About the Artist
A small town girl from Richmond, KY, Denisha Ballew had a dream to one day perform professionally as an opera singer and God truly surprised her with so much more! Kicking off her 2019 season, Ms. Ballew was honored to perform in a symposium entitled “Black Opera: Uncovering Music History,” honoring the legendary Jessye Norman and presented by The Glenn Gould Foundation in partnership with the Toronto Public Library. Ms. Ballew performed scenes from H.L. Freeman’s Voodoo and William Grant Still’s Troubled Island as well as arias from Nkieru Okoye’s Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom. Still to come, Ms. Ballew will present pieces by Florence Price for a young professionals event in New York City. In July Ms. Ballew will head back to her home state of Kentucky to perform alongside the Nevertheless Arts Ensemble, showcasing works by female composers. To round out the year, Ms. Ballew is elated to join the cast at the Metropolitan Opera House in The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
In 2018, Ms. Ballew was invited to perform at the Columbia University Luncheon honoring women all over North America entitled, “Women Transforming our World!” There, she graced the stage amongst many politicians, journalists and female leaders from across the globe, performing her favorite spiritual arranged by Jacqueline B. Hairston entitled, Guide My Feet. Ms. Ballew made her Lincoln Center debut at Avery Fisher Hall as a soloist in concert with the National Chorale and American Spiritual Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Everett McCorvey. She has also toured with the American Spiritual Ensemble in various cities throughout Spain, Ecuador and the United States.
Performing in community based venues has always been important to Ms. Ballew as her first singing engagements began in the church and throughout the community from where she drew so much support. Harlem Opera Theater has created space for Ms. Ballew to perform in multiple concerts including: The Harlem Opera Theater Competition, a soprano soloist in the premiere of a new work by Raphael A Fusco, “New World Requiem,” Harlem Opera Holiday Community Sing hosted at the Children’s Museum, and Harlem Opera Festival in the Park: Celebrating Future Great Opera Singers. Ms. Ballew also performed with Regina Opera singing pieces from various musical theater classics and arias from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
In 2017, Ms. Ballew had a unique opportunity with Pleiades Project performing Ophelia’s Mad Scene from Thomas’ Hamlet, crafted as a short opera film. This film defied the many odds of opera and created a work that exudes love, liberation, triumph and power! Female power! Additionally, performances in Opera Presents: Three on 3 singing beloved spirituals arranged for string quintet by Akua Dixon and the role of Regina from her new work, The Opera of Marie Laveau.
In addition to the opera world, Ms. Ballew enjoys navigating other genres including musical theatre. She was a featured soloist in New York City Center: Encores production of Cabin in the Sky directed by Tony Award winner, Rubin-Santiago Hudson. She received rave reviews from the LA Times for her role as Serena in the first National Broadway tour of "The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess" directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus. Other opera performances include: First Lady in Mozart's Magic Flute (Nashville Opera), Eliza in the premiere of River of Time (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), TRUTH (cover) written by Paula Kimper highlighting the life and legacy of Sojourner Truth (Opera America), La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi and Lady Billows in Albert Herring. Ms. Ballew has also sung in the annual concert series with Knoxville Symphony Orchestra singing sacred works by Rossini. Ballew resides in New York City where she continuously pursues creative and diverse opportunities to explore and share her artistry with an open heart and no limits.