Headshot 2013 by Shawn Flint BlairA 2015 San Francisco District Winner and Western Regional Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Russian-American Mezzo-Soprano Mariya Kaganskaya joins the Santa Fe Opera as a member of the Apprentice Singer Program in Summer 2016, and Arizona Opera as a Studio Artist in the 2016-2017 Season. Upcoming roles include Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Tisbe in La Cenerentola.

Mariya made several role debuts in the 2015-2016 Season, including La Nourrice in Milhaud’s Médée at Mills College, Marta in Iolanta and Hostess in Boris Godunov with New Opera NYC, and Teacher in the workshop of Mason Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs for the Santa Fe Opera, as well as Dorabella in Così fan tutte and Julia Bertram in the West Coast premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music .

Engagements in the 2014-2015 Season included performing Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti and Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea at the San Francisco Conservatory. She also joined Opera Santa Barbara as a Mosher Studio Artist, performing Mexican Woman in A Streetcar Named Desire, premiered Will You, Won’t You?, a song cycle written for her by acclaimed composer Elinor Armer, and made debuts in Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai, China, performing with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and the Shanghai Philharmonic as a Young Artist with the iSing International Festival.

Highlights of Mariya’s 2013-2014 Season included performing the title role of Handel’s Serse at the San Francisco Conservatory and Olga in Eugene Onegin with the Russian Opera Workshop at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and covering the role of Elena in the American premiere of Adam Gorb’s Anya17 for Opera Parallèle, as well as performances with the SFCM New Music Ensemble, SFCM Opera Workshop, and the San Francisco Opera educational outreach program.

Mariya has also performed full roles including Cornelia in Giulio Cesare and Volupia in L’Egisto, partial roles including Charlotte (Werther), Romeo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Idamante (Idomeneo), Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Angelina (La Cenerentola), The Fox (The Little Prince), and Mme Pernelle (Tartuffe), and various scenes, with favorites including Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Polina (The Queen of Spades), Mallika (Lakmé), Auntie (Peter Grimes), Lucretia (The Rape of Lucretia), and the Third Lady and Third Spirit (Die Zauberflöte). Her chorus work includes John Adams’ A Flowering Tree with Riverside Lyric OperaLes pêcheurs de perles, Die Fledermaus, and Il Trovatore with Opera San José, and Roméo et Juliette at the Santa Fe Opera.

In addition to opera, Mariya is a frequent concert soloist and chamber music collaborator. She was recently the Alto soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the Santa Clara Chorale and Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the San Francisco Master Chorale, and has performed both Alto and Soprano soli in Fauré’s Requiem, Duruflé’s Requiem, Schubert’s Mass in G, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Handel’s Messiah with the UC San Diego Chamber Singers. She was featured in the late János Négyesy‘s Soirée for Music Lovers series, collaborating with Négyesy and Päivikki Nykter.

Mariya is equally passionate about contemporary classical music, and enjoys collaborating with living composers. She has worked in master classes with composers Lembit Beecher and Tobias Picker, and premiered works by Elinor Armer, Ilya Demutsky, Philip Skaller, Diarmid Flatley, Samara Rice, and Frank S. Li.

Mariya received her Postgraduate Diploma (2016) and Master’s Degree (2015) at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of Catherine Cook. She earned her Bachelor’s in three years, magna cum laude, at UC San Diego, where she studied with Philip Larson. Recognized as a leader among her peers, Mariya served as Student Council Chairperson and worked for three years as the Student Assistant in the Registrar’s Office at the San Francisco Conservatory. At UC San Diego, she was the recipient of the Bertram Turetzky Award for exceptional participation within the music department and community by an undergraduate performer, as well as a founding member of the Treble Singers and the founding Artistic Director of Undergrads for Opera. Previously, she held the prestigious role of Chorissima Section Leader in the Grammy-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus, with which she toured nationally and internationally and performed with the San Francisco Symphony.


“… Mariya Kaganskaya […] delighted the crowd with a pathos-filled delivery of “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” from Bizet’s Carmen.”
Yoshi Kato, downbeat.com, April 2016

“… Kaganskaya was focused as Iolanta’s caretaker, Marta.”
~ Steven Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice, April 2016

“A gala concert featured impressive, mature performances by […] mezzo Mariya Kaganskaya, top winner in the ages 19-25 category…”
~ Janos Gereben, San Francisco Examiner, December 2014

“…the first scene from Lou Harrison’s foray into twelve-tone vocal writing in his 1953 opera Rapunzel […] was so interesting I wish that Paiement and singers Cara Gabrielson, Mariya Kaganskaya and Sergey Khalikulov had continued through the whole hour-long opera.”
~ Michael Strickland, November 2014

“Ms. Kaganskaya’s rich texture and strong voice very much attracted the audience. This was a great conclusion for this ever so wonderful concert.”
~ Rubina Mazurka, May 2014

“The singing from Crystal Kim, Mariya Kaganskaya, and Andres Ramirez was exquisite, the complex nature of their characters’ situations made all the more palpable by the very youth of the singers themselves.”
~ Rob Bailis, March 2014

“Mezzo Mariya Kaganskaya’s lordly Mme. Pernelle fluted away like some magnificently plumed bird.”
“Several longer numbers were especially effective. Kaganskaya shone in her sometimes fatuous, sometimes scolding praise of Tartuffe.”
~ Steven Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice, December 2013