Born in Montreal, Canada, of Greek parents, Mary-Ellen Nesi studied in Athens under Misa Ikeutsi and at the Mayer-Lismann Opera Center in London.
She has appeared opera houses such as Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Semperoper Dresden, Frankfurt Opera, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Theater an der Wien, Théâtre de Champs-Elysées Paris, Opéra du Rhin Strasbourg, Opéra de Versailles, The Royal Opera house-Linbury Theater, Teatro Olimpico Rome, Teatro Comunale Florence, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Municipale of Piacenza, Greek National Opera, Thessaloniki Opera, Sao Carlos Opera Lisbon, Teatro de la Maestranza Seville, Wiesbaden Opera, and festivals such as the Spoleto Festival, the Handel Festivals in Göttingen and in Halle, Klangvocal Dortmund, Musikfest Bremen and the festivals in Athens, Cuenca and Santiago de Compostela.
She has an unusual wide range of operatic roles, such as the title role in Carmen, Adalgisa in Norma, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Ramiro in La Finta Giardiniera, Orazio in Gluck’s Il Trionfo di Clelia, Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Teresa in La Sonnambula, Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Tebaldo in Don Carlos and principal roles in operas by contemporary Greek composers such as Helen of Sparta in Thanos Mikroutsikos' The Return of Helen, Night in Periklis Koukos' Manuel Salinas. Her many roles by Handel include the title roles in Serse, Oreste, Rodrigo, Faramondo, Alessandro Severo, Sesto in Giulio Cesare, Ruggiero in Alcina, Andronico in Tamerlano and Teseo in Arianna in Creta. Roles by Vivaldi include the title role in Orlando Furioso, Antiope in Ercole su’l Termodonte, Anastasio in Giustino, the title role and Berenice in Il Farnace and Mitrena as well as Fernando in Motezuma. Other roles in the baroque repertoire include Megacle in Paisiello’s L’Olimpiade, Licida in Pergolesi’s L’Olimpiade, Ottavia in L'Incoronazione di Poppea and Penelope in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria.
Equally at home on the concert platform she frequently appears in concert halls and festivals throughout Europe, North America and Asia.
Mary-Ellen Nesi regularly collaborates with prominent conductors such as Ivor Bolton, Frederic Chaslin, Marco Comin, Theodor Currentzis, Alan Curtis, Ruben Dubrovsky, Ottavio Dantone, Marcello Di Lisa, Charles Dutoit, Diego Fasolis, Julia Jones, Peter Kopp, J. Reilly Lewis, Eduardo López Banzo, Paul O'Dette, Andrea Marcon, Miguel Gómez Martínez, Rainer Mühlbach, George Petrou, Federico Maria Sardelli, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Stephen Stubbs, Ivars Taurins and Bruno Weil.
Engagements in 2013 included Ruggiero in Handel's Alcina at the Semperoper Dresden, Angelina in La Cenerentola at the Greek National Opera, the title role in Vivaldi's Il Farnace at Maggio Musicale Florence, Berenice in Vivaldi's Il Farnace at Opéra de Versailles, Orazio in Gluck’s Il Trionfo di Clelia at Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Calipso in Porpora's Polifemo at the Theater an der Wien, Dorabella in Così fan tutte at the Festival of the Aegean, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater in Berlin with Akademie für Alte Musik, Lucio in Vivaldi's Tito Manlio at Festival de Ambronay and Handel's Messiah as well as Mozart's Mass in C minor in Athens. She also recorded Baroque Divas, a CD with arias by various baroque composers.
Engagements in 2014 included Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther as well as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte at the Greek National Opera, Ino as well as Juno in Handel’s Semele at Opéra de Nice, Penelope in Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria at Staatstheater Darmstadt, Medarse in Hasse’s Siroe in Athens, Sifare in Mozart's Mitridate, re di Ponto at the Mannheimer Mozartsommer, Bach's St John Passion in Athens, arias by Handel, Vivaldi and Gluck in Brussels with Armonia Atenea and Tancredi in Scarlatti’s Erminia in Dubrovnik.
Assignments in 2015 included Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Greek National Opera, Penelope in Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria at the Boston Early Music Festival as well as additional performances at Staatstheater Darmstadt, Maddalena in Handel's La Resurrezione at the Gärtnerplatztheater Munich, Medarse in Hasse's Siroe in Berlin, Vienna, Versailles, Amsterdam, Budapest, Krakow and Moscow. Handel's Messiah in Toronto with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra as well as in Athens with Armonia Atenea, Arias by Vivaldi in London (Proms), Rheingau, Bruges and Korkyra with B'Rock Baroque Orchestra Ghent, and concerts in Konzerthaus Berlin with various arias.
2016 has started with arias by Gluck in Strasbourg with Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in Toronto with Tafelmusik Orchestra Toronto.
Her recordings of Handel’s operas include the title roles in Handel’s Oreste and Alessandro Severo, Teseo in Arianna in Creta, Andronico in Tamerlano, Sesto in Giulio Cesare and Arsace in Berenice. She has also recorded Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Orazio in Gluck’s Il Trionfo di Clelia, Berenice in Vivaldi's Il Farnace, Dorisbe in D. Scarlatti's Tolomeo ed Alessandro, a solo CD Salve Regina, and a CD with the title Christmas at San Marco. DVD recordings include Antiope in Vivaldi's Ercole su’l Termodonte and Mitrena as well as Fernando in Vivaldi's Motezuma.
She is the founder the Opera Festival of Ancient Corinth, which stages operas inspired by ancient Greece in the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth.
MOZART - Mitridate, Re di Ponto / Sifare
Rubén Dubrovsky, conductor
VIVALDI - Juditha triumphans / Holofernes
Andrea Marcon, conductor / Venice Baroque Orchestra
HASSE - Siroe / Medarse
Opéra de Lausanne
George Petrou, conductor
HANDEL - Hercules / Dejanira
Bernhard Forck, conductor
HASSE - Siroe / Medarse
Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden
George Petrou, conductor