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Soprano LAURA DECHER is gaining recognition in opera and concert work, singing both traditional and contemporary music. She recently performed the soprano solo in Handel’s Messiah with the Santa Fe Symphony, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Sacramento Choral Society, and was the soprano soloist in a world premiere with Amsterdam’s Nieuw Ensemble, all receiving critical acclaim. Since switching from mezzo-soprano, Laura has sung Mimì in La bohèmewith the Diablo Valley Symphony, and Beatrice in Berlioz’ Béatrice et Bénédict in Los Angeles with the Opera Guild of Southern California. A frequent soloist with Berkeley Opera, she performed Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Blanche in The Dialogues of the Carmelites, and the title role of Daughter of the Cabinet (an adaptation of Lecocq’s La Fille de Madame Angot).
In January 2001, Decher performed and recorded three new chamber music works written for her by D’Arcy Reynolds, W. Jay Sydeman, and her husband, Lawrence Wayte. In February, she gave a concert at Stanford University of the complete Italienisches Liederbuch by Hugo Wolf with baritone Kenneth Goodson and pianist Laura Dahl. As a mezzo-soprano, Decher performed the role of Hansel in the San Francisco Opera Center’s production of Hansel and Gretel, and sang the title role in Berkeley Opera’s The Riot Girl on Mars, an adaptation of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri. Other opera roles include the title role of La Cenerentola, Dorabella, and Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti. Also a frequent cover at San Francisco Opera, she sang the role of the Page in Rigoletto.
Laura Decher was the 2001 NATS Regional Winner in Los Angeles; the winner of the 2000 Pasadena Opera Guild Vocal Prize; a national finalist in the 1999 Loren L. Zachary Society Young Artist Vocal Competition; Grand Prize Winner of the 1998 San Fran-cisco Concerto Orchestra International Vocal Competition; and a finalist in the 1999 Western Region Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, the 1998 Portland Opera Eleanor Lieber Awards, and the 1997 Pacific Region Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions. She was a regional winner in the 1998 and 1999 McAllister Awards.
Originally from Seattle and a former newspaper reporter, Decher graduated with a Master’s Degree in 1996 from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Opera Performance.