The American soprano, Maria Kanyova, obtained her B.M.E. degre from the University of Missouri - Kansas City; her Master of Music degre from University of Kansas; and her D.M.A. from the University of Kansas. She has received awards from the Liederkranz Foundation, the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Greater Miami Opera Guild, and both the Betty Allen Prize and Richard F. Gold Career Grant for her achievements with New York City Opera. She is also the winner of a 2001 Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant and a 2000 Sullivan Foundation Award.
Of Maria Kanyova’s performances as Madama Butterfly, the Denver Post raved, “Making her striking Central City debut in the demanding title role, soprano Maria Kanyova hardly could be more convincing with her appropriately youthful appearance and ability to convey the young wife’s innocence, vulnerability and pain. More important, she possesses a pure, forceful voice with a pleasing, soft edge – and she knows how to use it.” The American soprano has received equal praise for her portrayals of the leading heroines in Italian, French, German, Russian and Czech opera with companies throughout the USA.
Maria Kanyova has enjoyed a varied career encompassing a wide repertoire. Her signature role of Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata has been seen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Portland Opera, and Utah Opera; Mimì in La bohème with New York City Opera (opposite Rolando Villazón and telecast on PBS), Houston Grand Opera, and Dallas Opera; Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with the Lyric Opera of Chicago (conducted by Bruno Bartoletti), Madison Opera, and Central City Opera; Nedda in Pagliacci with Dallas Opera (conducted by Graeme Jenkins), and New York City Opera; Donna Anna in W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Glimmerglass Opera, as well as Donna Elvira with Los Angeles Opera (conducted by Hartmut Haenchen), and Opera Colorado; Susanna in W.A. Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis; Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Boston Lyric Opera, and Opera Colorado; Gretel in Engelbert Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel with Los Angeles Opera (conducted by Alan Gilbert), as well as Dew Fairy/Sandman with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Boston Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Marek Janowski); Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Boston Lyric Opera, Utah Opera and Opera Pacific; the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica with New York City Opera (conducted by George Manahan); Konstanze in W.A. Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera Colorado; the title role in Janáček’s Jenůfa with Glimmerglass Opera (production by Sir Jonathan Miller); Oscar in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera with the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Blanche de la Force in Francis Poulenc's The Dialogues of the Carmelites with Glimmerglass Opera; and Corinna in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims with New York City Opera.
A strong proponent for new opera, Maria Kanyova has created many new roles as well as reprising major American contemporary operas. As Pat Nixon in John Adams’ Nixon in China, she has traveled to the Canadian Opera Company (James Robinson’s production conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado), to Opera Colorado (conducted by Marin Alsop) - production recording released on the Naxos label in 2010 - to Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Chicago Opera Theatre, and in concert with the Ravinia Festival (conducted by Marin Alsop) and Phoenix Symphony. She has also had the unique opportunity of being only the third person to perform the role of Marie Antoinette in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, a role with which she made her European debut at the Wexford Festival, conducted by Michael Christie, and also at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Other world premieres include the Wedding Planner in William Bolcom’s A Wedding at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, directed by the late Robert Altman and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies; Ella Burling in Tobias Picker’s Emmeline which premiered at the Santa Fe Opera and later telecast on PBS; as Annabelle in the first modern performances of John Philip Sousa’s The Glass Blowers with Glimmerglass Opera and Leya in Shulamit Ran’s Between Two Worlds with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Center for America Artists.
Highlights of past seasons include her company and role debuts as Nedda at Dallas Opera, conducted by Graeme Jenkins;a return to Opera Colorado for her role debut as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail in the celebrated James Robinson production; her Boston Lyric Opera debut as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin conducted by Stephen Lord; her role debut as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro at Opera Colorado (also a Robinson production); and the title role in Madama Butterfly at Central City Opera in a new production by Catherine Malfitano making her directorial debut. A further highlight was Maria Kanyova’s return to Lyric Opera of Chicago as the obsessive-compulsive wedding planner in the world premiere of William Bolcom’s A Wedding, directed by Robert Altman and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. More operatic highlights for recent seasons included a return to San Francisco Opera as Miriam in the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel. She also appeared as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with New Orleans Opera.
Maria Kanyova enjoys a special collaboration with New York City Opera.Her debut there as Mimì, opposite Rolando Villazón, was telecast on PBS to great critical acclaim.She opened the company’s 2003-2004 season in the title role of Puccini’s Suor Angelica in a new production by James Robinson, conducted by George Manahan. Other roles at City Opera include Violetta, as well Corinna in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims. Maria Kanyova received both the Betty Allen Prize (the company’s largest award) and the Richard F. Gold Career Grant for her achievement with the company.
