English-Japanese soprano Julia Mariko Smith was born in the North East of England and grew up playing classical piano and flute from an early age. In 2020 she covered and performed Barbarina The Marriage of Figaro for Opera North and appeared as Fairy Godmother in their filmed Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella. In 2021 she will appear as Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel for Waterperry Opera Festival, Guilietta/Cleopatra in Wexford Opera’s Pocket Opera: Shakespeare in Love and is covering Amore Orfeo ed Euridice for Opera North.
Julia had prepared Mary Crawford Mansfield Park (Royal Northern College of Music), Fredrika A Little Night Music (Buxton Opera Festival) and Belinda Dido and Aeneas (Waterperry Opera) which were unable to be performed due to COVID-19. Previous roles include Soeur Constance Dialogues des Carmélites (RNCM Opera, 2019) and Gianetta The Gondoliers touring with the National G&S Opera Company across Buxton, Darlington, Harrogate, Malvern, Guildford and Bury St. Edmunds (2019).
At the RNCM Julia completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Musical Performance (Distinction) in 2019 and subsequently an Associate Studentship in 2020 under the tutelage of Deborah Rees. During her studies she worked in masterclass with Sir John Tomlinson, Amanda Roocroft and Janice Watson and attended a residency with Opera North, coached by Tim Albery and Nicholas Kok. Julia also 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 and runner up for the Sir David Maddison Opera Prize.
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:
- 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 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