Mary Mills

Official Site for Operatic Soprano Mary Mills


Praised for her rich and tender tone, Soprano Mary Mills has made a lasting impression with her soaring high notes, touching dramatic expression, and youthful sensuality. Her exciting career has taken her to houses across the globe where she has sung a wide range of repertoire, from Italian and French Romantic classics through Strauss and Janacek, to contemporary creations.

Career highlights include her many engagements with the Metropolitan Opera, notably her acclaimed debut as Zdenka in Strauss’s Arabella, Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen and Mimì in Frank Zeffirelli’s staging of Puccini’s La Bohème as well as in Central Park for the Met in the Parks Series. Ms. Mills has repeated her success as Mimì in Berlin, Detroit, Santiago de Chile, Antwerp (Belgium), Strasbourg, Geneva and San Francisco. At the San Francisco Opera she made her debut while an Adler Fellow as the 15-year-old Girl in Lulu, and created the role of Cecile de Volanges for their production of the world premiere of Dangerous Liaisons, which was broadcast on PBS Great Performances and taped for commercial release. At San Francisco Opera, she has sung over eighteen productions, including La Bohème, Die Zauberflöte, Carmen and Arabella, among others.

The American soprano made her professional debut as Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Houston Grand Opera.  She has also been a frequent guest to Dallas Opera, Washington Opera,Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Pacific, Opera Company of Philadelphia, St. Louis and many others in a wide variety of roles which have included Micaela, Musetta, Manon, Marguerite, Pamina, Mozart's Susanna, Arminda in La Finta Giardiniera, Ilia, and the title roles in Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, Carlisle Floyd's Susannah and Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea.She has also sung such roles as the title roles in Rusalka and The Merry Widow, Gilda in Rigoletto and Tatiana in Eugene Onegin.

Mary Mills made her European debut as Charpentier's Louise in Geneva in 1992, a success that immediately resulted in invitations to the renowned Wexford Festival in Ireland (Camille in Herold's Zampa) and the Bregenz Festival (Olga in Giordano's Fedora). The artist made her debut at the Paris Bastille in 1997 in the title role of Massenet's Manon, and was re-engaged in the same theatre to sing Micaela in Carmen as well as Marguerite in Faust and at the Palais Garnier as the Infantin in Zemlimsky's Der Zwerg. She has also been heard in Antwerp in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, and Antonia in Les Contes d'Hoffmann in Santiago, Chile as well as Marguerite in a new production of Gounod’s Faust at the Opéra de Lyon. In the course of the 2002/2003 season, she made her debut at the Berlin Staatsoper as Mimì, made her debut at the Arena de Verona as Micaela and sang Ilia in the controversial Opéra de Paris (Garnier) production of Idomeneo.  She also appeared in Monte Carlo and Bilbao in the title role of Manon.  In 2001, Ms. Mills sang the world premiere of the "Israel Symphony," composed and conducted by Gil Shohat, with the Haifa Symphony.

As her repertoire evolves, Ms. Mills sang her first Katya Kabanova at Theatre Saint Gallen, Switzerland to great acclaim in 2004 and could also be heard that same year at the Vienna Festival as Jitka in Smetana’s Dalibor. In 2006, she returned as Mimì at the Berlin Staatsoper and debuted the role of Nedda in I Pagliacci to great acclaim at Pittsburgh Opera. Continuing her penchant for new and challenging music, Ms. Mills sang the role of Sarah in the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie's The End of the Affair at Seattle Opera and sang Stella in Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire at the Viennese premiere for the Theater an der Wien.In 2008, Ms. Mills originated the title role of Joan of Arc in Walter Braunfels' new opera Szenen aus dem Leben der Heiligen Johanna in a Christoph Schlingensief production at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin to rave reviews.  Then the soprano sang the Duchess of Parma in Busoni's Doktor Faust at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville in a Peter Mussbach production.

In 2009, Ms. Mills sang her first Elsa in Lohengrin at the Staatsoper Stuttgart and Mimi in Leipzig, as well as singing a concert with the Bayrischer Rundfunk of Hindemith and Frank Martin, and a concert with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra. She returned to Stuttgart to sing the title role in Katya Kabanova to great critical acclaim in 2010 and more La Bohemes as Mimi in Berlin at the Deutsche Oper. She repeated the title role of Johanna in the Braunfel's  Szenen aus dem Leben der Heilige Johanna at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and performed the rare operetta ,"Das Fürstenkind" from Lehar with the Bayrische Rundfunk, which was recorded  has been recently released. Ms. Mills made her Oper Basel debut in the title role of Katya Kabanova and returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin in the title role of Braunfel's Heilige Johanna in 2012. In 2014, Ms. Mills sang Elsa in Lohengrin again in Warsaw, returned again for the 2014/15 season and this season reprises Elsa in a new production at the Stadttheater in Bern. 

Born in Louisiana and raised in Texas, Mary Mills graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati and received a Masters of Music at Yale. Among her numerous competitions and awards, she has won the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, the George London Award, Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award at Dallas Opera, Washingon Opera Singer of the Year, Florida Grand Opera Singer of the Year, and the Diva award from Opera Company of Philadelphia. She has collaborated with some of the most notable conductors including Yves Abel, Antonio Allemandi, Marco Armiliato, Gary Bertini, James Conlin,John Demain, Sian Edwards, Sir Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniel Ettinger, Gabriel Feltz, John Fiore, Ivan Fischer, Neemi Järvi, Armin Jordan, Jiri Kout,  Emmanuel Krivine, Jacques Lacombe, Fabio Luisi, Marc Minkowski, Kirill Petrenko, Carlo Rizzi, Julius Rudel, Donald Runnicles, Michael Schoenwand, Bramwell Tovey, Ulf Schirmer, and Emanuelle Villaume.  Ms. Mills currently lives in Berlin with her  two children.

Date Last Edited:October 2015