music. While studying at the University of Arkansas, she performed the title role in Hansel and Gretel, Le Prince Charmant in Cendrillon, and Goffredo in Rinaldo.