Soprano Mara Bonde has thrilled audiences in diverse venues throughout the United States and Europe with her electric stage presence and musical artistry. Her voice has been described as having “sweet purity of tone” (Boston Herald) and “ravishing” (The Boston Globe).
Equally at home in both classical and popular styles, Mara is no stranger to the world of “symphony pops”. She has been the guest artist for “Holiday Pops” with the Boston Pops, the Naples Philharmonic, the Syracuse Symphony, the New Haven Symphony, and the Charlotte Symphony. She made her Boston Pops debut under the direction of Keith Lockhart in “Brush up your Shakespeare”, which was nationally televised on PBS’s Evening at Pops. Mara made her debut with the Baton Rouge Symphony singing “Holiday Pops” in 2011 and returned for encore holiday performances in 2013. On the concert stage, she has sung with the Utah Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the Stamford Symphony, the Ridgefield Symphony, the Nashua Symphony, the Handel & Haydn Society, and Boston Baroque. Mara is a featured soloist on Robert Shaw’s Telarc recording Appear and Inspire. She performs and records regularly with Boston Musical Theater (specializing in the “Great American Songbook”), both here and abroad, and has toured with them in South Korea, Russia and Belgium. A very special recording project is the newly released Sound Spectrum (Navona Records) featuring Mara collaborating with her father, composer and pianist Allen Bonde.
Mara’s recent opera debuts include Hanna in The Merry Widow with Imperial Symphony Orchestra; Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Sarasota Opera; and Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos with Boston Lyric Opera. She was seen as Kathie in “Remembering Romberg” at the Historic Asolo Theater with the Artist Series of Sarasota. She has also graced the stages of Opera Omaha, Glimmerglass Opera, Utah Opera, Light Opera Oklahoma, Opera Company of North Carolina, National Opera Company (Raleigh), and the Lake George Opera Festival, in works ranging from Mozart to Mollicone, and Sullivan to Sondheim. Mara was a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (First Place Winner Rocky Mountain Region), and the First Prize winner in the Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship Awards. Current engagements include a return to Boston Lyric Opera for Le vin herbé.
Mara holds a Master of Music in vocal performance from Boston University where she was invited to join the Opera Institute. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in French from Mount Holyoke College, studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and at Tanglewood Music Center. She was a Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and one of 12 singers selected to study at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England, with Richard Bonynge and Joan Sutherland.
Handel: Messiah – ‘Rejoice greatly’
Handel: Samson – ‘Let the bright seraphim’
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Naples Philharmonic – Holiday Pops Concert
“A highlight of the evening: The return of rising star, Mara Bonde. Stunning in two knockout gowns, she thrilled the house and this reviewer with her beautiful rendition of Mozart’s ‘Exultate Jubilate’… She’s beautiful, certainly, but key to her impact is a gorgeous voice, marvelous breath control and an ease at both ends of the vocal spectrum… Bonde also paired with principal trumpet Matt Sonneborn in an exciting musical dialogue during Handel’s ‘Let the Bright Seraphim.’ The two musicians Ñ vocalist and trumpeter Ñ danced over the musical topography of the selection.”
– Naples News, December 15, 2006
Opera Omaha – Paul Bunyan
“… the production featured a number of other memorable performances. In the role of Paul Bunyan’s daughter Tiny, soprano Mara Bonde had a tender, peaceful presence.”
– Omaha World-Herald, October 6, 2005
Cape Symphony Orchestra – Barber: Knoxville: Summer of 1915
“The personable soprano’s artful interpretation of Samuel Barber’s nostalgic, atmospheric ‘Knoxville: Summer of 1915’ was a joy. Her voice had just the right mixture of freshness and elan to evoke the character…”
– The Cape Cod Times, April 6, 2004
Utah Symphony – Poulenc: Stabat Mater
“Bonde sang with clarity and lyric beauty. When called upon, her voice easily soared over chorus and orchestra.”
– The Salt Lake Tribune, April 11, 2004
New Haven Symphony
“Soprano Mara Bonde stole the shows Friday evening at the Shubert Theater… Bonde appeared, almond-haired and lithe in a black dress with glittering silver bodice. Her ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ was lovely for her operatic control, purity of tone and a surprising earthiness, which was available to her whenever she chose to express it. Bonde, sophisticated but tender, won hearts singing ‘I Got Lost in His Arms.’ Her ‘If I Loved You’ at first came through passionate and relaxed, then her voice became the song: profound and magical. It was a classic performance.”
– New Haven Register, October 19, 2003
The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra
“What a gift for us when soloist Mara Bonde brought her ultra pure and clear soprano to ‘O Holy Night.’ How could concertgoers not be moved by one of the most beautiful renditions of this carol anyone could hear? Before the fervent carol, Bonde did a beautiful ‘Trois pour Noel’ three unusual carols in French and English that had every syllable ring with clarity. The Pops, Bonde and Chorus blanketed the arena again with a ‘White Christmas’ in memory of one-time Pops soloist Rosemary Clooney. Their absolutely stunning version was about as sweetly sentimental as any could be.”
– Connecticut Post, December 22, 2002
Opus Chamber Orchestra
“Duets featuring soprano Mara Bonde and Nick Norton on piccolo trumpet were the outstanding performances of this memorable concert. They first collaborated on ‘Eternal Source of Light Divine’ from ‘Ode to the Birthday of Queen Anne.’ Singing an extended, flowing phrase, Bonde’s richly colored voice passed the melody to Norton, who imitated Bonde’s style and nuance exactly. Bonde and Norton’s ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ from the opera ‘Samson’ was one of the most delightful duet performances in memory. The charismatic soprano and engaging trumpeter filled the score with joyous exclamation. Bonde also was featured in a suite from the opera ‘Xerxes.’ The dark timbre of her low register was heard in the well-known aria ‘Ombra mai fu.’ The aria ‘Quella che tutta fe’ allowed Bonde’s captivating personality more opportunity for dramatic expression as she sang the lines ‘I have lost my love.'”
– The Salt Lake Tribune, November 20th, 2001
National Opera Company (Raleigh, NC) – Cosi fan tutte
“The most delightful performance was that of Mara Bonde as the maid Despina, who helps the men with their plan. Bonde’s high soprano, which has a warm tone with a touch of silver where needed, was a delight to hear. And her acting was impeccable.”
– The News %26 Observer, March 13, 2000