Cuban-American soprano and pedagogue, with a long history and excellent special gifts for the Art of Singing and the Stage. Due to her outstanding vocal technique, her magnificent expressive faculties and her innate sense of interpretation, together with her extensive knowledge of Music in general, Mayda Prado is a case of “rare avis” of Lyric Art, not only for her professionalism but also for her vast culture. These virtues, together with her intelligence and overwhelming talent, originated in the teachings received from important professors such as Kurt Schlossberger of Munich, who initiated her musical studies and led her to understand the greatness of the best Italian songs and the refined art of the Lied, to definitively engaging her in its interpretations from the earliest age. Other notable personalities who marked her career were the legendary Master of Masters Samuel Margolis in New York, the fabulous Gina Cigna in Milan and the unequaled Maria Callas, who selected her from hundreds of candidates to participate in her Master Classes at The Juilliard School of New York, when the young girl had not yet completed her training at that prestigious school, which she started under the guidance of Professor Daniel Ferro, and where she finished a six years program in just three. There she graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor and Master Degrees in Music and continued her doctoral studies. However, her concern to perfect the operatic repertoire led her steps to Milan to be put into the hands of the memorable soprano Cigna, with whom she worked intensely for several years.
The talent and faculties of Mayda Prado were distinguished from her adolescence by important figures of the world of the Opera and Music among which were the acclaimed soprano Maria Jeritza, the excellent baritone Robert Merrill, the composer and producer of Broadway Buddy Kaye, who sponsored her studies. Also Estelle Liebling, a student of Mathilde Marchesi – one of the most important teachers of Belcanto of the XIX Century – listened to her in the Studio of Margolis and invited her to sing in several occasions the main role of Puccini´s “Madame Butterfly” and whose interpretations since then are anthological. The meteoric rise of her career led her to play leading roles in several American and Latin American opera companies, such as The Metropolitan Opera House in her Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Program; The Opera Theater of St. Louis, The State Opera of Connecticut; The Dayton and Toledo Operas; The Long Island Lyric Opera; The Staten Island Opera; The Garden State Opera; Opera of New Jersey, as well as Opera of Colombia and the National Opera of Cuba, among many others.
The breadth of her operatic repertoire reveals a soprano full of delicacies and marked versatility, including Mozart´s the Countess Almaviva and Doña Elvira; Verdi´s Violetta, Desdemona, Amelia and Leonora; Massenet´s Manon; Leoncavallo´s Nedda; Mascagni´s Suzel and Santuzza; or Haydn´s Sandrina; even the role of Salud and Trujumán in the compositions of Manuel de Falla; Puccini´s Mimi, Cio-Cio-San, Manon and Liú; or Offenbach´s Antonia; tallying more than twenty-five important roles. Adding to her performances in these roles, she added appearances in concerts as soloist with The London Symphony, The St. Louis Symphony and The Nova Scotia Symphony; The St. John Atlantic Symphony; The North Jersey Symphony; The Bergen Philharmonic, The Brooklyn Philharmonic, The Caracas Philharmonic Orchestra and The Eastern Philharmonic of Greensboro, among many of her memorable performances. The repertoire of concerts with orchestra of Mayda Prado includes, just to mention some, Symphony No. 9 in D major op. 125 of Beethoven, the Seven Early Songs of Alban Berg, Les nuits d’été of Berlioz, El amor brujo of Manuel de Falla, Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Canto a Sevilla of Joaquín Turina, the Folk Songs of Luciano Berio, the Cinco canciones negras and the Cinco invocaciones al crucificado of Xavier Montsalvatge (these last highly praised in a letter by the composer).
