One of the most promising mezzo-sopranos of her generation, Josè Maria Lo Monaco made her debut at the Rossini Opera Festival Academy in Pesaro as Melibea in Il Viaggio a Reims in 2005. She was re-invited on several occasions to perform L’Italiana in Algeri, La Scala di Seta and La Gazzetta.
After graduating from the Conservatory Vincenzo Bellini (Catania) as a pianist, Lo Monaco studied singing with mezzo-soprano Bianca Maria Casoni in Milan. She very quickly received invitations from French and Italian opera houses.
She made her debut at the Teatro La Scala in the Petite Messe Solennelle and in Dido and Aeneas. She was re-invited to perform La Donna del Lago, Oberto and Isolier in Le Comte Ory with Juan Diego Flórez in a Laurent Pelly production.
Josè Maria made her debut at the Opéra National de Paris and at the Salzburg Festival as Timante in Jommelli’s Demofoonte under the baton of Riccardo Muti. She performed the title role in Carmen at the Opéra National de Lyon, conducted by Stefano Montanari and staged by Olivier Py; this was awarded “production of the year” by Mezzo Television. Her debut as Angelina in La Cenerentola in Italy (Bari, Reggio Emilia, Cagliari) with Evelino Pido was such a success that she performed the role again in Rennes in Jérôme Savary’s production, in Bilbao and at the Rome Opera.
She was Musica and Messagiera in Monteverdi’s Orfeo with Ottavio Dantone staged by Robert Carsen; Messagiera and Speranza in L’Orfeo with Andrea Marcon, Jordi Savall, Claudio Cavina; Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea with Alan Curtis; Charlotte in Werther (Bologna) with Michele Mariotti; Adalgisa in Norma (Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège) and Ruggiero in Alcina (Teatro Real in Madrid). She sang the title role in Serse (Barcelona and Madrid) with Jean-Christophe Spinosi.
Josè Maria has performed many roles in works by Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart and Rossini. She appeared as Giuditta in Betulia Liberata (Bremen), as Juditha in Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans (Krakow), as Alceste in Handel’s Admeto, as Alcina in Vivaldi’s Orlando furioso (European tour with Spinosi and the Ensemble Matheus), as Nerone in Handel’s Agrippina and as Alessandro in Scarlatti’s Carlo Re d’Allemagna with Europe Galante under the baton of Fabio Biondi. She was also seen on stage in Vivaldi’s Tito Manlio (London, Barbican).
In a more traditional operatic repertoire she has sung the roles of Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Adalgisa in Norma, Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena, Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice and Cornelia in Giulio Cesare.
Josè Lo Monaco is regularly invited to perform at such prestigious theatres as La Scala in Milan, Teatro Real in Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Opéra Garnier in Paris, Salzburg Festival, La Fenice in Venice, Rossini Opera Festival, Opéra de Lyon to name but a few.
Lo Monaco works, among others, with Roberto Abbado, Fabio Biondi, Ottavio Dantone, Enrique Mazzola, Stefano Montanari, Riccardo Muti, Antonio Pappano, Evelino Pidò, Alberto Zedda, Donato Renezetti. She has participated in the productions of Robert Carsen (Rigoletto in Aix-en-Provence), Damiano Michieletto (Così fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, La Gazza ladra, Il Barbiere di Siviglia), and Pier Luigi Pizzi (L’Incoronazione di Poppea in Florence).
Josè performed Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Vatican under the baton of Jesús López Cobos for Pope Benedict XVI and Giorgio Napolitano, the former President of the Italian Republic. Other oratorio performances include Bach’s Magnificat with Antonio Pappano at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
She has recorded the Monteverdi trilogy for Glossa with La Venexiana and Claudio Cavina: she sings Messaggera in Orfeo (Gramophone Award), Ottone in L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Penelope in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria.
Recent and future engagements include Cavalleria Rusticana at La Monnaie in Bruxelles; the title role in Carmen at the Sydney Opera House; Angelina in La Cenerentola in Bilbao, Florence, Santiago de Chile; Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Grange Festival; Isolier in Le Comte Ory and Adalgisa in Norma both at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège; Melibea in Il Viaggio a Reims in Beijing; Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.