Geeta Novotny, (also credited as Geeta Bhatnagar) is an award-winning, exciting young artist blazing her way through the professional performing arts world as a singer and an actor. As a classical singer, Geeta continues to meet abundant acclaim for her powerful, rich mezzo-soprano voice and her captivating stage presence. Geeta is a winner of the prestigious 2010 Beverly Hills Auditions which has lead to her being contracted for solo recital engagements in 2011 at venues such as The Music in the Mansion Recital Series at the historical Beverly Hills Greystone Mansion and The Previews Concerts Series in Manhattan Beach. Highlights in Geeta’s 2009-2010 concert season include performing as the alto soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D and performing as a featured soloist in a concert of Music from the French Revolution both with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. Also in that season, Geeta generated much buzz for her sultry portrayal of Carmen in La Tragédie de Carmen with the Intimate Opera under the baton of Kristof Van Gryspeer and the direction of Mark Lamanna-“Geeta Bhatnagar-Novotny was genuinely enchanting as Carmen, seducing the audience along with each of her operatic victims. She integrated her voice with an alluring rhythm and movement that masterfully conveyed the meaning between her lines...she sang beautifully as she revealed the evolving depth of her fey character.” (culturespotla.com). Highlights in Geeta’s 2007-2008 season include performing as a featured soloist as the character of Magdalene in Splendor of Wagner with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, the Roswell Symphony Orchestra, and the Santa Maria Philharmonic. She also performed the title role in the Handel opera Flavio with Pocket Opera in San Francisco-as her reviews stated: “Flavio, the king of Lombardy was intensely sung by mezzo Geeta Novotny…As the monarch, Novotny displayed a commanding, dark sound…she maintained constant contact with the audience and showed a commitment to her character…her presence was undeniably confident and regal.” (sfcv.org). Also in 2007, Geeta garnered significant reviews performing the title role in Carmen alongside tenor Christopher Campbell as Don Jose, with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, the Roswell Symphony Orchestra, and the Santa Maria Philharmonic under the baton of John Farrer. Her reviews stated: “The fiery gypsy, Carmen, and her flirtation with all the men was beautifully performed by Geeta Novotny…a flash of her eyes, and a twirl of her skirt, were seductive enough to attract any male near her and she played both to the hilt…the strains of the Seguidilla were performed beautifully by Novotny.” (The Roswell Daily Record). In 2008, Geeta reprised her Carmen with Mr. Campbell as Don Jose, along with renowned pianist and flutist Victoria Kirsch and Pamela Vliek Martchev for concerts with the esteemed Trinity Lutheran Manhattan Beach Concert Series and the RHUMC Concert Series in Southern California. Also that year, Geeta performed as a featured soloist for the annual Holiday Concert at the Hearst Castle under the auspices of the Pacific Repertory Opera. That same year, Geeta produced and sang the theme song, accompanied by violinist Andrea Hammond, for the soundtrack for the penultimate edit of the documentary film: Nancy Kwan- To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey produced by Brian Jamieson and Redwind Productions, Inc.
In 2006, Geeta completed her third consecutive year with the Los Angeles Opera portraying
the lead female role of Rosina in their nationally acclaimed tour of Figaro’s American
Adventure, an original children’s adaptation of the opera The Barber of Seville.
This production gained national recognition when chosen as a feature on ABC News’
Nightline. Geeta deeply believes in the paramount responsibility of keeping classical music alive
through educational and community outreach. When interviewed by Nightline’s journalist David Marash,
Geeta remarked of this production, “They (the children) are engrossed in the show…if you
build upon teaching these children art and different forms of art at a young age, they'll develop a taste
for it when they're older. And we hope that we're looking at our future audience.” In 2005,
Geeta made her mainstage principal role debut with the Los Angeles Opera as the
3rd Noble Orphan in Der Rosenkavalier. This production was conducted by Kent Nagano and
directed by the academy award-winning actor Maximilian Schell.
Also in 2006, Geeta sang the theme song and lead vocal solos for the soundtrack of the film Shanghai Red starring Vivian Wu and Richard Burgi, with original music composed by Randy Miller and produced and directed by Oscar Luis Costo and MARdeORO Films. Shanghai Red received rave reviews as an official selection for the Montreal World Film Festival (2006), the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (2007), the Newport Film Festival (2007), and was in competition for the Jin Jue Award at the Shanghai International Film Festival (2007).
In 2006, Geeta’s endeavors as an actor included starring in three independent films: Mended Spectacle, A Mellow Apple, and A.S.K. She has also performed off-Broadway as a principal actor and music composer with the South Asian Rasa Theater Company at the Theatre Row Theater in New York City. A review of their inaugural production of the Eugene O’Neill play Abortion stated: “Adding to the Asian atmosphere was the seductive and original Indian music composed and sung by Geeta Bhatnagar.” (eoneill.com).
Since making her solo debut at Carnegie Hall in 2002 as a featured soloist in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Geeta has had the opportunity to sing with several symphony orchestras throughout the U.S. Some highlights include performances as the alto soloist, along with her soprano sister, Dana Bhatnagar-Vachharajani (www.danavmusic.com), in the Mozart Requiem with the Pro Arte Chorale and the Haddonfield Symphony (2004). Prior to that, Geeta made her New Jersey Symphony Orchestra debut as a featured soloist in Much Ado About Shakespeare. These performances she reprised with her sister, and the emmy-nominated actress Claire Bloom as the narrator; performing as the soloists in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; along with performing the vocal solos of: Arne’s Three Shakespeare Songs and Chilcot’s Orpheus With His Lute. They performed under the baton of Nicholas McGegan and were accompanied by The Women of the Pro Arte Chorale. Their reviews stated: “Dana and Geeta Bhatnagar had appealing stage presence to match their committed singing” (New Jersey Star Telegram). “…But it was mezzo-soprano Geeta Bhatnagar, who showed off a dramatic sound and stage presence in ‘Fear no more the heat ‘o the sun’ (Cymbeline)…her sheer intensity overcame a purist’s objections.”
