Praised by Opera Wire for her vocal clarity, dramatic presence, and expressive interpretation, soprano Candace Y. Johnson, has concertized widely, including guest appearances at Carnegie Hall and The Manhattan Center, and with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Johnson is a versatile artist, equally comfortable in opera, musical theater, and jazz. She has performed lead roles in Le Nozze di Figaro, The Medium, Suor Angelica, Fame, and she defined the genre-bending role of Jackie in the world premiere of Howard’s End, America with RealOpera, San Francisco (2019).
Also an actress and playwright, Johnson performs her original one-woman shows, including a series entitled The Art Songs of Black Composers, wherein she plays multiple characters and integrates vocal performance, history, poetry, and music analysis. The latest release in this series, The Music and Muses of Margaret Bonds and Langston Hughes, was premiered at the Marsh Theater’s Festival of New Musical Works in the Fall of 2021. Other installments in the series include Music to My Ears: Hearing Adolphus Hailstork, and Crossing Rivers and Building Bridges through Song. Johnson’s very first solo show, Vox in a Box, premiered at UC Berkeley (2018) and tells the story of how she found her artistic voice.
Johnson is the creator and owner of FitnesSing!™, her vocal health program that combines vocal training with physical fitness and dance. FitnesSing!™ launched online in April 2020 and streams live every Friday at noon on The Marsh Theater’s virtual platform, the MarshStream. It is quickly becoming the rave with singers of every skill level.
On the voice faculty at the University of California-Berkeley since 2009, Johnson teaches applied voice classes and a course on African-American composers. Prior to her current appointment, she was awarded a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in the music department. Johnson earned her doctorate in voice performance from the University of Michigan, where she studied with the late Shirley Verrett, as well as George Shirley and Willis Patterson.