Biography

Native Californian Clarissa Lyons has been garnering praise for her “luxuriant large soprano” (Los Angeles Times) in her performances in operas, oratorios, and concert works.

Ms. Lyons had the privilege of performing in the West Coast premiere of Libby Larsen’s The Magdalene as well as John Musto’s arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s Songfest during the summer of 2013.  The Los Angeles Time lauded Lyons’s “standout” performance of ‘Julia de Burgos’ in Songfest, which Mark Swed described as delivering a “burning angry heat.”  Recently Lyons also received praised for her comedic performance of Helena in Opera on the Avalon’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Britten in June 2014 (Gordon Jones, The Telegraph).

In August of 2012, Ms. Lyons  appeared in Mark Morris Dance Group’s performance of Dido and Aeneas at the Mostly Mozart Festival under the baton of the choreographer alongside Stephanie Blythe, Yulia van Doren, and Joshua Jeremiah.  She also collaborated with Mark Morris Dance Group in performances of Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy in March of 2012, and in the resurrection of Love Song Waltzes and New Love Song Waltzes in Seattle and New York in the spring of 2014.

Ms. Lyons was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in both 2011 and 2012.  For her performance of Monteverdi’s Lamento d’Arianna directed by acclaimed choreographer Mark Morris, she was credited with singing with “heartstopping abandon” in Opera News Magazine.  Also in 2011, Lyons had the opportunity to perform excerpts from Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with Susan Graham and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and performed in a recital featuring settings of Charles Baudelaire’s poetry with Stephanie Blythe.  In 2012, Lyons performed Ravel’s Trois Poèmes de Stephane Mallarmé alongside the New Fromm Players, Prokofiev’s Ugly Ducking for Tanglewood on Parade, and sections of John Williams’ song cycle Seven for Luck in celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday.

In February 2010, Ms. Lyons created the role of St. Francis’ Trainer in David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s Vinkensport: The Finch Opera for Bard College Conservatory’s Vocal Arts Program.  Ms. Lyons also appeared as Elaine O’Neill in the New York Premiere of John Musto’s Later the Same Evening, as Greta Fiorentino in an outreach production of Street Scene, and covered Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus at the Manhattan School of Music.  Ms. Lyons performed Mimì in the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance’s production of La Boheme.  In the October 2009 issue, Opera News magazine lauded Lyons’ “explosive” singing and described her interpretation with, “as pure of heart as ever a Mimì was.”

Ms. Lyons also has a passion for concert and recital.  In the summer of 2010, she appeared in recital with Graham Johnson as well as John Musto, and in a staged version of Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch directed by Martin Katz.  Ms. Lyons has appeared as a soloist with the UC Berkeley University Chorus, with the Vermont Philharmonic, and with the Manhattan School of Music Percussion Ensemble’s New York premiere of Fred Lerdahl’s The First Voices.  In August of 2011, she made her Davies Symphony Hall debut with the San Francisco Choral Society in their performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah featuring Rod Gilfry.  As a participant in Carnegie Hall’s Professional Training Workshop with Dawn Upshaw and Donnacha Dennehy, Ms. Lyons premiered composer Christopher Mayo’s Death on Three Mile Creek.

Ms. Lyons is the winner of the David Adams Art Song Competition, Second Place in the Pacific Musical Society, a Semifinalist in the Walter M. Naumburg Competition, and a Finalist in the Song Division of the Liederkranz Competition in both 2011 and 2013. She has been recognized with the Ellie Silver Award, James Schwabacher Jr. Memorial Award and Henry Holt Award from the Henry and Maria Holt Scholarship Competition.  Upon graduating from UC Berkeley, Ms. Lyons was awarded the Eisner Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts.  She is a recipient of the 2010 Marc and Eva Stern Fellowship at SongFest at Pepperdine as well as the 2008 Bel Canto Institute Orchestral Performance Award.  While a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Ms. Lyons was the recipient of the Thelma Fisher Memorial Fellowship in 2011 and the Mr. and Mrs. Walter Shmerler Fellowship in 2012.  In May of 2012 Ms. Lyons was named the winner of the Carmel Music Society Competition and she appeared in recital alongside pianist Bretton Brown at the Sunset Center in Carmel, California on May 31, 2013.   Recently, UC Berkeley awarded Ms. Lyons the Alfred Hertz Memorial Traveling Fellowship for the 2014 – 2015 year.