Accomplished in a wide range of roles from the comic to the serious and from the classical to the contemporary, Clara Nieman has earned critical praise for her "striking mezzo" (Opera News). The 2017–2018 season witnesses Ms. Nieman adding a series of new roles to her repertoire. Throughout the season she rejoins Kentucky Opera to perform Dryade and cover Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos, perform Jade Boucher and cover Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, and perform Berta and cover Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. She also makes company debuts with St. Petersburg Opera (Florida) as Annina in La traviata, Finger Lakes Opera as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, and Resonanz Opera (Ohio) as Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking. In the concert realm, Ms. Nieman joins the Lexington Philharmonic as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Bourbon Baroque for a concert of Handel arias, and the Louisville Master Chorale for an evening of beloved opera excerpts.
Ms. Nieman's 2016–2017 commitments included Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Pitti-Sing in The Mikado with Kentucky Opera, Zita in Gianni Schicchi and Théodorine in Offenbach's L'île di Tulipatan with Crested Butte Music Festival, and participation in Opera Fayetteville's "Opera in Bloom" new works festival. Her concert engagements included her Lexington Philharmonic debut as mezzo-soprano soloist in Stephen Paulus' To Be Certain of the Dawn and a workshop with Writing the Rockies of Justus Parrotta's new opera Lottie Silks, in which Ms. Nieman developed and performed the title role in excerpt form.
Additional recent commitments include Flora in La traviata with Opera Birmingham, the Mother in Hansel and Gretel with Performance Santa Fe, and concert appearances with the Chautauqua Symphony, the Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra, the Las Colinas Symphony, the Hall Ensemble, and the Cliburn Foundation.
Ms. Nieman has fulfilled young artist residencies with Opera Saratoga, where she performed Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro and covered Donna Rosa in Catán's Il postino; Opera Naples, where she performed Flora in La traviata and the Contralto in Tom Johnson's The Four Note Opera; and Chautauqua Opera, where she performed Olga in Eugene Onegin and Meg in The Ballad of Baby Doe. Between 2013 and 2015 Ms. Nieman fulfilled a young artist residency with Fort Worth Opera, where her classical responsibilities included performing Flora in La traviata, covering Gertrude in Hamlet and covering Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and her contemporary responsibilities included performing Madeleine Audebert in Puts' Silent Night and performing Sor Rosa in Daniel Crozier's With Blood, With Ink, a production which has been recorded and released by Albany Records. She also participated in the company's 2014 and 2015 editions of their Frontiers: New Works Initiative, as well as developing and performing the role of Mrs. Which in a workshop of Libby Larsen's A Wrinkle in Time.
Ms. Nieman received her MM in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music and her BM in Voice from Indiana University.