Janis Hardy, a native Minnesotan, has performed leading roles for many of our country’s major opera companies including the Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Boston Opera, Wolftrap Center for the Performing Arts and Kansas City Lyric. As a member of Minnesota Opera’s Resident Ensemble for more than ten years, she sang roles created for her in many world premieres including Argento’sPostcard from Morocco and Susa’s Transformations as well as many traditional roles, including Cherubino, Dorabella, Mrs. Peachum and Widow Begbick.
Soloing with orchestras, she has been conducted by, among others, Neville Marriner, Klaus Tennstedt, Dennis Russell Davies, Hugh Wolff and Aaron Copland, and by Philip Brunelle in VocalEssence since its inception. As a guest soloist she has appreared with many organizations including Minnesota Orchestra, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Sioux Falls, Duluth and Kansas City symphonies. As a festival soloist, she has appeared with the Aldeburgh Festival in England, The Oregon Bach Festival, The Cabrillo Music Festival in Aptos, California, The New Texas Festival and Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest. Among her discography, are a solo album of Copland’s Old American Folk Songs and Grieg’s Haugtusa as well singing the role of “Ma” in Copland’s Tender Land for Virgin records and “Sister” in Larsen’s In A Winter Garden.
Ms Hardy’s concert repertoire reflect her eclectic interests, ranging from all of Bach’s passions, most of Handel’s oratorios to premieres of works by Randall Davidson and Libby Larsen.
Ms Hardy has been a frequent guest on Minnesota Public Radio’s, A Prairie Home Companion as well as collaborating with Garrison Keillor in concerts and recordings. She has also collaborated with Bobby McFerrin on an opera project, libretto by Tony Kushner.
Her acting credits include Theatre de la Jeune Leune, The Children’s Theater, Frank Theater and Theater Latte Da. Ms Hardy can be heard each August, along with her good friends Maria Jette, Molly Sue McDonald and Dan Chouinad in the popular Sopranorama performances at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis. She is also the founder and artistic director of The Theater Playshop, a lyric theater camp for children that performs musicals written by Ms Hardy at the Howard Conn Theater, Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis.
Kira Lace Hawkins received a B.A. in Music and B.A. in Theater from St. Olaf College, and an M.F.A. in Acting from Penn State University. In addition to performing regularly in regional theaters around the midwest, Kira has served as Director of Theater at Manchester University in North Manchester, IN, and co-director of the Wagon Wheel Theater your workshop in Warsaw, IN.