Mary Plazas

Photo of Mary Plazas

Professor of Singing


Email: [email protected]

Principal Study Tutor

Mary Plazas made her operatic debut in 1992 with English National Opera as the Heavenly Voice Don Carlos, and was a former company principal. Roles have included Mimì (ENO/Opera North/Bregenz Festival/West Australian Opera/Royal Albert Hall), Anne Trulove (Bayerisches Staatsoper/New Israeli Opera/Opera Factory), Donna Elvira (ENO/Glyndebourne on Tour/Valladolid), Nedda I Pagliacci, Cio-Cio-San, Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Leila, Adina, Nannetta, Micaëla, Marzelline Fidelio, Lauretta, Oscar and the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen (ENO), Juanita in Weill’s Kuhhandel, Salud La Vida Breve, Susanna Le Nozze di Figaro and Elisetta Il matrimonio segreto (Opera North), Heavenly Voice (Royal Opera at the BBC Proms), Angelic Voice Palestrina (Royal Opera in London and New York), Duchess Powder Her Face (Almeida/Aldeburgh/Channel 4/LSO at the Barbican), Mum Greek (London Sinfonietta at the Barbican), Mrs Coyle Owen Wingrave (Concertgebouw), Alexina Le Roi Malgré Lui (Grange Park Opera) and Elisabetta Roberto Devereux, title role Lucrezia Borgia, Ismene in the Richard Strauss arrangement of Mozart’s Idomeneo and title role Maria di Rohan (Buxton).

She created two roles in operas by Jonathan Dove, Tina Flight (Glyndebourne) and Blue Fairy Pinocchio (Opera North). She sung Karin in the world premiere of Gerald Barry’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland/Dublin), performed the title role in Peter Ëotvös’s Lady Sarashina (Opéra National de Lyon at the Opéra Comique), sung the lead in the world premiere of Eleanor Alberga’s Letters of a Love Betrayed a joint commission from the Royal Opera House and Music Theatre Wales and created the role of Madame Piccard in Will Gregory’s Piccard in Space for the BBC at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Recordings include Mercadante’s Emma d’Antiocchia for Opera Rara’s 100 years of Italian Opera, Pacini’s Maria Regina d’Inghilterra with the Philharmonia under David Parry also for Opera Rara, and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with the London Symphony Orchestra under André Previn for Deutsche Grammophon. For Chandos Records she has recorded Marguerite Faust, Adina, Zerlina, Liu Turandot and Micaëla.

Mary Plazas has given many recitals and concerts including solo recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, and the Karajan Centre in Vienna. She has also performed at the Aldeburgh, Bath, Brighton, Cheltenham, Chester and Brighton Festivals. Concert engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No 8 (RPO/Sinopoli), Mozart Requiem (Hallé/Skrowacewski), Brahms’ German Requiem (CBSO/Oramo), Shostakovich Symphony No 14 (Irish Chamber Orchestra/Maksymiuk), Schumann’s Paradies und die Peri (OAE/Elder), Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne (Hallé/Elder), Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 (BBC NOW/Daniel), Saint-Saens’ The Promised Land (BBC NOW/Hickox), Bach’s Magnificat (BBC Philharmonic/Noseda) Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass (Philharmonia/Fischer) and Britten’s Les Illuminations (Britten Sinfonia/Poppen). She sung in the first performance in St Petersburg of Tippett’s A Child of Our Time.

Mary Plazas studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she was awarded the Curtis Gold Medal, and at the National Opera Studio. She won the 1991 Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarship and the NFMS/Esso Award for Young Singers, and has received support from the Peter Moores Foundation. She has worked for periods of intensive study on interpretation in Geneva with the Swiss tenor, Eric Tappy.