Praised for her “keen expression and impressive delivery” in performance with a “sound that is rich, full and luminous throughout its range,” American Soprano Jessica Faselt was a participant of the 2022 Birgit Nilsson Masterclass in Sweden and is the recipient of the 2021 Hildegard Behrens Foundation Award and the 2020 George London Foundation Award.
Ms. Faselt’s season highlights for 2022-2023 have included the role of Freia in Das Rheingold with The Atlanta Opera, First Lady in The Magic Flute at The Metropolitan Opera, and debuts with Detroit Opera and the LA Philharmonic (at the Hollywood Bowl), singing Helmwige in Act III of Die Walküre. Engagements for the 2023-2024 season will include Freia in LA Philharmonic’s upcoming production of Das Rheingold under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, and Helmwige in the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra’s touring performances of Die Walküre in Rotterdam, Baden-Baden, Dortmund, and Paris, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Ms. Faselt was a winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Upon performing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the Grand Finals Concert, Ms. Faselt was presented with the Birgit Nilsson Award of the American-Scandinavian Foundation. She went on to become a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program from 2018-2021, and made her debut with the company in 2018 as a Novice in Puccini’s Suor Angelica.
In 2019, Faselt made her The Met: Live in HD debut in movie theaters around the world as Helmwige in Wagner’s Die Walküre. That season, Ms. Faselt was also engaged to sing Helmwige in the Act III ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Music Festival and also covered the Lady in Waiting in The Metropolitan Opera’s 2019 production of Verdi’s Macbeth. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Ms. Faselt was unable to perform her scheduled roles with The Metropolitan Opera during the 2020-2021 season, which were to have included The High Priestess in Verdi’s Aida, First Young Nun in Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel, and Unborn 2 in Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten.
Ms. Faselt has earned many prestigious awards and honors in national and international competitions throughout her training and emerging professional seasons, including a Sarah Tucker Study Grant with the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, a Callas Tribute Prize New York, the Ursula Springer Memorial Fund Award from the Wagner Society of New York, Third Prize in the Giulio Gari International Voice Competition, and the 2019 Tito Capobianco Awardfrom Opera Index Foundation. Ms. Faselt was also the recipient of the 2019 Richard F. Gold Career Grant, a semi-finalist with the Premiere Opera Foundation International Voice Competition, and sang in that organization’s Masterclass with Maestro Richard Bonynge.
Ms. Faselt has also participated in training programs with Florida Grand Opera (covering the title role in Richard Strauss’s Salome and Florencia in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas), The Institute for Young Dramatic Voices (where she studied under world-renowned mezzo-soprano, Dolora Zajick), Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (covering the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos), and Des Moines Metro Opera. She received her Master of Music degree from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, where she was also a recipient of the Corbett Award. A native of Iowa, Ms. Faselt began her training at the University of Iowa School of Music, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree with honors.
Coloratura soprano Sharleen Joynt has been praised for her “silvery, sparkling, substantial and resonant soprano” (Die Deutsche Bühne), her “scintillating high range, reminiscent of the most beautiful moments of Mady Mesplé” (Opernwelt), and “an artistic command that leaves the listener breathless” (Deutschland Radio). Most recently, Sharleen reprised the role of the Controller in Jonathan Dove’s Flight for Seattle Opera, which was filmed and released for streaming in April of 2021, critics exclaiming, “We know we’re in for an acting treat when we see Sharleen Joynt’s overpoweringly supercilious, impeccably turned out Controller, prowling her control tower and pulling the strings; we see her arched eyebrows and penetrating stare in close-up as she delivers stratospheric coloratura.” (Bachtrack).
Sharleen returned to Seattle Opera in 2022 as Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo, and sang Gilda in Rigoletto for Florida Grand Opera. Future engagements include another turn as Gilda in Rigoletto with Colorado Opera and as Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice with Edmonton Opera.
