"Sweet but substantial, and toasty warm all the way down."
— Jeff Winslow , Oregon Artswatch
"... the best of the young singers was the mezzo Evanna [Lai]…"
— Hans de Groot, The WholeNote
Canadian mezzo-soprano Evanna Lai maintains a vibrant career in both Canada and the US, singing opera, concert, and early music. Recently, she made her professional European and radio debut at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw as Nancy T'ang in Nixon in China with the Dutch Youth Orchestra, and her Elm City Consort debut as Calliope in the première performance of La Lira Muta, a pastiche opera. This season, she looks forward to various concerts in the US, as well as covering the role of Larina in Yale Opera's production of Eugene Onegin, and performing Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Mexico and LA with the Zenith Ensemble and Musica Angelica.
Ms. Lai began her operatic career as the Abbess in Suor Angelica with the University of British Columbia Opera Ensemble, with which she has since performed numerous other roles such as Prince Charming (Cendrillon), Nancy (Albert Herring), Elizabeth Proctor (The Crucible), and Dorabella (Così fan tutte). With Yale Opera, she has sung Angelina (La Cenerentola), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Nora (Riders to the Sea), and Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream). She was a soloist in Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, Vaughan William's Serenade to Music (UBC Symphony Orchestra), Handel's Messiah (Vancouver Bach Choir), and Bach’s Magnificat (Vancouver Oratorio Society). She made her Carnegie Hall debut under the auspices of Yale University, performing Sibelius and Mahler songs, and returned last year to perform De Falla's Siete canciones populares españolas.
Ms. Lai is the recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts grant in 2018. She was a finalist in the 2017 George London Foundation Awards Competition and is the recipient of a Sylva Gelber Music Foundation grant and a BC Arts Council scholarship. She is a thrice-named fellow at the Toronto Summer Music Academy, specializing in art song, and a protégée of the Chamber Music Northwest Festival, where she sang with such artists as Paul Neubauer, Tara Helen O'Connor, and David Shifrin. She is a two-time recipient of both the Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship and the Vancouver Women's Musical Society Bursary. In 2015, she was a semi-finalist at the Belvedere International Singing Competition, as well as a finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council district auditions.
Ms. Lai apprenticed at Santa Fe Opera, covering the role of Stéphano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. She holds a bachelor of music from the University of British Columbia, and a master of music and artist diploma from the Yale School of Music. Currently, she resides in New Haven, Connecticut, and holds positions in several professional ensembles.