"...I have never seen such a convincingly played pants role as Xenia Puskarz Thomas. All with no distortion of her voice... put wholly at the service of her role. She is of the new generation of actor/singers who are changing the way we think of opera...."
Nicholas Routley for The Australian Stage
Australian mezzo-soprano Xenia Puskarz Thomas is a young artist of the Bayerische Staatsoper Opernstudio.
Xenia’s roles in the Bayerische Staatsoper 2023/24 season include: Flora (La traviata), Mercédès (Carmen), Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Puck (Max und die Superheld:innen), Krystina (Die Passagierin) und Servia (Lucrezia). Recently in the Opernstudio, Xenia performed the role of Hänsel from Hänsel und Gretel (Humperdinck) in a semi-staged concert performance at the Prinzregententheater with ATTACCA orchestra players. In addition to her operatic roles, Xenia has enjoyed regular concert performances with the Opernstudio in theatres across Germany and Italy. Particular concert highlights include soloist with the Bayerische Rundfunk in ‘Elias’ (Mendelssohn) under the baton of Duncan Ward, and soloist with players of the Bayerische Staatsorchester in both the ‘Requiem’ (W. A. Mozart) and ‘Missa Solemnis’ (L. Mozart). Her roles of the 2022/23 season included: Melanto/Minerva (Il Ritorno /The year of magical thinking), Die Vertraute (Elektra), Sandmännchen (Hänsel und Gretel), Rabe (Der Mondbär), Küchenjunge (Rusalka) and Dackel/Specht (Das schlaue Füchslein).
Xenia received her Master's Degree from the Juilliard School of Music in 2021, under the guidance of professor Edith Wiens, while the recipient of the prestigious full-scholarship Kovner Fellowship. During her time at Juilliard, Xenia performed the 2021 Alice Tully Hall Vocal Arts Honours Recital with Gracie Francis; Ravel’s Shéhérazade in Pierre Vallet’s Liederabend; Bach’s B Minor Mass conducted by Richard Egarr with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; and the role of “Aristeo” from Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo directed by Mary Birnbaum, and conducted by Avi Stein. Xenia’s interest in early music involves frequent collaborations with New York-based, early music ensemble Twelfth Night. Earlier this year, she joined Twelfth Night in their performance of Handel’s Cantata Aminta e Fillide as “Fillide”, as part of the Music Before 1800 concert series in New York. She will also join them again with Julie Roset in their Carnegie Hall debut in May 2024.
Originally from Brisbane, Queensland, Xenia made her orchestral debut at age 16 with the Queensland Youth Orchestras, where she toured nationally as their soprano soloist. Xenia gained her Bachelor of Music from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QGCU) in 2018 with first-class honours and the University Medal for Academic Achievement. National competition success in the final year of her studies included the generous Opera Foundation for Young Australians Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship and the Tinkler Encouragement Award at the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition. During her time in Australia, Xenia was a 2019 Melba Opera Trust Scholar supported by the Amelia Joscelyne Scholarship, as well as a 2021 young artist at Opera Queensland. She has performed Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Opera Queensland and Dorabella (Così fan tutte) with Brisbane City Opera.
© Xenia Puskarz Thomas.
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"...the riveting performance of Xenia Puskarz Thomas, an Australian mezzo with a vibrant, big scaled voice won me over completely...with the fervour of a prima donna... she seemed every bit an Amneris in the making."
Fred Cohn for OPERA NEWS