2020 engagements were to include a reprisal of her signature role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with Calgary Opera. In the previous season, she made a role and company début as Gilda in Rigoletto with Edmonton Opera, performed in New Year’s Galas with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and sang the Controller in Jonathan Dove’s Flightwith Pacific Opera Victoria. Prior engagements included performing the role of Winnie in Lembit Beecher’s Sky on Swings, a new opera about Alzheimers starring Frederica von Stade, with Opera Philadelphia, Musetta in La Bohème with Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria, and Cunegonde in Candide with Anchorage Opera, the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Ravinia Music Festival, and the Orlando Philharmonic. At home with contemporary music, Sharleen also performed Christine in the North American Premiere of Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans’ Julie, based on the 1888 Strindberg play, “Miss Julie”, in a co-production with Canadian Stage and Soundstreams. In concert, highlights include Glière’s Concerto for Coloratura, Op. 82 (Guelph Symphony), as well as the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah (Charleston Symphony), Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light requiem (Bach Society of St. Louis), and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (Thunder Bay Symphony).
Sharleen made her European début when she joined the Anhaltisches Theater Dessau ensemble to sing Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, Adele in Die Fledermaus, and Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte. With the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, she sang Marie in La Fille du Régiment and Adele in Die Fledermaus. She performed her signature role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with Theater St. Gallen, Theater und Orchester Heidelberg, and in the Chinese premiere of the opera, produced by Oper Leipzig. As part of the Theater und Orchester Heidelberg ensemble, Sharleen sang Frasquita in Carmen, Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Fausta in the German premiere of Scarlatti’s Marco Attilio Regolo in the Winter in Schwetzingen Baroque Festival, and Soprano 1/Ariadne in Wolfgang Rihm’s Dionysos.
Honors include nominations for Nachwunschsängerin (Singer of the Year), awarded by Opernwelt magazine, and the prestigious “Der Faust” prize, awarded by the German Stage Association. Her fearless onstage presence in German Regietheater led to a 3-page feature in Deutsche Bühne magazine. Sharleen has been a prizewinner in the Liederkranz Foundation Competition, the George London Foundation Competition, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Licia Albanese Foundation Competition, the Canadian Music Competition’s International Stepping Stone, and the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition.
USA Today has named Cecilia Violetta López one of “Idaho’s Top 10 Most Influential Women of the Century” and has been named one of opera’s “25 Rising Stars” by Opera News. The singing actress is constantly praised for her “alluring voice and incredible range” (Washington Post).
She has received accolades for her signature role of Violetta in La traviata, which she has performed countless times throughout North America. Critic, James Jorden, exclaimed “she is a Violetta fully-formed and, I think, ready for the great stages of the world.” She has now performed the role with, Opera Orlando, Pacific Symphony, Minnesota Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera Tampa, Opera Idaho, Ash Lawn Opera, The Northern Lights Music Festival, Madison Opera and Virginia Opera. Ms. López made her European début as Norina in Don Pasquale with Zomeropera in Belgium, for which Klassiek Centraal exclaimed: “She turns out to be the revelation of the show and wins over the audience with her funny rendition, irresistible charm, and [she is] natural in the different vocals.”
From her performance as Adina in The Elixir of Love with Virginia Opera, The Virginian- Pilot hailed, “Cecilia Violetta López is showing local audiences why Opera News named her one of its ’25 Rising Stars.’ In the lead role of Adina, she hit the highest notes with ringing clarity, performed the vocal runs with precision and grace and showed a particular charm and humanity in the softest passages and lowest ranges.” In her recent performance as Marguerite in Faust with Opera Omaha, the Omaha World-Herald claimed “…López sang Marguerite’s seduction, madness and salvation with an other wordly wisdom and artistry.”
