School of Music

Judith James

Artist Faculty in Voice

Office Location

Corthell Hall



Academic Degrees

  • Bachelor of Music, Florida State University, Summa cum laude, Valedictorian
  • Master of Music, University of Illinois


Judith James has had a remarkably active and versatile performing career. Her operatic performances include leading roles with the New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Asolo Opera, Aspen Music Festival, The Wolf Trap Center and The Manhattan Theatre Club.  Some of her major roles included:  Susanna (Figaro), Mimi (La Boheme), Pamina (Magic Flute), Susannah (Susannah), Micaela (Carmen), Electra (Idomeneo) and Laurie (in Copland's The Tender Land)-with the composer.  These roles are representative of the 24 major roles she has performed under such luminaries as Julius Rudel and Christopher Keene. In the New York revival of Ned Rorem's Miss Julie, Ms. James both performed and recorded the title role. She performed as soloist with the Accademia Monteverdiana under Denis Stevens in Alice Tully Hall and on tour.  She soloed with orchestras and in oratorios. Concerts that she gave in the New York area were broadcast live on television and radio.


After moving to Maine, Ms. James began specializing in the music of Kurt Weill.  Her first performance participation, titled “3 Divas in Concert,” took place at the Portland Art Museum, with Ed Reichert at the piano.  In 2004, the same 4 artists opened the faculty concert series at USM with a performance celebrating the tenth anniversary of their collaboration.  During those 10 years, Judith and Ed performed in many solo venues.  Her sold-out concert in the 2003 faculty concert series was given an encore performance on 2/26/04.   Her Kurt Weill at the National Assn of Teachers of Singing (NATS) New England Regional Conference in August 2001 was highly acclaimed, as were Kurt Weill performances in New York, Florida, the Round Top (ME) and Firehouse Centers (NH) for the Arts.

In recent years, Ms. James has performed in musical theatre including 2 performances at Maine State Music Theater (MSMT) and the role of Anna, (The King and I), at Portland Players.  Ms. James assumed the role of music director, also at Portland Players (The Fantasticks), and in 2015 at The Footlights (Steppin' Out). She was the soloist for “Christmas with Corneils” at Merrill Auditorium in ’02 and organized and performed in “The Magic of Mardi Gras” in February of 2010.

Ms. James taught graduate courses at The Ohio State University and has had a thriving private studio since 1984. She was governor of Maine NATS from 1995 -2000. 


From Opera News reviews:

" The cast sang splendidly with Judith James' Mimi exhibiting superior vocal finesse and stage sense"  [La Boheme]

"James (was) so compelling that the short but gripping performance will remain in the memory long after other seasons come and go." 
[Judith, Bluebeard’s Castle]

“The performance was intense, various and well sustained.  Miss James’ concentration was contagious.”  [The Human Voice]

“... James was successful in negotiating the difficult roller-coaster tessitura, especially in the upper reaches of her voice where it gleams"  [Miss Julie]

From The New York Times and The Washington Post:

"Miss James made a success of Micaela, playing the role with quiet strength and singing her aria in Act III with cool, silvery tonal purity"

[Carmen at New York City Opera]


"James not only sings well, but also turns in the most compellingly detailed acting performance."

  [The Crucible]

About her Kurt Weill:

"...James' dramatic delivery was spell-binding.  She breathes Weill through her pores, and we are kept breathtakingly aware of the excitement, the denial, the challenge, and the anger."

(Updated May 2015)