Ramona Carmelly has captivated audiences in roles from the sublime to the ridiculous, on the opera stage, in music theatre, concert, oratorio, jazz and cabaret.
Ramona was recently heard as Venus in Tannhäuser with the Chatham Camerata, Amneris in Aida with Toronto's Opera by Request, and as The Angel/Narrator in the premiere of David Warrack's multi-faith oratorio Abraham. She created the title role, written for her, in Emily, the Way You Are, about iconic nonconformist Canadian artist/author Emily Carr. She made her TV debut as the oblivious diva amid murder and mayhem in the GlobalTV-Lifetime comedy-mystery series Zoe Busiek: Wildcard.
Ramona made her Koerner Hall debut as Mme de la Haltière in Massenet's Cendrillon as a guest artist with the Royal Conservatory Opera program. Other roles include Marcellina (The Marriage of Figaro), Meg Page and Dame Quickly (Falstaff), Fricka (Die Walküre), Waltraute (Götterdämmerung), Mère Marie de l’incarnation (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Mrs. Grose (Turn of the Screw), La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), Filipievna and Olga (Eugene Onegin), Dido and the Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas), Mother and the Witch (Hansel and Gretel), Mercedes (Carmen), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Ottavia (The Coronation of Poppea), Katisha (The Mikado), Golde (Fiddler on the Roof), and Miss Hannigan (Annie). She debuted with Toronto's Opera in Concert in 1999 as Albine in Thais, and returned that season to critical acclaim as Mrs. McLean in Susannah.
Ramona has been a featured soloist performing the masses of Dvořak, Haydn, and Mozart, Vivaldi's Gloria, and the Fauré and Rutter Requiems, Wagner’s Wesendonck lieder, Mompou’s Cançons Becquerianas, Ravel’s Scheherazade, Ravel's Chansons madécasses, and Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No.5. She was the Alto soloist in Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with conductor Richard Bradshaw and the Royal Conservatory Orchestra at Toronto Centre for the Arts.
An avid collaborator with contemporary composers, Ramona had the honour to sing Helen Greenberg's Kaddish in the first concert sponsored by PEN Canada in memory of WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl. She was invited to perform among such luminaries as Susan Hoeppner and Jacques Israelievitch at the Glick Society’s Tribute to Srul Irving Glick, sang Chad Martin’s song cycle i will open petal by petal myself in John Oswald's Intimate Music project at the Canadian Music Centre for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, arias from Amphion Opera's Cassandra and Mother of Kings for the Lyric Canada Conference showcase at Shaw, and the Farmer’s Wife in the North American premiere of And the Rat Laughed. Ramona voiced a deconstructed Brünnhilde from Wagner's Siegfried for The 50 Minute Ring by Myra Davies and Chris Willes for the Music Gallery’s X-avant Festival, and participated in a workshop of Christiaan Venter and Anusree Roy's opera, Noor over Afghan, at the Canadian Stage Company's Festival of Ideas and Creation.
Ramona looks forward to creating the title role in Don't Call Me Mama, a new biographic lyric portrait of the great “Mama” Cass Elliot, written for her, and reprising the role of Emily Carr on a Canadian tour of Emily, the Way you Are. Ramona is currently developing a CD recording featuring compositions by some of Canada’s finest emerging talent. She moonlights as a teacher, adjudicator, director, and recently lyricist.
“Ramona Carmelly was every inch the diva princess as Amneris, in a thoughtful performance that held nothing back, especially in her big scene in Act IV. This is a voice that could develop in several directions, as she has the top and low notes, and sang a huge role in a bluesy style a few months ago in the premiere of David Warrack’s Abraham.” -- Leslie Barcza, Barczablog
“Ramona Carmelly as the Spoken Voice and the Angel really surprised me. I'm already a fan of her full-throated Wagnerian mezzo, but I got to hear a different kind of singing from her. A more contemporary musical theatre sound with - wait for it - some DAMN FINE BELTING!” -- Gregory Finney, Schmopera
“As Madame de la Haltiere, Ramona Carmelly had the right comic flair and rich tone.” -- Joseph So, La Scena Musicale
“special mention for Ramona Carmelly … Her performance was a lesson in how deft acting can overcome the limitations of opera on the concert stage.” -- Wayne Gooding, Opera Canada
“Ramona Carmelly, with her plush mezzo, was outstanding as the jealously domineering Mrs. McLean” -- David Lasker, The Globe and Mail
“... Alora, played marvelously by Ramona Joy Carmelly ” -- Peter Bevan-Baker - The Recorder and Times
“The gifted mezzo soprano … [gave] a soaring, gorgeous interpretation of Jewish-Canadian composer Srul Irving Glick's Time Cycle, a jewel from his much admired Yiddish Suite No. 2” -- Jordana Divon, The Canadian Jewish News
“It is not often a composer finds a performer who will prepare a work with such care and excellent musicianship... a top-notch performance.” -- Mary Gardiner, composer