In addition to her performances in operas and concerts, Prado has offered an endless series of recitals in whose repertoire have always been present the Italian art songs and Lieder studied at an early age, along with an extensive list of the most important composers such as Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, Strauss and Hugo Wolf. She has been an acclaimed communicator of Spanish and Latin American songs, as well as her interpretations filled with delicate emotion and good taste in works by Fauré, Debussy, Poulenc, Samuel Barber, David Diamond and Leonard Bernstein. All these genres to which she has dedicated a large part of hes studies and a vast repertoire in several languages (Russian, Portuguese, Hebrew or Latin) are her varied range of expression, where the most classic and the most contemporary styles rub shoulders with equal range of excellence. The vocal qualities, her great interpretive virtues and a peculiar sensibility, have favorably inclined several contemporary composers from different geographies to dedicate many songs, complete cycles of lieder and operas to Mayda Prado. Among the most outstanding are Harold Gramatges, Luis Felipe Ramón y Rivera, Stefano Scotti, Luigi Dell’Orefice, David Diamond, Hilario González, Tulio Peramo, Héctor Campos-Parsi, Eduardo Morales Caso, Louis Aguirre, José Raúl Bernardo and Frank DiGiacomo, who wrote especially for Prado the roles of Laia and Andrómaca in his operas “The Dybbuck” and “The Trojan Women” respectively, while Caroline Lloyd dedicated the role of Doña Rosita in her opera based on the text of García Lorca ” Doña Rosita la Soltera “.
Among her already countless recitals should be made mentioned Ms. Prado’s performances in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and almost all of North America, in several countries of Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. She has sung in famous concert halls of the world, such as Carnegie Hall; Weill Concert Hall; Alice Tully Hall and The Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center; At Town Hall, Merkin Hall; Hunter College Auditorium; C.W.Post College; The Italian House of Columbia University; in The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, Florida and in The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Also in The Washington, D.C. Cathedral; Institute of Culture, San Juan, Puerto Rico; In the National Theater and “Teresa Carreño” in Caracas Venezuela; at the “Angela Peralta” Theater in Mazatlán, Mexico, in the prestigious “Sala Luis Ángel Arango” in Bogotá, Colombia; at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Cuba, (invited by the great prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso) at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and at the Amerika Haus in Munich, Germany … and many of her performances have been broadcast on television and radio stations in those cities.
Mayda Prado has been acclaimed with great success by critics and public alike in a very extensive relation to festivals among which we emphasize: The Summer Festival of Greensboro; The Peterloon Summer Festival; The Stamford Festival of the Arts; Brooklyn Arts Festival; Focus Festival and The Liederabend at The Juilliard Theater at Lincoln Center; Michigan State University Recital Series & Master Classes; Garden State Summer Festival and the International Festival “Ernesto Lecuona” of Havana,Cuba. In the latter, besides singing, she participated as adjudicator in the Lecuona International Vocal Competition. Also in Cuba Ms. Prado was one of the international judges in the “Alejandro García Caturla” Vocal and Piano Competition.
At the same time consolidating her career as an interpreter, Prado received a number of important awards, including the “Martha Baird” Medal of the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City; Award of The National Opera Institute in Washington, DC, by the George London Foundation; The Liederkranz Foundation, NYC.; The John Hay Whitney Foundation, NYC.; The Spanish Institute of New York (“Lucrezia Bori” Award); The Metropolitan Opera Association Artists Funds and in 1990 the Winner of the International Vocal Contest “Enrico Caruso”, as well as the Grand Theater Prize of Havana in 1991. Ten years before she had performed at the Auditions organized by the American Opera Auditions program and was selected Finalist for the Chicago Lyric Opera and the Baltimore Opera Auditions. Another distinguished accolade was being selected Resident Artist under the auspices of The National Endowment for the Arts, which granted her Residence at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, where she offered series of Master Classes and concerts on that Caribbean island. Her vocational skills and accumulated merits have made her worthy of being invited to sing during celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations at headquarters in New York. In 2002, a very important and especially sensitive event resulted for her when Italian TV channel LA7 sent the journalist Damiano Ficoneri to interview her at The Juilliard School, in order to integrate her testimony into a series of special programs that were broadcasted in Italy on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Demise of the great Maria Callas. The following year, Mayda Prado was again invited to appear in a documentary filmed by Radio Televisione Italiana (RAI) broadcasted throughout Italy and at United Nations headquarters as a tribute to the late Callas.