Maria Kanyova made her debut at Opera Theater of St. Louis as Pat Nixon, a role she has also sung at the Ravinia Festival under Marin Alsop, as well as at Chicago Opera Theater. She has also performed made her debuts with the Houston Grand Opera as Mimì, and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as the Dew Fairy and Sandman in concert performances of Hänsel und Gretel led by Marek Janowski.At Lyric Opera of Chicago, she has performed the title role in Madama Butterfly, under Bruno Bartoletti; Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera; and Violetta in La Traviata; as well as the Dew Fairy and Sandman in the Richard Jones production of Hänsel. With Opera Colorado she also has sung Donna Elvira in a new production of Don Giovanni; she has also taken on the piece’s other heroine, Donna Anna, at Glimmerglass directed by Francisco Negrin.Other important heroines include Tatyana at Opera Pacific and at Utah Opera, and Blanche de la Force in a new production of Dialogues of the Carmelites at Glimmerglass. Maria Kanyova is an alumna of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists.While there, she created the role of Leya in Shulamit Ran’s Between Two Worlds to unanimous critical acclaim.
Maria Kanyova debuted at Glimmerglass Opera Theater as Annabelle in the first modern performances of Sousa’s The Glass Blowers. At Santa Fe Opera, she created the role of Ella Burling in Tobias Picker’s Emmeline (later televised on PBS) as well as covered the title role in Richard Strauss’s Daphne. With the Kansas Opera Program, she has performed Micaëla in Carmen, the Governess in Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw, the title rolin L’Incoronazione di Poppea, and Laetitia in Menotti’s The Old Man and the Thief.
Following critically acclaimed performances of the title role of Jenůfa in a new production by Sir Jonathan Miller at Glimmerglass Opera in the summer of 2006, Maria Kanyova made her debut as Gretel in a new Douglas Fitch production of Hansel and Gretel at Los Angeles Opera, conducted by Alan Gilbert.At Utah Opera she performed what has become one of her signature roles - Violetta in La Traviata - and made her role debut as Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore in a new James Robinson production at Opera Colorado. she began the 2007-2008 season with a return to New York City Opera, reprising her role as Nedda in the Stephen Lawless production of I Pagliacci, which she first performed at Dallas Opera in 2005-2006. For Los Angeles Opera, she essayed the role of Donna Elvira in W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni under the baton of Hartmut Haenchen. Later in the season, she bowed at Boston Lyric Opera as Adina in James Robinson’s production of L’Elisir d’Amore, conducted by Stephen Lord, and returned to Opera Colorado as Pat Nixon in Nixon in China, conducted by Marin Alsop, which was recorded for release on the Naxos label (2009). In 2008-2009 season, in addition to The Ghosts of Versailles in St. Louis, she returned to Dallas Opera as Mimì in La Bohème; reprised her signature role of Violetta in James Robinson’s production of La Traviata at Portland Opera, conducted by Stephen Lord; and essayed the title role of Madama Butterfly at Madison Opera.
During the 2009-2010 season, Maria Kanyova made her European operatic debut at the Wexford Festival, reprising her critically acclaimed Marie Antoinette in James Robinson’s new production of The Ghosts of Versailles, under the baton of Michael Christie. Having previously made her triumphant debut in the role at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, she is only the third artist to take on the challenges of this seminal role since the opera’s world premiere in 1991. She returned to St. Louis in 2010 as Susanna in W.A. Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, and performed scenes from Nixon in China in concert with the Phoenix Symphony. During a busy 2011-2012 season, she made company debuts with San Francisco Opera as Pat Nixon in Nixon in China, conducted by Lawrence Renes, as well as with Lyric Opera Kansas City in this same role. She also debuted with Tulsa Opera as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, conducted by Kostis Protopapas, and returned to Madison Opera, first for the ‘Opera in the Park’ concerts and later as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, conducted by John DeMain. Ms. Kanyova also returned to Portland Opera for the 2011-2012 season concert gala, conducted by George Manahan. Highlights of the 2013-2014 season included a role debut as Blanche Devereux in Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire with Kentucky Opera, and HER critically acclaimed portrayal of Pat Nixon in Michael Cavanagh’s production of Nixon in China with San Diego Opera.
In concert, Maria Kanyova received special critical praise when she substituted for an ailing colleague with Music of the Baroque with only twenty-four hours notice, learning an obscure Alessandro Scarlatti cantata overnight. She has also sung Sergei Rachmaninov's The Bells with the Charlotte Symphony as well as W.A. Mozart's C minor Mass, Johannes Brahms' Requiem, L.v. Beethoven’s Mass in C, Benjamin Britten's War Requiem and George Frideric Handel's Messiah. She has appeared in opera arias and scenes with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Grant Park Music Festival and the Ravinia Festival.
Maria Kanyova currently resides in Chicago with her husband, and four children. She is married for 20 years to Polish-born pianist and educator Robert Kanya. Her exotic name was the product of the Slavic feminine form of Kanya's name and his difficulty pronouncing her birth name of Mary Jane.