Geeta and her sister also had the great fortune of becoming the Grand Prize Winners of the
2003 International Young Artist Peninsula Music Festival Competition in Palos Verdes, CA.
This win also led to radiant reviews: “The Grand Prize Award went to two sisters: mezzo-soprano
Geeta Bhatnagar and soprano, Dana Bhatnagar, who introduced duet performance to the Festival with
personalities and performances that left no doubt why Carnegie Hall and the Met booked them before
YAPMF… With voices superbly matched and with musical interpretive styling that added drama to the
songs, the Bhatnagars roamed an emotional and melodic spectrum. Enough said about such glorious music, as
also heard from the Bhatnagars amid stand–up applause.” (Peninsula News).
For Geeta and her sister, this achievement had been a wonderful addition to the above-mentioned honor of their Carnegie Hall debuts as the featured soloists in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In these performances Jaime Laredo conducted the New York String Orchestra and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, along with Claire Bloom as the narrator. The Sisters first performed this work with Ms. Bloom at the Aspen Music Festival with the Aspen Chamber Symphony under the baton of David Zinman.
Also in 2003, Geeta performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, under the baton of Ormsby Wilkins, as the mezzo-soprano soloist with the American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House in Sir Frederick Ashton’s ballet The Dream. That same year, Geeta received great accolade for her strong performance in the role of Maddalena in Rigoletto with the Amarillo Opera.
In 2002, Geeta completed the apprenticeship with the Utah Opera where she toured extensively and starred in the role of Sarica in the World Premiere of the opera Illusions. Prior to that, she met notable praise for her performances as the 1st Prioress in Dialogues des Carmélites with the Aspen Opera Theater Center under the baton of James Conlon and the direction of Edward Berkeley. That same year, Geeta performed the title role in Rossini’s Cinderella with the Fort Worth Touring Opera: “The dark-haired Geeta Bhatnagar was a very believable Cinderella…the singing was generally beautiful and effective from Cinderella’s flawless mezzo-soprano.” (Ranger Times).
Geeta pursued her Masters of Music at the University of North Texas where she was awarded a full teaching fellowship. She performed under the baton of Dr. Steven Dubberly and the direction of Paula Homer in the roles of: Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible, Margot in The Merry Widow, and the 1st Prioress in Dialogues of the Carmelites. She also holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University where was a two-time recipient of the Harry G. Archer Award Scholarship and the Charlotte Black Memorial Scholarship. She performed under the baton of Dr. Robert Page in the roles of: The Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Ottavia in L'incoronazione di Poppea, Vera Boronel in The Consul, and Nun II in Suor Isabella, having the opportunity to work with directing talents such as: Stephen Schwartz, Elizabeth Bachman, Rhoda Levine, Dorothy Danner, Peter Frisch, Greg Lehane, and Janet Bookspan. Geeta's other roles include Le Mort in Stravinsky's Le Rossignol under the baton of Julius Rudel and the direction of Garnett Bruce with the Aspen Opera Theater Center; and Mrs. Nolan in The Medium with the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Her musical theater roles include: Anita in West Side Story, Mrs. Jones in Street Scene, Dolly in Hello Dolly!, Baroness Schrader in the Sound of Music, and Lucinda in Into the Woods.
Geeta has performed and studied with the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in
Graz, Austria, where she was a finalist in the AIMS International Meistersinger
Competition under the baton of Cornelius Eberhardt. She has also performed as the alto soloist in
oratorio works such as: Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, the Bach
Magnificat, the Mozart Coronation Mass, Libby Larsen’s Eleanor Roosevelt,
and has been a featured soloist with Pittsburgh, PA’s famed River City Brass Band.
Geeta and her sister, Dana, comprise the vocal duo The Bhatnagar Sisters. They have headlined several recitals throughout the U.S. and successfully released their first CD in 2002 entitled Duets. This duo performs everything from opera and art song to musical theater, pop, and jazz works.
Geeta is also a published writer as she was a music columnist and contributing writer for the New York City-based magazine The Indian American.
As an important compliment to her performance career, Geeta donates her time and talent for humanitarian causes. She is proudly a project leader and roster artist for the charitable organization Sing for Hope (www.singforhope.org ) and is also proudly a creative activist for Creative Visions Foundation (www.creativevisions.org ).
Geeta is also a voice teacher who maintains a premier private voice studio and has also taught for numerous performing arts schools around the country.
Ironically “Geeta” means “Song” in Hindi. Geeta is a progeny of an industrious East Indian father and an exuberant Irish mother and was raised in rural Pennsylvania...Those eclecticisms make her who she is in a nutshell!
" There is an intense flux which occurs when creativity is expressed through the arts. What happens is that an inspiring and empowering energy exchange is created between the audience and the artist which can be both euphoric and utterly indescribable. I deeply believe this flux is, in essence, the healing power of the arts. Thus art creates transformation and transcendence. I believe it is my responsibility as an artist to spark that revolution in others by telling the story of our humanity through performance art. I also believe in the creative being who fights for their creativity everyday and wins, and thus creates the desire in all of us to pay-it-forward in the many aspects of our lives. I do what I do because creativity is so deep-rooted in my being. Because I had the support of amazing mentors in my life who helped me to use my music and art to educate, to affect and to incite hope, change, and dialogue in others. Because there is no better accomplishment than to evolve oneself and one’s chosen craft. And most importantly because I feel through enhancing global creativity that we can all become more empathetic to our humanity."