Ms. López’ 2021-2022 season includes several engagements ranging from opera performances to keynote speaking. Appearances include: Hanna Glawari in Opera Idaho’s production of The Merry Widow; soprano soloist in Opera Idaho’s “Opera in the Park” concert and Handel’s Messiah with the Boise Philharmonic; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Utah Symphony, and a return to the Zomeropera in Belgium singing Cio-Cio San in their production of Madama Butterfly. Cecilia also returns to Opera Orlando, where she reprises Violetta in their production of La traviata and Virginia Opera, where she will début the role of Beatrice in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers. Additionally, Ms. López will be an Artist in Residence at the University of Central Arkansas and will present recitals for Opera Orlando, Sun Valley Opera, Opera Idaho, New Mexico Performing Arts Society, JUMP Center in Boise, Idaho and Chamber Music Silicon Valley. Cecilia will also be a keynote speaker for the Migrant Student Leadership Institute as well as the 9th Annual Women and Leadership Conference, where previous speakers have included Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor and Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell. Upcoming engagements for the 2022-2023 season include “Celebrando a Mexico” with Opera Idaho, a Violetta cover assignment and concert appearances with Houston Grand Opera, and a role début of the title role in Rusalka with Opera Idaho.
Despite the halting effects of COVID-19 in the opera industry, Ms. López’ 2020-2021 season included both virtual and live recitals with Opera Idaho, Opera Las Vegas, Austin Opera, Opera Southwest, Chatter ABQ, Opera America, Madison Opera and Opera Colorado. Ms. López was also a featured soprano soloist in the world premier of Mi Camino, a virtual project with Opera Cultura, and made her company début with Pacific Symphony singing Violetta in their virtual production of La traviata. Ms. López also presented virtual Masterclasses with UC Boulder and The University of Montana.
In past seasons, Ms. López has made several role débuts including her now critically acclaimed role of Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Opera Idaho, Virginia Opera and Opera Las Vegas, the title role in Massenet’s Manon with Opera Idaho, Nedda in I pagliacci with Opera Colorado, Desdemona in Rossini’s Otello with LoftOpera, Maria in West Side Story with Opera Idaho, Marguerite in Faust with Opera Omaha, Mimì in La bohème with Opera Orlando, Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas with Florida Grand Opera, Beatrice Russo in Il Postino with Opera Southwest and Opera Saratoga, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, and Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Tampa, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow with Opera Saratoga, Lucy in Fellow Travelers with Prototype Opera Festival, the title role of Suor Angelica with Opera San Luis Obispo, Magda in La rondine with Skylark Opera Theatre, Gilda in Rigoletto with Opera Idaho, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Opera Tampa and Opera Las Vegas. In addition to these débuts, she reprised the role of Micaëla in Carmen with Madison Opera and joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in their 2015 production of The Merry Widow.
Solo concert performances include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and selections from Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, and Rutter’s Mass of the Children with the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society. Additionally, Ms. López has performed as a soloist at the reopening of the Idaho Museum of Natural History gala, various Christmas concerts with Madison Symphony, and as a featured soloist in concerts with the Boise Philharmonic, Austin Opera, and the prestigious Bard SummerScape Music Festival.
Ms. López also completed a two-year-tenure as a Soprano Resident Artist at Opera San José where she performed Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Leonora in Il trovatore, the title role in Suor Angelica, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Nannetta in Falstaff, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly.
Additionally, Ms. López is an alum of the Caramoor Music Festival where she covered the role of Hélène in Les vêpres siciliennes. She is also an alum of the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival where she sang the title role in their production of L’incoronazione di Poppea. Her début of the role of Violetta in La traviata, was with Martina Arroyo Foundation’s prestigious summer festival, Prelude to Performance.
In January 2021, Opera Idaho appointed Ms. López as the company’s first Artistic Advisor. “Known to Opera Idaho audiences primarily through her appearances in operas over the last six-plus years, Cecilia takes on added responsibilities to advise and advocate for expanded repertoire, provide insights on diversity in artistic practices and community initiatives, and collaborate with senior management in identifying and securing financial support for the company. Cecilia will work closely with General Director Mark Junkert in helping shape the future of Opera Idaho,” the company reported on their website.
