American Soprano MaKayla McDonald is an active performer of opera, art song, and new works. Currently, MaKayla is working with the American Opera Project + New York University/Tisch for their Opera Lab; a semester-long project which pioneers new works by emerging composers and librettists. In February 2022, MaKayla will be hosted by Butler University, Jordan College of the Arts as a guest artist for their Black History Month Arts Celebration, A Jubilee!
In summer 2021, MaKayla had her Dallas premiere on the Winspear Opera House stage with Das Blümelein Project. She sang the role of Rose of Sharon in the world premiere of A Lily Among Thorns. The song cycles (Songs of the Rose of Sharon + Fragments from the Song of Songs) of John La Montaine as a monodrama for soprano + piano + dance.
In Fall 2020 – Summer 2021, MaKayla was a participant in the Opera in the 21st Century Program with Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. In conjunction with her residency, MaKayla produced and sang in a workshop of Jeremy Beck’s monodrama Black Water. MaKayla collaborated with composer Jeremy Beck, audio engineer and pianist Tommy Truelsen, director Ella Marchment, and dancer Havanna Fisher to reimagine this work with piano track + movement. It is her hope to devise a full performance of this work in 2022.
In 2020, MaKayla returned to New Camerata Opera to premiere the role of Marie in Julie, a short film based on the life of Julie d’Aubigny. This film was an official selection at the 2020 Concepción Independent Film Awards in Concepción, Chile. MaKayla was meant to join Manhattan Concert Productions as a soprano ringer for Symphony Chaco at Lincoln Center, this 2020 engagement was cancelled due to Covid-19. Recent past full production engagements include: Micaëla in Carmen with Utopia Opera (COVID-19 cancellation) and Cendrillon in Cendrillon (Viardot) (2019) with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble and the premiere of the role of Princess Ursula in Bea Goodwin and Whitney George’s Princess Maleine (2019), also with dAOE.
As a supporter of new and contemporary works, MaKayla has premiered various art songs and roles. Most notably, she worked with renowned composer Thea Musgrave for the New York premiere of The Story of Harriet Tubman (2018), as the title character. Recently, she was featured on BBC Radio 3 during a feature with Musgrave about her chamber operas.
An active recitalist, MaKayla sang for New England’s Calliope’s Call in their Summer 2021 recital I, Too, Sing America. Prior engagements include: University of Pennsylvania’s The Varied Carols I hear (2019), a celebration of the works of Walt Whitman and again with Calliope’s Call for their concert called, Songs of Gratitude (2020).