Lisa van der Ploeg’s rich, lustrous sound and electrifying stage presence have captivated audiences, displaying a remarkable variety in over 45 roles such as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Amneris in Aida, and the Witch and Mother in Hansel and Gretel. Lisa was featured as the soloist for Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Tulsa Symphony under the baton of Benjamin Zander, the Verdi Requiem with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, with Ming Luke conducting and Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht with the Master Sinfonia and David Ramadanoff conducting. Highlights of recent seasons include performances of a staged production of Mendelssohn’s Elijah with San Jose State University, Handel’s Messiah with the Stockton Chorale and the Auburn Symphony, and solo performances with Chora Nova and the San Francisco Bach Choir. She performed the Western premiere of Chinese composer Tony Fok’s Ask the Earth and the Sky, an oratorio work about the Sent-down Youth Movement of China. Performances for the 2018-19 season include the role of Maggie in David Conte’s Gift of the Magi, and the alto solo in Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody.
Lisa’s operatic performances span the repertoire, from Handel to Verdi. Hers is a large, dramatic voice capable of great nuance and heartfelt communication, as well as impeccable comedic timing. In addition to those listed above, some of her favorite roles performed include Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, Katisha in The Mikado and the title roles in Giulio Cesare and Orlando. Her extensive concert repertoire is equally diverse, additional highlights of which include the Bach B-minor Mass, the Mozart and Duruflé Requiem, Symphony No. 9 by Beethoven, and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater. Of her performance of Mahler’s 3rd Symphony, the Herald Times called Lisa a “voice of substance…[she] appeared not only in full vocal control, but immersed.” A favorite of the West and Midwest regions, Lisa has performed with Utah Festival Opera, Tulsa Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Stockton Symphony, San Francisco Opera Center, and Intermountain Opera among many others, working with conductors including Raymond Leppard, Daniel Hege, and Neal Gittleman, who described the Mahler Rückert Lieder as “tailor made for the richness of Lisa van der Ploeg’s voice and the intelligence of her singing.” Born in California, Lisa grew up in Denmark before returning to the U.S. where she was encouraged to pursue studies in classical voice by Mezzo-soprano Joaquina Calvo Johnson from Yuba College. Subsequently, with Mezzo-soprano Dr. Lynelle Frankforter Wiens, at the University of the Pacific she received the musical training and skills preparing her for studies with soprano Costanza Cuccaro, at the Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University. While there, she taught voice as an Associate Instructor.
One of her first professional appearances included performances with Maestro Raymond Leppard and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in The Barber of Seville and The Three Cornered Hat and she made her West Coast debut with the San Francisco Opera Center/Merola Program in the title role of Carmen, which she toured nationally with the Western Opera Theater. On the stage, in Master Class settings, and privately she has worked with many distinguished singers, coaches and directors such as Regine Crespin, Sherrill Milnes, Vera Rosza, Ruth Golden, Lotfi Mansouri, Jose Maria Condemi, Nico Castel, Julia Hunt Nielsen, David Jones and Kevin Murphy. Along with performing, she taught voice and vocal pedagogy at the University of the Pacific, and was an associate voice instructor at San Jose State University teaching voice and lyric diction. Upon sending their twin-boys off too college, she and her husband have moved their “empty-nest” from California to the Mid-West.