Personal profile


Voice Instructor
A native of Boston, Mezzo Soprano, Donna Olson completed her Bachelor of Music at the Boston Conservatory of Music, Dance & Drama, staying an additional two years to perform with the famous Opera Theater of The Boston and New England Conservatories. She moved west in 1986, met her mentor, Ellen Faull, in Seattle, and has since enjoyed great success as a professional opera singer and voice teacher. Donna is the teacher and founder of The Vocal Studio in Oakland, CA, specializing in all aspects of bridging the gap from undergraduate to graduate studies for serious young singers and working professionals.  Many of Donna's students have gone on to receive full scholarships to major institutions such as Boston Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, University of Arizona, and Loyola University. Most recently one of her students received the highest award for a young opera singer, admittance to the Metropolitan Opera's  Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. A well-sought Mezzo Soprano and "artist of great expression" in recital as well as opera, Donna is a frequent performer of oratorio and recital work. She has sung with companies, festivals and orchestras across the United States, including: Seattle Northwest, Fremont, Columbia, Bravo Vancouver, Los Gatos, Newport, Boston, Portland Chamber, and Oregon Symphonies, as well as the Midsummer Mozart and Mendocino Music Festivals. Donna has sung major roles with the Opera Companies of Portland, Sacramento, Nevada, Stockton, Auburn City, Sierra, Washington East, Eugene, West Bay, Livermore, Old Church, Berkeley, and Opera Idaho. She has been the featured soloist on CD recordings of Handel's Messiah, Mozart's Requiem, and Vashti. Recent credits include conducting master classes on vocal technique and speech projection to ministers in training at Starr King Academy and importance of diction in speech and singing at Laney College and vocal technique at UC Berkeley.  Donna was responsible, in collaboration with Jan Powell, Theater Director, for the staging and originating the creative concepts of David Schiff's VASHTI, performing the seven roles with "humor, vocal strength and warmth." Donna became a member of National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and her students have received First Place honors (including SMC) each year in the NATS Spring Fesitvals. Most recently Donna received citical acclaim for her portrayal of Mrs. Bertram in West Edge Opera's Production of Jake Heggie's The End of The Affair in August of 2014.  Donna continues to perform and teach throughout the Bay Area.  She joined the Performing Arts Department at Saint Mary's College of California as our Lecturer of Voice in 2010.

Contact Information

School of Liberal Arts » Performing Arts: Music, Dance and Theatre
School of Liberal Arts » Performing Arts: Music
SMC Email Address: 
Contact Information: 
Phone: 408.394.6216
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Related documents

Education/Academic qualification


Opera Theater of the Boston and New England Conservatories

Research Interests

  • Performing Arts
  • Opera, Musical Theater
  • Music History Music as a form of communcation Music and Youth Environmental Health Art History and Museums Dance Poetry, words Performance Art


  • Music