South African Mezzo Soprano Jolene McCleland, studied music and voice (BMus) (cum laude) at Stellenbosch University and a post-graduate diploma in opera (completed with distinction) at the Konservatorium der Stadt Wien in Austria. In January 2015 she was appointed as singing lecturer at Stellenbosch University.
Jolene’s European debut was realised with the role of Cain’s Lamb in the European Premiere of Tsippi Fleischer’s Cain and Abel in 2005 in the Semperdepot, Vienna. Since then she has performed many roles including Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte, Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Second Lady in The Magic Flute (Japan Tour), Nancy in Britten’s Albert Herring, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Jolene is also becoming a specialist in the Modern Opera field, having performed Die Spinne in Max Nagl’s world premiere of the opera Camilo Chamäleon and a soloist in Titus Hollweg’s interpretation of Milhaud’s Opéras-Minutes at the Carinthian Music Festival (Austria) in 2011. In the same year she recorded with the great contemporary American Composer, Nancy van de Vate, performing the role of Queen Gertrude in the opera Hamlet with the Moravian Philharmonic.
An acclaimed Lied interpreter, recently she performed a Liederabend together with the Schubertbund Choir in the Golden Hall of the Music Society,Vienna. Since 2012, she regularly tours as soloist with the Johann Strauss Ensemble, performing in Austria, Turkey, Croatia and Algeria.
In the field of oratorio, McCleland is a sought-out alto soloist, performing regularly in the big cathedrals of Vienna, Austria. In December 2013 she had the honour of performing the alto solo in Handel’s Messiah with the Slovenian Radio Orchestra in the Cankarjev Dom in Ljublana.
In Oktober 2014 she performed the role of Elektra in the Austrian Debut of Michael Trojahn’s proclaimed opera Orest at the Museumsquartier in Vienna
In 2015 she was invited to perform Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Brandon Phillips and the Orchestra and Choir of the New Apostolic Church. She sang three world premieres at the Komposimposium, works composed by Antoni Schonken, Keith Moss and Hans Roosenschoon. Her show Mood Swings – roles of a Mezzo debuted at the Endler Hall. She also performed with Niel Rademann and Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg and the Stellenbosch City Orchestra at Lourensford Wine Estate. In 2016 she shares the stage with them once more, this time at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, while her show, A Viennese Affair, with Wilken Calitz and Elna van der Merwe, was performed at the Stellenbosch University’s Woordfees.