The Iranian-American soprano, Vanessa Naghdi, obtained her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University (2008-2012); .and her Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from Arizona State University (2013-2015), in which she was the recipient of the Special Talent Award in Music and the Katherine Herberger Music Scholarship. In 2015, she won as Finalist in the Concert of Soloists Competition at Arizona State University, as well as Semi-Finalist in Phoenix Opera’s Southwest Vocal Competition. In 2013, she won Second Place in the American Prize in Opera (University Division), and was a winner of the Shirley Rabb Winston Scholarship in Voice from the National Society of Arts and Letters.
A diverse performing artist, Vanessa Naghdi made her theatrical role debut as Helen in the premiere of the musical Spellbound! with Southwest Shakespeare Company. Also on the musical theater stage, she has portrayed Christine Daaé from The Phantom of the Opera at gala events with both Arizona Opera and the Pocono Mountains Music Festival in Pennsylvania. On the concert stage, she has been the soprano soloist in John Rutter's Magnificat and in excerpts from George Frideric Handel's Messiah with the Valley Presbyterian Church Concert Series, for Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, and for J.S. Bach's cantata Der Herr denket an uns, BWV 196. She has also sung such works as Carmina Burana with the Arizona Musicfest Orchestra.
In 2013, Vanessa Naghdi made her ensemble debut with Virginia Opera in their production of Camelot. A pioneer of new works, she also created the role of Diane Slawyer in the premiere of the new musical Endangered at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Off-Broadway premiere this past summer). Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she performed as a soloist with the Washington Women’s Chorus Concert Series at the Strathmore Music Center. She has portrayed Nannetta in Harrower Opera’s production of Falstaff in Atlanta, Georgia. Other roles include Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Amelia in Amelia al ballo, Dew Fairy in Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, and Guadalena in La Périchole. She was also Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica and Solo Angel in Die Jungfrau von Orléans as well as Zerlina in a scene from W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni with the Mittelsächsisches Theater and Philharmonic in Freiberg, Germany.
Last season, Vanessa Naghdi made her operatic role debut as Amy March in Little Women as a Young Artist with Nightingale Opera Theatre in Hudson, Ohio. She then performed the role of Liat with Annapolis Opera in their production of South Pacific. In 2015, Ms. Naghdi played “Sparrow” and “Baker” in Arizona Opera Education's performance of Brundibár by Hans Krása. Also performed was Bess' Aria” accompanied by the composer, Craig Bohmler, from his new opera Riders of the Purple Sage (world-premiered by Arizona Opera this past spring) as well as premieres of Native American micro-operas and art songs in both Phoenix and Grand Canyon National Park. She had the opportunity of working with Arizona Opera early in her career through their Cover Study Program with Arizona State University. She prepared Marie in La fille du régiment, Pamina in W.A. Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Norina in Don Pasquale, and Musetta in La Bohème with them.
Most recently, Vanessa Naghdi created the title character in the premiere of the original chamber opera Mignon by contemporary composer William Clay with Arizona Chamber Opera. In 2015, she joined Arizona Opera as a Teaching Artist in their Education and Outreach department, where she gave performances as a part of the Rediscovered Voices Festival and Grand Canyon Music Festival and was described as a “strong, ringing soprano” (KJZZ 91.5). She has toured with Arizona Opera's Education and Outreach troupe, OperaTunity. She performed Rusalka in Rusalka: The Littlest Mermaid and in Opera 101 over 100 times throughout Arizona this past spring. This fall, she is thrilled to begin her residency with Opera Colorado as a Young Artist for their upcoming season. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.