Laurel Beard

Adjunct Professor, Voice  

Laurel Beard

A dynamic vocal artist, soprano Laurel Beard, excels in a variety of dramatic repertoire, including operatic and classical musical theatre. This season marks her much-anticipated role debut as Gilda (Rigoletto) with Jerusalem Lyric Opera, under the baton of Tiberiu Soare. Laurel will be featured as the soprano soloist in Hndel’s Messiah (HWV 56) with the Streator Community Choir, in addition to appearing as a soloist with the Sinfonietta Bel Canto chamber orchestra. Returning to Prairie Fire Theatre, Laurel will join the touring production of the original children’s opera How to be a Superhero by Nancy Steele Brokaw. In recital, Laurel will appear alongside bassoonist, Scott Pool, Academy Director of TALIS International Music Festival, for a series entitled, ‘Politically Speaking’, with performances at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Chicago Public Library, Bradley University and Eastern Illinois University. Laurel joined Resonanz Opera for their 2017-2018 season as a Singing Artist, where audiences enjoyed seeing her as both Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica) as well as Mrs. Gobineau (The Medium). The 2016-2017 season marked Laurel’s foray into musical theatre as Rosabella in Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella, with Prairie Fire Theatre. That same season also saw her role debut as Violetta (La traviata) with the 17th Annual La Musica Lirica International Music Festival, appearing throughout Emilia-Romagna, Italy, under the baton of Joseph Rescigno. For the 2015-2016 season, Laurel was featured in dual productions with Chicago Summer Opera, performing both Mrs. Gobineau (The Medium) and Suor Cercatrice (Suor Angelica). Additional portrayals include Nannetta (Falstaff), Juliette (Romo et Juliette), Musetta (La bohme), Leila (Les pcheurs de perles), Giulietta (Les contes d’Hoffmann) and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni).

In contrast to her more traditional role interpretations, Laurel is equally proficient in contemporary and twentieth-century chamber opera and recital works. This season, she is honored to take part in the world premiere of a body of work bringing awareness to suicide prevention, in the original operatic scene Life Within the Current by Samuel Villano, where she will portray the role of Erin as a special guest artist with Illinois Wesleyan University Opera Theatre. In 2012, she was featured in the role of Sally Mae for the world premiere of Baby Shower, an opera by Jason Charnesky and Bruce Trinkley, at Illinois State University. Laurel portrayed Singer #1 in the 2009 regional premiere of Conrad Susa’s Transformations, with Georgia State University Opera Theater. In concert, she has had the pleasure of performing the Georgia State University premiere of Song of Songs, a contemporary chamber setting of biblical text by Atlanta-based composer, and GSU faculty member, Curtis Bryant.

Laurel remains dedicated to outreach within the arts community, frequently appearing with various performance organizations such as, Dramatic Crossroads Opera and Illinois Opera League, to name a few. Throughout their 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons, Laurel was a roster member of the Chicago chapter of Opera on Tap, performing as a soloist for monthly themed concerts. In 2015, Laurel was invited to appear as the featured guest artist with Tara Winds, Georgia’s premiere symphonic wind ensemble, for their annual July 4th Chattahoochee Hills Celebration event.

In 2016, Laurel was named Adjunct Professor of Music Theatre at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL. She holds a M. M. in vocal performance with a full graduate assistance-ship from Illinois State University and a B. Mu., also in vocal performance, from Georgia State University. Special awards include being named a 2010 finalist in the Lilian Ripley Koch Vocal Competition and consecutive 2 nd place finishes at Georgia NATS in both 2006 and 2007. Laurel studies under internationally acclaimed tenor, Harold Meers.