Mary Rice is a mezzo-soprano transplanted from the Wild Wild West into the wilds of New York City. She holds her B.M., M.M., and post-graduate certification from New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human development. Before moving to New York, she ambled around South Dakota, Utah and Arizona, learned to unicycle, worked as a sports reporter and photojournalist, and picked up a love of running which led to several New York City marathon finishes.
As a singer, she has received praise for her flexible range and her outstanding facility as a physical actress; she’s donned trousers for L’enfant in L’enfant et les sortiléges with the Trentino Music Festival, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, and Jean in Massenet’s Le portrait de Manon. Her cross-gender performances cross genres as well: her theatrical roles include Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macduff in Macbeth, and years of childhood violin lessons were put to the test as the Fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof.
More lady-like engagements include Un ballo in maschera (Amore Opera), L’elisir d’amore (City Lyric Opera), Mary Buccelli in the premiere of The Triangle Fire (Puffin Foundation), Edith in The Pirates of Penzance, Mrs. Nolan in The Medium, Sr. St. Charles in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Sally in A Hand of Bridge. She’s appeared as Millie in 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, La Ruffiana in A Company of Wayward Saints, Mrs. Pearce in My Fair Lady – and even tap-danced her way through the Hot Box in Guys and Dolls at NYU.
Her solo concert work includes alto soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria with NYU O2, premiering songs cut from Something Rotten! in Broadway Premieres at Symphony Space, with whom she also performed in Wall-to-Wall Stephen Schwartz and the Gala for Hal Prince. Other concerts include presenting Maury Yeston’s December Songs in recital with T.C. Kincer, and - to this day a personal favorite - premiering a song cycle for mezzo, cello, and harp with Dynamic Music Festival titled “Six Encounters of Mistrust and Coffee”.
She was a 2018 Young Artist with Music Academy International, singing the title role in Ravel's L’enfant et les sortiléges, conducted by David Jackson, while studying voice under the instruction of Harolyn Blackwell and Jeanne-Michéle Charbonnet. She is a two-time semifinalist in the New York Lyric Opera Theatre Vocal Competition, as well as in the Mary Trueman Art Song Competition. She has participated in masterclasses with the Mirror Visions Ensemble, Marco Nistico, Kevin Newbury, David Cash, Sam Pinkleton, and Eric Einhorn; and completed crossover workshops with Alexandra Schoeny and Janine DiVita.
Ms. Rice is a passionate advocate for gender equality and socioeconomic accessibility in the classical arts. She is a proud member of the NYC Opera Collective, whose mission is to bring opera to as wide and diverse an audience as possible by performing in public spaces. While employed in the Production Office of Music and Performing Arts Professions at NYU, she used her position to set up a program to offer free production tickets to security and food-service workers in the NYU community. In 2014, noticing that undergraduate women were underrepresented in operas at NYU, she founded the Classical Voice Collective, an independent chamber opera group dedicated to presenting operas with dominantly female casts, as well as teaching young singers the role-learning process. The group also employed women at all levels of the creative process - from costuming to subtitles to administration to direction. By the time she passed the torch as President in 2017, she had overseen the group's productions of Bastien und Bastienne, Hänsel und Gretel, Le portrait de Manon, and Riders to the Sea, in which more than a dozen women learned their first full operatic role, and had taken more than thirty NYU students to their first opera via ticket drives and fundraising pools to bring opera to more mainstream audiences. The group is now entering its fifth season, with audiences increasing every year.
As a voice teacher, Ms. Rice has worked as adjunct voice faculty at her alma mater, as an outreach instructor with the Moab Music Festival, and maintains a private studio in NYC, where her students include musical theatre, classical, and pop singers of a wide range of ages and experience levels. She also offers vocal health management to fitness instructors and other professional voice users in the NYC area.