A Short Biography: Joy Davidson

Joy Davidson Portrait Photo

Joy Davidson Portrait Photo

Joy Davidson, mezzo-soprano, began her career with a professional debut in Rossini’s Cenerentola with Greater Miami Opera and went on to sing 45 roles throughout Europe and North America. She appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, La Scala Milano, New York City Opera, Madrid Opera, and San Francisco Opera, to name a few. She performed her signature role, Bizet’s Carmen, more than 300 times. Other frequent roles included Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma, Azucena and Amneris in Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Aïda, Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther, and Dalila in Saint-Saën’s Samson and Dalila, and leading roles in Menotti operas. She was featured in premieres of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Devils of Loudon and Paradise Lost and Carlisle Floyd’s Bilby’s Doll. She was a guest soloist with major orchestras in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and Leningrad, frequently in works of Mahler, Stravinsky, Ravel, and Beethoven. She was a concert and recital artist for Columbia Artist Management until she retired from singing in 1995. She then developed the department of vocal/opera studies in the music division of New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida, in 1989. In addition to designing a curriculum specific to students seeking a professional career in serious vocal music, she taught voice, lyric diction, sacred and symphonic vocal literature, vocal pedagogy, and opera history, and directed the Opera Theatre Ensemble.

Miss Davidson returned to the theatrical stage in 1999 to star as Maria Callas in  Master Class (Terrance McNally). Alan Swofford wrote: ““To call Joy Davidson’s Callas a bravura creation is simply to understate her accomplishments so various in her exploration of the Callas persona … She binds us to this character…

A second play about Maria Callas by Alma H. Bond has evolved into a one-woman drama, MARIA: The Life and Loves of Maria Callas. This play, edited, produced and directed by Bill Taylor of Theatre Conspiracy for the Dramatists Guild in New York, was premiered at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, Florida and has been seen in Fort Collins, Colorado and  sold out the Kravis/Rinker Theatre in West Palm Beach, Florida.

A revised version of  ALICE: An Evening with the Tart-Tongued Alice Roosevelt Longworth by Kitty Felde, gave Miss Davidson an opportunity for a second one-woman tour de force.  Also produced and directed by Bill Taylor, it was premiered at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida. January 2011, Alice was seen at the Dramatists Guild in New York, and subsequently  was performed for 5 performances at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. during the month of July, 2011. This production was directed by Stevie Zimmerman and produced by playwright Kitty Felde.

In addition to the one woman tour de force, a theatrical specialty for Miss Davidson, she  was awarded rave reviews for the role of  THE NURSE  in Medea (Euripedes/Jeffers) in a production presented by Theatre Conspiracy, Fort Myers. Chris Silk, Naples Daily News Theatre Critic wrote: “Friday night’s audience gasped in horror at the tale – such is the power of her storytelling. Don’t miss Joy Davidson’s withering words as the Nurse.” Drew Sterwald in News Press (Ft. Myers) wrote, “She is a marvel of precise speech and compressed emotions. Here’s hoping we see more of her.”

March 11/12, 2012, the Philharmonic Center for the Arts presented Davidson in Tea at Five by Matthew Lombardo which tells the story of Katharine Hepburn in a 90 minute monologue.  Lombardo’s play is based on Hepburn’s autobiography: Me: Stories of My Life. Annette Trossbach, Artistic Director of Laboratory Theater produced and directed this third tour-de-force in Davidson’s theatrical repertory.

Chris Silk, theater critic of the Naples Daily News wrote of the first act, Hepburn at age 31:  ”Davidson skips ladylike around the simple set, pouring tea, chatting on the phone and telling stories. Telling stories is what the actress does best because she gets to use that marvelous, beautiful, amazing, mellifluous opera-trained voice that draws you into the action so easily.”  These performances marked 60 years on the theatrical stage for Davidson.

Dr. Rob and Joy Davidson raised five children in Miami, Florida. One family is in Boone, North Carolina, two families are in Naples, Florida, one in Bend, Oregon, and youngest son in Orlando.



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About Joy Davidson

Joy Davidson, mezzo-soprano, began her career with a professional debut in Rossini’s Cenerentola with Greater Miami Opera and went on to sing 45 roles throughout Europe and North America. Since her retirement from the operatic and concert stage, Joy has returned to the theatre with performances as Maria Callas in MASTER CLASS (Terrance McNally) and two one woman dramas: MARIA: The Life and Loves of Maria Callas (Alma H. Bond) and ALICE: An Evening with the Tart-Tongued Alice Roosevelt Longworth (Kitty Felde). Recent performances of these plays have been at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida, the Kravis/Rinker Center for the Arts, West Palm Beach, FL and Colorado State University in conjunction with Opera Fort Collins. ALICE sold out 5 performances at the Capital Fringe Festival, Washington D.C. July, 2011. Miss Davidson garnered rave reviews for her performance as the NURSE in MEDEA (Euripedes/Jeffers) for Theatre Conspiracy in March 2011. The Philharmonic Center for the Arts presented Miss Davidson in another one-woman tour de force, TEA AT FIVE (Matthew Lombardo), which captures the fiery spirit of Katharine Hepburn, March 11, 12, 2012.