Josepha Gayer, who “owns personality and intellect, as well as one of those distinctively beautiful natural voices” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), has performed on opera and concert stages all over North America. Her Candide with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis led Steve Allen of KFUO-FM to exclaim, “Without a doubt the best ‘Old Lady’ I’ve ever seen. Her facial expressions are priceless, and her wonderfully throaty mezzo-soprano voice is perfect for a woman who is ‘easily assimilated.'”
Josepha Gayer’s 2009-10 season included the role of Marquise de Birkenfeld in La Fille du régiment with Virginia Opera and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Birmingham. In recent seasons she sang Mrs. McLean in Susannah in a return to Opera Pacific, appeared as Betsy in the world premiere of David Carlson’s Anna Karenina with Florida Grand Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and returned to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera. Past highlights include her Metropolitan Opera debut as Grandmother Buryja in Jen?fa, a role which she has also performed with Utah Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago; a return to Boston Lyric Opera as Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin; and her performances as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Cleveland Opera and Portland Opera.
Ms. Gayer has participated in several world premieres, including André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire with San Francisco Opera and later with New Orleans Opera, Mrs. Bass in Tobias Picker’s Emmeline with Santa Fe Opera (also on Albany Records), and Rita the Rat in Mr. Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox with Los Angeles Opera. With New York City Opera, Josepha Gayer has sung Katisha in The Mikado, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Emma Jones in Street Scene, Mrs. Bass in Emmeline, and Mama in the New York premiere of Oliver Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are.
Josepha Gayer’s Lyric Opera of Chicago debut was as The Mother in The Consul, a role she has also sung with L’Opéra de Monte-Carlo and Portland Opera. She returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago to sing Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, a role she has also sung with Madison Opera. Ms. Gayer made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Mother Goose in The Rake’s Progress and returned to the company for Arabella and Die Zauberflöte, as well as Buttercup in Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore. She made her debut with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Madame de la Haltière in Massenet’s Cendrillon.
Ms. Gayer has sung Mrs. McLean in Susannah with Houston Grand Opera and Washington Opera, Augusta Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe with Boston Lyric Opera, and the role of Mama McCourt in the same opera with San Francisco Opera. She has sung the role of Katisha in The Mikado with Vancouver Opera, Nastassja in the American premiere of Hans Krasa’s Verlobung in Traum with the Washington Opera, and Mother Marie in Dialogues of the Carmelites with Tulsa Opera. Other past engagements include the roles of Shonagon and Kokiden in The Tale of Genji with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Marquise in La Fille du régiment with Opera Columbus and Cleveland Opera, and Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria rusticana and Cecilia March in Little Women with Glimmerglass Opera.
Josepha Gayer made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Manhattan Philharmonic in Menotti’s O Pulchritudo, and has received widespread acclaim for concert appearances in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, the Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Vaughan Williams’s Hodie in venues across the country, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Akron Symphony and the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, among others