Oberlin Conservatory of Music; BM and MM in Vocal Performance, Kent State University; doctoral studies in vocal performance and opera at Louisiana State University; major teachers and coaches include James F. Stuart, James Mismas, Patricia Havranek, Dale Moore, Gary Arvin, Eric Dalheim, Henry Holt, Robert Grayson and Martina Arroyo
Ms. Harris is a versatile artist who has won critical acclaim for her performances of opera, operetta, concerts and musical theatre works in a wide range of repertoire. Performance highlights include the title role in Massenet’s Manon with Baton Rouge Opera and Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Arizona Opera, both under the direction of bass Giorgio Tozzi; dancing Jerome Robbins’ original choreography alongside Broadway veteran Bebe Neuwirth in Cleveland Opera’s production of West Side Story; and singing the soprano solos in Poulenc’s Gloria with the New Orleans Symphony. In her many seasons at Ohio Light Opera, Ms. Harris was featured in over 30 roles written by major operetta composers. Some of her most memorable roles include Fiametta in Boccaccio, Kathy in The Student Prince, Pepi in Weiner Blut, Christel inDer Vogelhaendler , Natalie in The Merry Widow (opposite Paul Groves), Bessie in Merry England and Gabrielle in La Vie Parisienne. Having distinguished herself as an expert interpreter of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas, Ms. Harris has sung nearly all the female roles. She is most noted for her portrayal of Yum-Yum in The Mikado, a role she has performed more than 50 times at Ohio Light Opera, as well as, Toledo Opera and at the Grant Park Music Festival.
Other operatic and concert highlights include roles with the Utah Festival Opera, Eugene Opera, Opera Theatre of San Antonio and Arkansas Opera Theatre; creating the role of Lola Lopez in the world premiere of Robert Ward’s Lady Kate at Triangle Opera; soloist in Handel’s Messiahwith the Utah Symphony performed in the Mormon Tabernacle; and soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Baton Rouge Symphony; concert repertoire and pops with New Orleans, Dayton, Champaign-Urbana, Sinfonia da Camera, Illinois Chamber Orchestra, Prairie Ensemble, BACH and Heartland Philharmonic.
Her vast experience as a director and choreographer has resulted in her directing full productions of opera, operetta and musical theatre for university opera programs and professional groups across the country. As Artistic Director of Prairie Fire Theatre and Stage Director, Ms. Harris launched a ten year Gilbert and Sullivan Festival and directed The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Gondoliers, Ruddigore andIolanthe. Nationally, she was invited as a guest director to stage The Yeomen of the Guard at the prestigious Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina and has worked as a choreographer at Eugene Opera (Trial by Jury/The Mikado, Opera Cleveland (Pirates of Penzance), Ohio Light Opera (The Gondoliers), The North Carolina School of the Arts (La Perichole), and Bowling Green State University (Orpheus in the Underworld).
In demand as a guest clinician, Ms. Harris has given master classes for the “singer-actor” at universities including Louisiana State University and Northwestern University and is a regular master class instructor at High Schools in the Chicago suburbs. Ms. Harris is currently Instructor of Voice, Co-Director of Opera Studio at the University of Illinois, and Director of the ISYM Musical Theatre Camp. Prior to her appointment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005, Ms. Harris served as Director of Opera and Assistant Professor of Voice at DePauw University and was on the Voice and Opera faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University.
Ms. Harris made two directorial debuts: The University of Illinois Opera Theatre’s Production of South Pacific and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas production of The Magic Flute. Other engagements include serving as director for The Medium for the U of I Opera Studio, singing the role of Margaret Johnson in The Light in the Piazza for the Celebration Company at the Station Theatre, directing Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida for Southern Ohio Light Opera, starring Faith Esham as Ida, singing the soprano II solos in Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Baroque Artists of Champaign Urbana, performing operetta arias on An Evening of Strauss Waltzes and Viennese Bonbons at the Allerton Barn Festival, and singing the role of Julia Child in Lee Hoiby's one woman opera, "Bon Appetit!" with the Prairie Ensemble. She also performed the role of Illona in The Game of Love at the Station Theatre, stage directed and sang the role of Ruth in Pirates of Penzance at the Allerton Music Barn Festival at the University of Illinois, and stage directed The Mikado for Sinfonia da Camera, Ian Hobson, conductor.
Her voice students have won major awards and scholarships to graduate schools, such as The Cleveland Institute of Music, The Manhattan School of Music, Florida State University, Northwestern University, and have attended summer programs at Brevard Music Festival, AIMS, Daniel Ferro Vocal Institute, BASOTI, and Festival di Roma. Likewise, her musical theater singers have appeared on Broadway in Addams Family, National tours of Les Mis, Million Dollar Quartet, Disney World roles of Ariel, Nemo, and many regional theater companies across the country.