The LA Times called Puerto Rican mezzo-soprano Laura Virella an “instantly believable Frida, a capable singer and actor, compelling on stage” after her debut in the title role of Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s masterpiece at Long Beach Opera. Since her LA success, she debuted as Mercedes at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, with opera rising star Ginger Costa-Jackson in the title role of Carmen.
In Europe she’s appeared as Frau Reich (Theater Rudolstadt); as Carmen under the baton of Diego Martín Etxebarría, in a raw stage interpretation by Susana Gómez (Festival de Santa Florentina), where she was hailed as “fabulous,” “powerful” and “excellent”; and as Dorabella at the Teatro Comunale di Narni, Italy.
As a Young Artist in concert in 2012, she was an “impressive, fervent Octavian”, said the Austrian press, alongside Kammersängerin Linda Watson under the baton of Gerrit Prießnitz in Graz’s prestigious Stefaniensaal.
She was awarded 2nd place to Patricia Racette as Best Actress in Opera by the DC Theatre Scene awards after her “silky-toned” portrayal of Moreno Torroba’s Luisa Fernanda, where she “demonstrated an impressive emotional range in her acting as she effortlessly projects nuance from ebullience to melancholia in her phrasing.”
Other roles include Cherubino, Enfant, Prince Charmant, Serse, Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia), Hänsel, Desideria (The Saint of Bleecker Street) and her noteworthy Maddalena, “just as vulnerable to the charms of the Duke as Gilda was–and convincingly persuasive with her brother as she begged him to spare the Duke’s life, even as he sings the famous ‘La donna è mobile’, driving the audience wild.” She has also received praise for her Rossini leading ladies, Angelina and Rosina: “Ms. Virella’s creation of her character [was] a real, live flesh-and-blood heroine who can toss off scale passages and interesting embellishments with equal aplomb in ‘Una voce poco fa.’”
Her concert work includes Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Messiah, El amor brujo, Mozart’s Vespers. Her solo work affiliations include Washington National Opera, Ópera de Puerto Rico, Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico, Wolf Trap Opera, Dicapo Opera. She has collaborated in cinema, composing and performing the theme song “Época de grito” for the award-winning short film Dream of Vermilion. To her wide repertoire, Virella adds mastery of and passion for Puerto Rican art song, of which she is one of the world’s principal proponents.
Upcoming engagements include Carmen with Mercury Opera in Alberta, Canada (2019) and concert appearances at the 2019 Habana Clásica festival.