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An artist-in-residence with Opéra de Montréal's Atelier lyrique, Ilanna is currently based in Montreal, QC. 


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Praised for her “lovely mezzo voice” (Berkshire Fine Arts) and “dramatically incisive” stage presence (Parterre Box), American-Canadian Ilanna Starr is currently an artist-in-residence with l’Atelier lyrique at l’Opéra de Montréal. She began her 2023/24 season with a “stand out” performance (l’Opéra) as Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea with l’Atelier lyrique and l’Orchestre de l’Agora under Nicolas Ellis. This season she also takes the stage as Mercédès in Carmen with l’Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières, Cherubino (cover) in l’Opéra de Montréal’s Le nozze di Figaro, and her upcoming main stage debut with l’Opéra de Montréal as Flora Bervoix in La traviata.

Ilanna recently became a two-time award winner at the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition after being named a 2024 District Winner, having received an encouragement award in 2022. She earned second place in the young artist division of the 2024 Orpheus Vocal Competition and in 2023, she was a Wirth Vocal Prize finalist as well as the winner of the top prize of Talent Lyrique Québécois through Théâtre Lyrichorégra. 

Previous operatic role highlights include Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Tisbe (La Cenerentola), La Messagiera (L’Orfeo), Melissa (La liberazione di Ruggiero), and Amastre (Serse). Ilanna has also amassed experience interpreting characters in newer operatic works covering the role of the Captain in the Chicago premiere of David T. Little’s Dog Days as well as Brittomara in the Midwest premiere of Jake Heggie’s If I Were You. Most recently she originated the role of Venus in the world premiere of Dean Burry’s Il giudizio di Pigmalione.

In concert, Ilanna has sung the mezzo solo in John Corigliano’s Fern Hill in addition to being a featured street player soloist in Bernstein’s MASS. Collaborating frequently with Northwestern’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, conducted by Alan Pierson of Alarm Will Sound, she was the solo vocalist in Andrew Hamilton’s 20-minute work, music for people who like art, as well as a soloist in Marcos Balter’s meltDown Upshot at Chicago’s 2021 EarTaxi Festival.

Passionate about exploring diverse human experiences through art music, Ilanna has curated and performed collaborative recitals centered around the voices of women, domestic violence, relationship communication styles, and the resilience of Jewish culture during the Holocaust and throughout the 20th century.


She has trained at SongFest and Chautauqua and holds degrees from Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, and McGill University.

Equally at home in pop and jazz styles, Ilanna was one of the 325 individuals out of 125k auditionees who received a golden ticket to Hollywood on Season 10 of American Idol. She was only 15. 

A lover of dogs and baroque rage arias, Ilanna digs singing from her heart and laughing from her belly (and vice versa).

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“There is no doubt who the stars of the show were: Ilanna Starr as Nero with perfect vocal efficiency and [a] formidable demeanor.”

<<“Les vainqueurs du spectacle tombent sous le sens : Ilanna Starr en Néron d’une efficacité vocale parafaite et d’un abattage formidable […]”>>


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