Mezzo-soprano Dawn Padula, Director of Vocal Studies, joined the School of Music faculty in 2009-2010. She completed both a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Trinity University, a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Houston Moores School of Music, where she focused in her dissertation on pedagogical issues with the male voice, particularly registration negotiation and passaggio.
She has performed many of the major mezzo roles, including Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Meg in Falstaff, Mercedes in Carmen, Dangeville in Adriana Lecouvreur, and The Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte (Opera in the Heights), the Gingerbread Witch in Hansel and Gretel (The Living Opera), Loma Williams in Cold Sassy Tree, Maddalena in Rigoletto (Amarillo Opera, Concert Opera of Seattle), Vera in Gene Murray’s The Wage of Sin (Amarillo Opera—recorded for educational television), Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri, Erika in Vanessa, and Marchesa Melibea in Il Viaggio a Reims (Moores Opera Center), Ragonde in Le Comte Ory (Manhattan School of Music Opera Theatre), and the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas (Ars Lyrica Houston/Houston Chamber Choir). The Newport Classics label has released her performance as Bellino in Casanova’s Homecoming with the Moores Opera Center. Dr. Padula also created the role of Hagga for the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ The Thirteen Clocks for the Moores Opera Center (also recorded for commercial release). For the Houston Grand Opera, Dr. Padula sang the role of Sappho in a reading and recording session of Mark Adamo’s newest opera, Lysistrata, as well as participating in a recording of scenes from Daniel Catan’s Salsipuedes, for their New Music Week.
Her concert repertoire includes solo work in Durufle’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Israel in Egypt, and Judas Maccabeus, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, Solemn Vespers, and Coronation Mass, Debussy’s La Damoiselle Elue, Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody, Schubert’s Ständchen, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Choral Fantasy and Symphony No. 9, Honnegger’s King David, Bach’s Magnificat, Bernstein’s Chicester Psalms, Copland’s In the Beginning, and Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War. She has appeared as a soloist with several leading performance organizations, including the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Masterworks Chorus, the Houston Chamber Choir, the Alamo City Men’s Chorale, the Sons of Orpheus Men’s Ensemble, CANTARE Houston, Mercury Baroque, the Woodlands Symphony Orchestra, the Men’s Consort of Houston, the Symphony North of Houston, the Black Note Ensemble, the Bay Area Chorus, and the Foundation for Modern Music. With Ars Lyrica Houston, she has portrayed the roles of both Tempo and Disinganno in the American premiere of the 1737 version of Handel’s oratorio, Il Trionfo del Tempo é delle Veritá, the role of Phoebus in Bach’s BWV 201, a soloist in Jacquet de la Guerre’s Jepthe, as well as the title role of Cain in Scarlatti’s Il Primo Omicidio Overo. She performed as the Alto Soloist in Penderecki’s Credo with the Houston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Jahja Ling of the San Diego Symphony. In the spring of 2010, she performed as the Alto Soloist in Mozart’s Requiem in Cleveland’s famed Severance Hall to commemorate Kent State University’s Centennial Celebration. She has also recently performed Weill’s Die Sieben Todsünden with Col Canto Houston, and Brahms’ Zwei Gesänge with the St. Cecilia Concert Series of Houston.