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Ioanna Karvelas
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
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Karvelas was born and reared in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. She studied voice under Antony Kalaitzakis, a tenor who was a student of the vecchia scuola tenor Nino Piccaluga (who was a contemporary of Giovanni Martinelli and who was often chosen by Toscanini to open the season of La Scala). She has studied with Conrad Osborne in New York and with the renowned dramatic mezzo soprano, Edna Garabedian, with whom Karvelas has served as assistant of her Artist Agency in Bonn, Germany. She has also studied repertory and performed with the late William Yannuzzi, Music Director of the Baltimore Opera Company.

While teaching at the National Conservatory of Athens whose Directrix was Krino Kalomiris, daughter of Manolis Kalomiris, the head of the National School of Composers of Greece, she was chosen to record her interpretation of the role of the mother in Kalomiris's opera, The Mother's Ring. This recording bears the distinction of being the first Greek Opera ever recorded in a digital format. It was recorded in 1983 with the Sofia Philharmonic and the voices of the Obretenov Chorus in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Since then Karvelas has come to be known as the ambassador of Greek classical music, always performing along with her theatre engagements concerts which present a wealth of compositions of Greek composers, beginning with the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Lincoln Center in New York as well as in Germany, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria and the Ukraine and the Crimea. In 2009 she starred in "A Celebration of Greek Music" presented at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. She specializes in the dramatic roles of Verdi, such as Lady Macbeth, which she has recorded in Poland with the Polish National Radio Orchestra, with Maestro William Yannuzzi conducting, the roles of Abigaille (Nabucco), Elisabetta (Don Carlos), Leonora (Trovatore and Forza del destino), Puccini's Turandot and Tosca, and the Wagnerian heroines.

Considered by her colleagues a Master Trainer, she has been invited by many institutions to hold master classes on vocal technique and interpretation of standard operatic repertory and to perform rarely performed song cycles such as Berlioz's "Nuits d'Ete," Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder," Richard Strauss's "Vier letzte Lieder," Kalomiris's "Magic Herbs," etc.

Karvelas, who resides on the island of Lesvos, Greece, is the Director of "Opera Lesvos" which she established in 2000, a truly pioneering venture for a Greek province. In her research into the history of opera, she unearthed a long forgotten libretto used by Verdi as an alternative libretto to "Giovanna d'Arco", an opera he wrote in 1845 but which he could not present before the Pope in Rome. Verdi and his librettist, Solera, substituted the true story of a Lesbiot heroine who donned male armor and saved the castle of Lesvos from the Ottoman invaders in 1450. The name of the opera was "Orietta di Lesbo." This libretto had not been used since 1850. Thus on March 12, 2006, the World Premier Revival of this work in its entirety took place in Portland, Oregon, with the Oregon Symphony and Chorus of Lewis and Clark College (who funded the project), with Karvelas in the lead role of Orietta.

Later that summer, the European Premier took place on the island of Lesvos, as part of the "Aegean Verdi Festival" with an international orchestra of instrumentalists from all over the world (Karvelas as Orietta and "Opera Lesvos" soloists participating with the international cast). To her educational and performing institute, she invites professional artists from all over the world to perform along with the local talent which she prepares and trains.

Karvelas has again combined forces with Garabedian who is Director of the California Opera Association in Fresno, California, serving as Artistic Advisor and Historian, giving master classes and lectures on the history of opera and great opera singers of the past and present. In 2010 they are planning performances of Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex" with Karvelas as Jocasta.

Karvelas has been "Artist in Residence" of the University of Indianapolis, Athens Campus, since 2005, always serving her art as educator and performer.

Ioanna Karvelas
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