Lisa Pugh

Lisa van der Ploeg, Mezzo-Soprano


A prizewinner in the Ellen Faull Gordon Competition and a three-time regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, mezzo-soprano Lisa van der Ploeg has portrayed gypsies, princesses, forlorn ladies, mothers, and maids. Her voice has been described as “proof of opera’s power to raise goose bumps.”


Favorite opera roles include Azucena in Il Trovatore, Amneris in Aida, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Witch and Mother in Hansel and Gretel, Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Berta in The Barber of Seville, andSuzuki in Madama Butterfly. She toured nationally with the Western Opera in the title role of Carmen, as part of the San Francisco Opera Center/Merola Opera Program, where she also sang the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, and Natura in La Calisto. With the Seoul Korea Contemporary Opera Company, she sang the role of Julia in Bardos by David Evan Jones.


Appearances with orchestras include The Barber of Seville and The Three Cornered Hat with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Raymond Leppard. She sang the solo in Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with the Dayton Philharmonic, conducted by Neal Gittleman, under whom she also sang Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, and Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder. A Mahler specialist, Professor van der Ploeg has sung the Second and Third Symphonies with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, under Benjamin Zander and Daniel Hege, respectively. She also recorded the Third Symphony with Indiana University, Arpad Joo conductor. She has sung the alto solo inVerdi’s Requiem with the Junge Kammerphilharmonie Freiburg and Stanford Chorus and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with Oakland East Bay Symphony. In 2015 she returned to Denmark, where she spent her childhood, to give her long-awaited debut recital with the highly regarded pianist Ulrich Staerk. 


Professor van der Ploeg began her studies with mezzo-soprano Joaquina Calvo Johnson at Yuba College, where she received an Associate in Arts degree in Music. She then studied with mezzo-soprano Lynelle Frankforter Wiens at the University of the Pacific, where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. Studies continued with soprano Costanza Cuccaro at Indiana University, where she received a Master of Music in Vocal Performance.


In addition to teaching voice and diction at San Jose State, she has taught voice as an Associate Instructor at Indiana University and voice and vocal pedagogy at the University of the Pacific.


On the stage, in master class settings, and privately she has worked with many distinguished singers and directors, including Regine Crespin, Sherrill Milnes, Vera Rósza, Ruth Golden, Lotfi Mansouri, and Jose Maria Condemi. She has coached with well-known diction coaches such as Nico Castel, Denise Massé, Elena Servi, Alessandra Cattani, and Marcie Stapp. Professor van der Ploeg currently studies with Julia Nielsen and Dr. Nielsen’s mentor, noted international vocal pedagogue David