(She/They) Named one of the CBC's "30 hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30” Mezzo Soprano Simona Genga, is an "exceptional and rare voice" known for "her vocal plushness, amplitude and range which are mature beyond her years" (Ludwig Van/ Opera Canada). Simona has been recently named a 2023 National Semifinalist of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, and a proud graduate of the Canadian Opera Company's Studio Ensemble program after winning First Prize and Audience Choice Award at the COC Centre Stage Competition.
SIMONA GENGA They/She
Italian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Simona Genga possesses an "exceptional and rare voice" known for its "vocal plushness, amplitude and range" (Ludwig van Toronto/Opera Canada).
This season Simona makes debuts on the concert stage with the Victoria Symphony (Handel’s Messiah) and Orchestre Philharmonique et Chœurs des Mélomanes (Beethoven’s Ninth), as well as a return to the Canadian Opera Company for a cover assignment in Cherubini’s Medea.
Genga was a 22/23 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition National Semi-Finalist after winning both the Great Lakes Region and Buffalo-Toronto District rounds. The season also included her debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa) and joining San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Opera Program, appearing as Bianca in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and in recital for Metamorphosis: Recovery, Renewal, and Rebirth where she “had the audience in her grip from her first masterly measures to the last” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Simona was honoured to have subsequently won the Schwabacher Recital Series prize, and is thrilled to appear in recital this February.
Other recent engagements include the title role in Carmen for Saskatoon Opera, the premiere of Ian Cusson’s Fantasma with the Canadian Opera Company, Handel’s Messiah with the Peterborough Singers, Olga in Eugene Onegin for Highlands Opera Studio, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Brott Music Festival.
“Showing a vocal and theatrical maturity that belies her age” (The Edmonton Journal), Simona first experienced the deep impact of opera while singing Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with the Opera NUOVA in 2015. She subsequently joined Canadian Opera Company’s prestigious Ensemble Studio after winning both First Prize and Audience Choice Awards at their 2017 Centre Stage Competition. While with the Ensemble Studio, she sang Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia under the baton of Speranza Scappucci, and Gertrude in the Opera for Young Audiences performances of Hansel and Gretel.
In recent seasons, Simona was Second Maid in COC’s Elektra and premiered the role of Cindy in their Wow Factor: A Cinderella Story. As a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, she sang Annina in Patricia Racette’s production of La traviata and covered the role of Mother Chen in the premiere of Huang Ro’s An American Soldier.
Equally at home in recital, Simona has sung in Elora Festival’s Shaftsbury Salon Series, won the 2017 Norcop Song Recital Prize, and has held fellowships with the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, The Chautauqua Institute, Highlands Opera Studio, and the Franz Schubert Institut in Baden bei Wein. In summer 2021, she joined Toronto Summer Music for ‘Midsummer Melodies’, an evening of art song curated by Adrianne Pieczonka with pianist Steven Philcox.
Simona was a 2021 finalist for the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto’s Career Development Award and is a recipient of a 2019 Sullivan Foundation Career Development Grant. She has been recognized as one of CBC’s “30 hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30” and received career grants from the Hnatyshyn Foundation, the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation, and multiple Ruby Mercer Awards. She won third prize in the 2019 Christina and Louis Quilico Competition, as well as the 2018 Barbara and Stanley Richman Award for demonstrating "exceptional potential for a significant career" at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.