Along with her success as an interpreter, Prado has always shown her interest and sincere vocation for the training of new generations of singers. Her career as a professor includes Masters Courses, Master Classes, seminars, participation as adjudicator and lecturer in various competitions in the USA, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, among which deserves to highlight her dissertations in the field of Lyric Diction in Spanish, English, French, Italian and German, as well as Vocal Technique and Interpretation. In this broad tour she has taught her knowledge in N.Y.C.U. Queens College / Aaron Copland Music School NYC, NY; Kean University of New Jersey (United States), as well as offering singing and repertory classes in Puerto Rico, Colombia, Peru, Cuba and Mexico. In a vertiginous race against time, she has also been dedicated to realize translations of libretti of operas for the Belwin Mills Editors, of New York, that is but another sample of the breadth of her professional capacities.
Fascinated by the great potential of new and excellent voices that she found in Mexico, the singer decided to establish herself in the city of Cuernavaca to impart her knowledge in the Centro Morelense de las Artes, where she was invited to join in 2010 as professor and since then, she has taught Vocal Technique, Repertoire, and founded as well as directs the course Lyric Diction in five languages given for the first time in a Mexican institution, to a series of voice students studying for a Bachelor Degree. During that time she founded at the CMA the Estudio Lírico, a kind of atelier through which many young people have already been interested in receiving her advice and knowledge for their vocal and stage preparation. If that were not enough, Professor Mayda Prado has written and registered in Mexico a Handbook in each of the languages she teaches based on her studies and knowledge acquired during her student years at The Juilliard School. Meanwhile she has graduated a number of students with Bachelor Degrees and has prepared many to study and compete outside of Mexico such as soprano, Ornella Berthelon who was admitted to The Royal College of London, England, where she is continuing her Bachelor studies in Voice 2016 and participated in the XI Edition of the International Master Class of NEU STIMMEN in Germany. One of her endearing experiences with selected young singers and professionals of the Ópera de Bellas Artes was the assembly and complete production of the opera “Pagliacci” of Leoncavallo, presented in February of 2013, and in which she showed her great aptitude and knowledge as Artistic Director of opera.
Beyond, in 2010, she founded and is General Director of the Estudio para el Bel Canto, a workshop which every summer for three weeks welcomes young singers from Morelos and other regions of Mexico, the United States, Cuba and Latin America that come to receive advice and guidance. She is also invited every year to take part as a Juror in the Concurso Nacional de Canto “Carlo Morelli”, held in Mexico City. Within the framework of that most important competition, the “María Callas” Special Prize is awarded by Ms. Prado to one of the singers who best interprets the belcanto repertoire, in gratitude for the enlightenment she received from the unforgettable singer and as her most sincere homage to one of the greatest singers in the World Lyric Stage of all times .
A short biography of Mayda Prado is included in the VIII Volume of the first and so far only publication of the Dictionary of Spanish and Hispanic American Music edited by the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España (General Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE) of Spain), for her contribution to Music
In March 2014 she gave an Italian Diction Lyric Course at the Music School of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, and in June, at the invitation of the Österreiche Gesellschaft für Musik in Vienna, Prof. Prado initiated a series of Master Classes to enrich and acquire better knowledge and interpretative means of Latin American Art Songs, with the help of the outstanding Spanish pianist Alejandro Picó-Leonís and supported by a selection of works created by important composers of those nations. In September 2014, the Mtra. Prado gave birth to the non-profit organization FundArt, JCL, A.C., for the development and support of the young talented singers in Mexico and Cuba.
Recently in December, the 2015 Wind Festival Havana of Florence, Italy, invited her to give Master Classes in the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), the Teatro Lírico of Cuba and to direct
concerts in the island.
During the month of May 2016 Ollin Yoliztli Cultural Center in Mexico City invited Prof. Prado to teach a series of Master Classes related to: “Introduction to the Main Practice of Lyric Singing”, which gave rise to an offer this past September 2016 to be part of the faculty of the Vocal Department of the Escuela de Música ‘Vida y Movimiento’, del Centro Cultural “Ollin Yoliztli”.
Also on May 29th the UNESCO-WFUCA Embassy for Peace and Global Ethics in Latin America and the Caribbean awarded her an Award for her successful career as Soprano, Professor and
Student of the legend “Maria Callas”.