Originally from a small town in northern California, Dawn Ellen Durdella fell in love with singing and performing as a young child. After moving across the country several times, she settled in Cleveland, Ohio where she explored numerous musical adventures and follies before deciding to pursue her vocal education. Her pursuits took her to Rome, Italy where she held residency with Operafestival di Roma. Upon her return to Ohio, Dawn earned her Bachelor's of Voice Performance at Cleveland State University where she studied under Elizabeth Unis Chesko.
Mrs. Durdella has a passion for singing new and unique works, such as Coleman Zurkowski's Instrumental, “a contemporary setting of a sacred meditation” for organ, strings, winds, two vocalists and electronics. Other contemporary works include Dr. Judith A. Eckelmeyer's Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis (Trinity Hodie Service) and Kevin Krumenauer's This Is My Body: Canticles and Prayers from the Mass. She performed Aaron Copland's In the Beginning under the baton of Dr. Betsy Buleigh, a performance in which her voice was described as "lovely in its clarity and her exquisite diction made every syllable intelligible…each day’s efforts were gracefully outlined by the soloist” (Cool Cleveland). She additionally held the role of mezzo-soloist in Durufle's Requiem, Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze and Lord Nelson Mass, Solveig's Cradle Song from Grieg's Peer Gynt, and Mozart's Requiem.
Having a sweet spot for playing dress-up and pretend, Dawn fell in love with opera and musical theater after being volun-told to audition for and eventually performing the role of Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado; She would later play the title role as well. Other roles include Marcellina in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, La Maestra della Novizie in Puccini's Suor Angelica, Nancy in Flotow's Martha, and Dritte Dame in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. She's taken part in numerous professional and volunteer choral ensembles, including Opera Cleveland, the Cleveland Orchestra Opera Chorus, City Music Cleveland, Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choirs, and Contrapunctus Early Music. She was the alto soloist and section leader at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio for over a decade, and also sang in the Trinity Chamber Choir during her tenure there.
Dawn is thrilled to be joining the King's Counterpoint this year! She currently resides in Westlake, Ohio, with her husband, their daughter, and their dog.