Described as having the ideal voice for Strauss, Regina Zona’s performance abilities have earned her great success and acclaim throughout her career. Her artistry personifies what it means to be versatile: Regina combines a bright clarity with depth of tone, creating a multi-faceted color capable of adapting to a broad range of art song, concert, and operatic repertoire. Her voice lends itself to these with an amazing adaptability, mastering nuance through her commitment to musical and dramatic interpretation ranging from strength and intensity to a fine, delicate conveyance. Critics have claimed Regina is “nothing short of sensational” (Sarasota Herald Tribune) and have called her “the absolute rapture of the evening” (Rome News).
Ms. Zona made her New York debut as the soprano soloist in an Evening of Mozart at Lincoln Center with the National Chorale. Since then, she has enjoyed a long history of performing with symphonies around the world in oratorio and concert works, including Knoxville Summer of 1915 (Barber), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, the Mozart Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Poulenc’s Gloria and the Vier letzte Lieder by Strauss. Regina has had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s finest conductors, such as Emmanuel Villaume, Grant Llewellyn, Victor DeRenzi, JoAnn Falletta, James Meena, and Eve Queler. Some of her favorite performances include those with Tokyo Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, and the Buffalo Philharmonic.
An avid and frequent recitalist, Regina specializes in the performance of American art song. Her most cherished project to date is her album entitled Connection: Three Song Cycles, comprised of works by Jake Heggie. Recorded with South African pianist Kathleen Tagg, the CD was released worldwide in 2014 by the NAXOS American Classics label. Classical Net, among many others, reviewed the album saying “Regina Zona turns in splendid performances in all songs. She adapts to the chameleonic character of the songs with seeming ease, never missing a dramatic turn or falling short on a vocal challenge. Indeed, she hits the plentiful high notes with confidence and portrays the characters here with an unerring sense for their emotional state.” The work garnered praise from Heggie himself, proclaiming Ms. Zona to be a “truly phenomenal performer.” The CD release led to a series of recitals across the country, including debut performances at SongFest in Los Angeles and the Opera America National Opera Center in New York. The collaborative duo also performed an American Song recital tour of South Africa with her in 2010 (commemorating Samuel Barber’s centenary year), followed by a second South African tour the subsequent year.
Regina’s work includes a focus on the education and sustainability of American art song and opera: she wishes to promote the knowledge of this repertoire by creating performances of contemporary American composers’ music, tied to information about the works and the composers themselves. Regina is currently in the process of creating the American Voices Connection, an online curated space designed to increase singers’ accessibility to the vast amount of quality repertoire that currently exists, so much of which is still relatively unknown. She frequently collaborates with American composers of art song and opera on the dissemination of their works.
A performer on the operatic stage throughout her career, Regina’s repertoire in this genre includes the heroines of Strauss and Mozart: Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos, Chrysothemis in Elektra, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, as well as some of the great 20th century divas including the title role in Vanessa. Additional roles performed include Odabella in Verdi’s Attila, Leonora in Fidelio, Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito, Alice Ford in Falstaff, and the title role in Tosca.
The soprano’s technical prowess and dramatic ability were evident from the start of her career; Regina received much critical acclaim for her portrayals of the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, a role she performed with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Toledo Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Tulsa Opera, as well as performances in Philadelphia. The Toledo Blade exclaimed, “From her first hypnotizing entrance [Zona] never failed to portray the embodiment of unrepentant deception. And that, considering the coloratura vocal requirements, was no easy task.” Of her Musetta in La bohéme, Opera Magazine described her as having “tone to spare…a multicolored vocal portrait, filled with compelling nuances.” Ms. Zona continued to impress, winning the highly distinguished Neue Stimmen International Vocal Competition in Gütersloh, Germany, and she also took First Place honors in the Mario Lanza Competition, Giargiari and Arturo Bel Canto Competition, and the Liederkranz Society of New York Competition.
In addition to her work as a performing artist, Regina also excels at the training of young artists. She has held teaching and director positions at several universities in the U.S., including serving as the Opera Program Director at the University of Minnesota Duluth from 2008 to 2012 and as Artistic Director of the Sieur Du Luth Opera Training Program for young aspiring opera singers from 2008 to 2010. Regina received her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music, an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University. She currently resides in the New York area, where she offers voice lessons and dramatic coachings.