San Francisco, Los Angeles
Classical, Popular, Broadway, Jazz
Aleicia Byrnes, dramatic soprano and Vice President, Programs, of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, was born in Toronto, Canada and emigrated at the age of ten to the U.S. with her parents, first to Michigan and then to Los Angeles. After graduating from Hollywood High School, she studied music and voice at CSUN, UCLA, San Diego Opera Center, the Aspen Music School and Festival and the Bayerische Staatsoper’s Muenchener Singschul.
Winning first place in the 1980 Zachary Competition took her to theaters in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxemburg, including the Munich State Opera, Zurich Opera and opera houses in Hamburg, Mannheim, Nurnberg, Wiesbaden, Oldenburg, Regensburg, Cologne, Berlin and Vienna. She prizes the opportunity this provided to hone her art and stagecraft, beginning with young dramatic soprano roles: Agathe in Weber’s Der Freischutz, Rosalinde in J. Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Marina in Wolf-Ferrari’s I Quattri Rusteghi and growing into the highly dramatic soprano Fach.
Among her favorites were the Verdian soprano roles of Otello’s Desdemona, Don Carlo’s Elisabetta,Il Trovatore’s Leonora, Un Ballo in Maschera’s Amelia and the title roles of Aida, and Puccini’sMadama Butterfly and Tosca, Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, Mutter in Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel, the Foreign Princess in Dvorack’s Rusalka, Mme. Lidoine in Les Dialogues Des Carmelites by Poulenc, Mutter in Reimann’s Ein Traumspiel, Die Saengerin in Boesman’s Reigen, Leonore in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Marta in D’Albert’s Tiefland, Marie in Berg’sWozzeck, Magda in Menotti’s The Consul, and Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring.
Her affinity for both Strauss and Wagner roles blossomed in Richard Strauss’ heroines Die Faerberin in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Ariadne of Ariadne auf Naxos, the title role of his Elektra, and Wagner’s Irene in Rienzi, Senta in Der Fliegende Hollaender, Kundry in Parsifal, Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, and Die Walkure Helmwige and Ortlinde.
Brunnhilde and Turandot excerpts, the soprano solos in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mahler’s 8th Symphony, Bach’s Magnificat, Schoenberg’s 2nd String Quartet, Op. 10, R. Strauss’ Four Last Songs, A Charles Ives Evening, an Eric Satie program, Elizabethan Songs, and a Multi-Cultural Christmas Music Afternoon form part of her concert repertoire.
Returning to the States to sing the Dyer’s Wife in David Hockney’s production of R. Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, double cast with Gwyneth Jones, was a highlight.
As a testament to her flexible technique and adaptability, she was delighted to be asked to sing Rosalinde in J. Strauss’ Die Fledermaus in the same season in which she sang Tosca, Amelia and Kundry.
Excited by guiding her students’ evolution, she now finds her philosophy of teaching informed by a quote which inspired her artistic development throughout her career: “Imagination expands technique and technique expands imagination.”
She indulges her passion for the arts, theater and dancing, Tai Chi, Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais, all of which shape her teaching. She teaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles at the Byrnes-Harris Voice Studio with her husband Paul Harris, currently vocal coach at San Francisco Opera, and formerly of the State Operas of Vienna, Munich and Berlin.
Lessons rescheduled with appropriate notice.