English-Japanese soprano Julia Mariko Smith was born in the North East of England and grew up playing the piano and flute from an early age. Julia has recently appeared as Gretel Hansel and Gretel with Waterperry Opera Festival, Fredrika A Little Night Music with Buxton Opera Festival and in recital with Dame Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton as a Momentum Artist at the 2021 Leeds Lieder Festival. She covered the role of Amore for Opera North’s BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and performed the role of Ellie in a revived filmed version of Man in the Moon, an original piece by Charles Court Opera. In 2020 she covered and performed Barbarina The Marriage of Figaro and the Fairy Godmother in the Whistle Stop Opera film Cinderella; both with Opera North. In 2019 she performed Soeur Constance Dialogues des Carmélites at RNCM Opera and toured as a principal/ensemble member with the National G&S Opera Company across Buxton, Darlington, Harrogate, Malvern, Guildford and Bury St. Edmunds. Julia also performed as a soloist in Charles Court Opera’s boutique pantomime Beowulf during their 2021/22 season.
Julia completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Musical Performance (Distinction) at the RNCM in 2019 and subsequently in 2020 an Associate Studentship under the tutelage of Deborah Rees. Julia has worked in masterclass and received coaching from many notable singers including Janice Kelly, Amanda Roocroft, Sir John Tomlinson and Janice Watson to
name a few and attended a residency with Opera North, coached by Tim Albery and Nicholas Kok in February 2019. Julia won the prestigious Dame Eva Turner Prize, The Claire Crozia & Betty Bannerman Award for French Singing, The James Etherington Music Award, The Jack Smith Memorial Prize, The Sue Willis Memorial Prize, runner up for the Sir David Maddison Opera Prize and appeared as a finalist for the Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Prize for Singers in 2020.
Prior to her studies at the RNCM Julia graduated with first class in Music (BA Hons) at Liverpool Hope University where she performed frequently at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and on Classic FM through the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. Julia subsequently became a member of the consort Voices of Hope and graduated with an MA by Creative Practice with this ensemble. As a member of Voices of Hope, she toured extensively including performances at the House of Lords and to the South of France. The consort also received masterclasses from I Fagiolini director, Robert Hollingworth. While in Liverpool, Julia performed occasionally with the Liverpool Bach Collective, directed by Philip Duffy, and with the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Orchestra conducted by Professor Stephen Pratt. She has also performed with the Canzonetta Choir in venues across the UK
including Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and Liverpool Echo Arena.
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YouTube playlist includes:
- Pleurs d’or, Gabriel Fauré (recorded 2021 with Dame Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton as part of the Leeds Lieder Festival)
- Be kind and courteous, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Britten (recorded Dec 2020)
- Wo Bin Ich?, Hänsel und Gretel, Humperdinck (recorded Dec 2020)
- Prendi, per me sei libero, L’elisir d’amore, Donizetti (recorded Dec 2020)
- The Cricket’s Aria, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Dove (recorded Dec 2020)
- Grazie ai numi parti… Nel Grave Tormento, Mitridate, re di Ponto, Mozart (recorded 2020)
- Epheu, No. 3 Mädchenblumen Op.22, Richard Strauss (recorded 2020)
- Ariel, a character profile of Ariel from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, Jonathan Dove (recorded 2020)
- Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella extract (recorded 2020)
“Julia Mariko Smith was mesmerising as a feisty, mischievous but vulnerable Gretel. Her singing must be commended too, particularly in the song when they are praying in the woods at night.”Daily Info
“Julia Mariko Smith is the tirelessly bubbly Fairy Godmother, her white tights straight out of panto, encouraging her apprentices—the audience—to brandish their magic wands.”Opera Magazine
“Julia Mariko Smith’s captivating Fairy Godmother introduces the scene in rhyming couplets and the audience at home is greeted as Cinderella’s visitors are encouraged to help with a spell.”The Reviews Hub
“Julia Mariko Smith’s Kate was notable for the bell-like clarity of her voice.”Opera Magazine
“The final words must go to Carrell as Blanche and Mariko Smith as Constance. Their skill as singers and talent as actors was astounding.”Northern Soul