Serbian-born Milijana Nikolic holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Belgrade where she was under the tutelage of Radmila Smiljanic. Milijana won awards in numerous international competitions including Biserka Cvejic (most outstanding vocalist of the year 1998) as well as the Nikola Cvejic award as most promising young singer in the Petar Konjovic International Competition 1998.
Milijana’s operatic debut took place in the Belgrade National Theatre as Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Tisbe in Rossini’s Cenerentola. In 2001, she won a two-year scholarship to attend the Academy for Soloists at Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
Since this time, she has sung leading mezzo-soprano roles throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Her principal role debut at La Scala was Cuniza in Verdi’s Oberto; Milijana repeated this role in Genoa. Other Italian engagements have included Iphigénie en Tauride at La Scala and at Rome Opera under Riccardo Muti, Emma in Donizetti’s Ugo Conte di Parigi in Bergamo, Catania and La Scala, Rossini’s Petit Messe Solenelle and Fenena in Nabucco in Sardinia.
In Asia, Milijana has sung Eboli in Don Carlo in Seoul, Korea and for Opera Hong Kong; she has also appeared with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. Her many roles for Opera Australia in recent seasons have included the title role in Carmen, Amneris in Aida, La Principessa in Suor Angelica, Jezibaba in Rusalka, Azucena in Il trovatore, Venus in Tannhäuser, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera and Adelaide in Arabella.
She has been a frequent soloist with the Queensland and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras and the Auckland Philharmonia in works by Verdi, Mozart, de Falla, Mendelssohn and others.
Since 2010, Milijana has sung the title role in Carmen for the Savolinna Festival in Finland, for Opera Australia in Sydney and Melbourne and for State Opera of South Australia in Adelaide; Amneris (in her American debut) for Michigan Opera Theatre and in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and New Zealand; Dalila in Samson et Dalila in Finland; the title role in Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans at the Macerata Festival; she also appeared in the World Premiere of Bliss for Opera Australia in Sydney, Melbourne and at the Edinburgh Festival.
In 2014, Milijana Nikolic sang Carmen in Sydney and Melbourne and joined the roster of principal artists at The Metropolitan Opera, New York. In 2015, she returns to Opera Australia for performances as Eboli and Amneris in Aida on Sydney Harbour.