Mara Riley, soprano and flutist, is forging a unique path that combines her two disciplines in innovative ways. She recently completed a double BM in Flute and Vocal Performance at the University of Colorado-Boulder, in the studios of Christina Jennings and Jennifer Bird-Arvidsson.
Interested in opera as both a flutist and a singer, she has been involved with CU’s Eklund Opera program in both capacities. Credits include Flora in The Turn of the Screw, Mary Hatch in Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life, Héro in Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict, Taumännchen in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, “A Girl” (“Somewhere”) in West Side Story, and principal flute in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.
Equally intrigued by concert work and oratorio, she has found opportunities within Colorado to explore these genres. In 2018, she appeared with the Colorado Saints Chorale and Orchestra as a soloist (Martha) in Rob Gardner’s oratorio, The Lamb of God, and was invited back the following year to sing the same role. In 2020, she sang for the Boulder Bach Festival’s virtual concert series as both a soloist and an ensemble member.
In 2020, she received 2nd place within her category in the Boulder Bach Festival’s World Bach Competition. She also was the runner up/Honorable Mention in CU’s Honors Competition that year for her performance of Britten’s Les Illuminations. She won first place in her category in the 2020 National Association of Teachers of Singing regional competition and advanced to the National Semifinals in both 2019 and 2021. She won CU’s Undergraduate Vocal Scholarship Competition in two consecutive years (2018 & 2019). Ms. Riley was sponsored by the Young Musicians Foundation of Colorado from 2018-2020 and performed as part of their roster of artists.
Ms. Riley is currently pursuing a double masters degree at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she is part of the studios of flutist Paula Robison and soprano Lisa Saffer.