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Mezzo-soprano Rehanna Thelwell has been applauded for her “superb and expressive power” by the South Florida Classical Review while her “dynamic presence” has been noted by the Washington Post. Her performances have been described as having “thrilling commitment and dramatic intelligence” with “hair-raising intensity” by the Washington Classical Review and KDHX.

 

The New Jersey native returned to the Cafritz Young Artist program of Washington National Opera for their 2020-2021 season after a successful first year in which she appeared as Third Lady in the Young Artist production of The Magic Flute as well as Conchetta in the American Opera Initiative new work, Night Trip. Along with her mainstage roles, Thelwell had the opportunity to workshop new works with Esperanza Spalding for Iphigenia and Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek for The Listeners. Additional engagements for 2020-2021 included joining the National Symphony Orchestra as the Narrator Portrait of a Queen, recording Blue with Washington National Opera, her mainstage debut with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Aunt Lou in Highway 1, U.S.A, and Opera in the Park with Madison Opera. The 2021- 2022 season sees her 3rd year with the Cafritz Young Artist program of Washington National Opera where she will sing a performance of the title role in Carmen. Additionally, she joins the South Florida Symphony Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah, Opera Philadelphia in her debut as Jocasta in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, and Memphis Symphony for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

 

Thelwell returned to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2019 as Giovanna in Rigoletto and Ruby in their newly commissioned opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones. During the 2018 season, she made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Exigence Vocal Ensemble led by Dr. Eugene Rogers. Earlier that year, Thelwell had the immense pleasure of performing alongside Talise Trevigne and Morris Robinson in The University Musical Society’s Porgy and Bess as Maria. That summer, she joined the Miami Music Festival Wagner Institute for a second time in their production of the Götterdämmerung prologue as the 2nd Norn. In her first year with the Wagner Institute, Thelwell had the privilege of sharing the stage with soprano Christine Goerke and bass-baritone Alan Held for their rendition of “The Ride of the Valkyries.” She was also invited to sing with the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra for their performance of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky in Anchorage, Alaska and returned to perform a concert series through the Kenai Musical Society in 2019.

 

Thelwell was actively involved with the University of Michigan Opera Theatre and Northern Arizona University Opera Theatre where she performed the roles of Carlotta Vance in Bolcom’s Dinner at Eight, La Principessa in Suor Angelica, Cornelia in Giulio Cesare, Zita in Gianni Schicchi and Ježibaba in Rusalka. Through the University of Michigan Opera Theatre, Thelwell had the opportunity to premiere the San Francisco Opera workshop production of Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber as Lady Wang.

 

Thelwell began her studies in 2009 at Northern Arizona University under the instruction of Deborah Raymond. In 2014, she was accepted into the Graduate program at the University of Michigan and in 2016 returned for her specialist degree. During her time at the University of Michigan, Thelwell studied with Professor Nadine Washington and Professor Daniel Washington. She has also had the pleasure of working with multiple professors in their respectable fields including Kathleen Kelly, Timothy Cheek, Martin Katz, Dr. Jerry Blackstone, and Dr. Eugene Rogers. Thelwell resides in Silver Spring M.D.