Biography

Photo: Juan A. Espino

Polish-Canadian-American Mezzo-soprano Katarzyna Sadej was born in Wrocław, Poland, and is based in Los Angeles, California. Her international, eclectic career spans concert, opera, chamber music, oratorio, recital, voice over performance, as well as Polish diction coaching. Katarzyna has also performed numerous world premieres and has had over a dozen new works composed especially for her. Her solo appearances and debuts include L.A. Opera, Walt Disney Hall, Carnegie Hall, the National Arts Center Ottawa, the National Theater in Taipei, the Nuits Blanches Festival of Toronto, San Diego Opera, Le Salon de Musiques Concert Series in Los Angeles, the Ravinia Festival as a Steans Fellow, the 2012 London Olympics, the Ojai International Music Festival, the Montenegrin National Theater, the Lviv (Ukraine) and Banatul (Romania) Philharmonics, the Music Biennale Zagreb, the Bard Summerscape Music Festival, the Sembrich Opera Museum at Lake George, the Cartagena International Music Festival, the Berkshire Bach Society, and Harvard University, among other venues. Katarzyna specializes in recital performance, and has performed numerous recitals in Canada, USA, England, France, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro.

Upcoming and most recent highlights include her debut with conductor Alexander Shelley, singing Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa; an appearance with Dream Orchestra Los Angeles and conductor Daniel Suk, in prima ballerina Petra Conti’s show “I’m Gonna Live Forever”; her debut in China, at Opera Chengdu, singing Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore;  a recital with Le Salon de Musiques of Los Angeles, singing Russian songs by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff with pianist Francois Chouchan at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; her debut with the Chicago Philharmonic singing the alto solo in Wojciech Kilar’s Missa Pro Pace; and, a recital for the Los Angeles Modjeska Club. She has completed a recording of the Witold Lutosławski Derwid songs to be released in 2019, with pianist Barbara Bochenek in Los Angeles.

Other recent career highlights include her L.A. Opera debut, as the Page of Herodias in Strauss’ Salome; her Walt Disney Hall debut as the alto soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony; the title role of Bizet’s Carmen at the Palm Springs Opera Guild Gala; her Music and Beyond Festival debut singing the mezzo-soprano solo in Elissar Hanna’s world premiere of The Garden; a solo recital of Chopin songs at the Bard Summerscape Music Festival; her San Diego Opera debut as Kate Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly; and, her debut with The Industry as River Voice in the world premiere of HOPSCOTCH. She reprised this role on the recording of HOPSCOTCH, released by The Industry. 

Photo: Andre Surma

Katarzyna’s operatic roles include the Virgin in the world premiere of Paola Prestini’s Oceanic Verses (premiered at Carnegie Hall); the leading role of Isabelle Eberhart in the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar; the title roles in Handel’s Ariodante, Bizet’s Carmen and Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel; the Mozart roles of Donna Elvira, Dorabella, Cherubino and Second Lady; Maman and Libellule in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges; Bianca in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia; Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto; and, Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore.  Katarzyna’s concert / oratorio credits include the alto solos in Duruflé’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Haydn’s Paukenmesse, C.P.E. Bach’s Magnificat, J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium, Handel’s Chandos Anthems 9 and 11Purcell’s Rejoice in the Lord Always, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, and in the world premiere of A Call For Peace, composed by Sharbel Dalal. She has also performed both the alto and second soprano solos in J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor.

Katarzyna has sung many world premieres and has had over a down new works composed for her. For more information and new music career highlights click here.

Le Salon de Musiques

Katarzyna has also garnered credits in modeling, acting, and voice over work. Since 2018, she is in a collaboration as a model for fashion designer Ewelina Barlak, who designs Katarzyna’s concert attire. To find out more about this collaboration and Katarzyna’s various other projects click here.

Notable awards and distinctions include the 2016 first prize from the Susan and Virginia Hawk Vocal Competition, the 2015 first prize from the Marcella Kochańska Sembrich Vocal Competition, the Vivian Asfar Memorial Award for Vocal Excellence, the William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award from the University of Toronto, New England Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and generous scholarships from the Friends of the National Arts Center, the International Vocal Arts Institute, the Marc and Eva Stern Foundation, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, Bard College and the Canadian Opera Volunteer Committee.

Katarzyna graduated summa cum laude from the University of Ottawa, earning her Bachelor of Music degree. She holds two Master degrees, the first in Opera Performance from the University of Toronto; and, the second from Dawn Upshaw’s Vocal Arts Program at Bard College. After completing her degree at the University of Toronto, she was awarded the prestigious William & Phyllis Waters Graduating Award.  During her training years, Katarzyna participated in the Opera Lyra Ottawa young artist program; the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival; the National Arts Centre Summer Music Festival workshop with Benita Valente; the International Vocal Arts Institute at Virginia Tech University; the Marc and Eva Stern Fellowship at Songfest; the Academy of Villecroze with Dalton Baldwin and Lorraine Nubar; the Academy of Nice; and, the Foliage Art Song Festival in Vermont.

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