- The Heritage and Harmony: Her Art, Her Voice, created by pianist Donna Weng Friedman, in collaboration with the National Women's History Museum, was released on March 8.
Opera singer Indira Kumari Mahajan is among trailblazing women in the arts featured in a video series by the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) as part of Women’s History Month. Created by pianist Donna Weng Friedman, in collaboration with the NWHM, “Heritage and Harmony: Her Art, Her Voice” is designed and dedicated to inspiring and empowering school-aged girls of color to find their true voice. Released on March 8, International Women’s Day, the video series spotlights extraordinary women in the arts from diverse backgrounds who are leaders in a wide range of artistic fields and creative endeavors.
Mahajan, the daughter of a Punjabi father and an African American mother, has been a star on Broadway and the global stage for over three decades. She has spent nearly three decades singing principal roles with the New York City Opera and with other companies nationally and internationally.
Her introduction to music began with violin lessons at age 5. “I cannot remember not wanting to perform and not wanting to be an artist,” she told American Kahani in a previous interview, recalling her early days of piano and ballet lessons and voice training under her mother, Barbara Mahajan, a Juilliard-trained opera singer.
She flirted with becoming a voice major and then abandoned the idea to pursue African-American studies at Oberlin. Although she still took lessons at the conservatory, it wasn’t until after graduation that she pursued her training full time at the New School’s Mannes School of Music in Manhattan and the Accademia Musicale Ottorino Respighi in Italy. “I never really thought then that I would pursue music as a career, but I’m glad I did,” she said.
Some of her celebrated roles include “Aida,” where she plays an Ethiopian princess; “Madame Butterfly,” where she transforms into an innocent 15-year-old; in “Porgy and Bess,” she is seen as the sexy, sleazy, strong and needy Bess and in “La Bohème,” she is the buoyant and affectionate Musetta.