‘When I think of someone, active in the field as a performer who both knows what’s happening in the field nationally and internationally and knows our state, Cecilia is the perfect fit for the position. Many opera companies have similar positions, and it is a sign of Opera Idaho’s growth that we’re able at this point in our history to add an Artistic Advisor.’ —Mark Junkert, General Director, Opera Idaho
Recently, Ms. López became the recipient of an Idaho State Concurrent Resolution honoring her life as an Idahoan and her work in the world of opera.
“We should be so very proud of Cecilia Violetta López. She exemplifies all that is what America is about: apply yourself, work hard, dream big, and you can achieve those dreams. She tells every Idaho girl and boy that they, too, can succeed … no matter where they came from, no matter how small they may start out, no matter how long their journey may appear to be. Idaho should be so very proud of this young lady and should hold her up as an example of what all Idaho children might achieve.” —Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb.
Ms. López, “The Daughter of Idaho,” a Mexican-American native of Rupert, Idaho, is featured in two Idaho state museums and got her musical start at a young age singing mariachi music that she learned from her mother.
Soprano Meechot Marrero has been called, “a revelation…a young Puerto Rican star with a great career ahead” (El Nuevo Día). A member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin ensemble, the 2021-2022 season (Ms. Marrero’s sixth with the company) brings three role debuts: Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Woglinde in Götterdämmerung, and Musetta in La Bohème. The season will also include repeat performances of Oscar in Un ballo in maschera and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte. Additional season engagements include Ms. Marrero’s debuts in Spain and Portugal as Gretel in a concert version of Hänsel und Gretel with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Oviedo, Spain, and Adina in L’elisir d’Amore with Plateia Protagonista in Portugal. She also reprises Carmina Burana in the 2022 Gala Concert at Sun Valley Music Festival and returns to the Grand Teton Music Festival to sing Musetta in La Bohème with Sir Donald Runnicles conducting.
Ms. Marrero’s 2020-2021 season included several role debuts at the Deutsche Oper Berlin: Nannetta in Falstaff, Biancofiore in a new production of Francesca da Rimini by Christof Loy (recorded on DVD for Naxos), and Tebaldo in Don Carlo. Other engagements included a recital with Joel Prieto and the role of Rosaura in the zarzuela Los Gavilanes with CulturArte de Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.
Roles at the Deutsche Oper Berlin during the 2019-2020 season included Liù in Turandot, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, a role debut of Micäela in Carmen, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, and Jano in Jenůfa. In the same season, Ms. Marrero reprised Cunegonde in Candide at the Komische Oper Berlin and Carmina Burana under the baton of Sir Donald Runnicles at the Grand Teton Music Festival.
During the 2018-2019 season, Ms. Marrero made her role and house debut as Cunegonde in Candide at the Komische Oper Berlin in a new production by Barrie Kosky, and also performed the role at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden. She also appeared as Maria in West Side Story, first with Sir Donald Runnicles and the Grand Teton Music Festival (where the score was performed in its entirety), followed by a performance of Bernstein’s West Side Story Suite No. 1 with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. At the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Ms. Marrero reprised the roles of Adele in Die Fledermaus and Bianca in La Rondine, and debuted the roles of Liù in Turandot, the Vixen in The Cunning Little Vixen, Micäela in Carmen and Xenia in Boris Godunov, among others.
In previous seasons at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Ms. Marrero also performed Adele, Frasquita in Carmen, Woglinde in Das Rheingold, Giannetta in L’Elisir d’Amore, Papagena, Princess Nicoletta in The Love for Three Oranges, the Page in Rigoletto, Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, Modestina in Il viaggio a Reims, First Witch in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Bianca and Gabriela in La Rondine. She is also a frequent guest at the Savannah Voice Festival, where her roles have included Juliette in Roméo et Juliette and Lucy England in Menotti’s The Telephone.
Ms. Marrero has enjoyed many engagements in Puerto Rico, performing with the Festival Casals as Trujamán in de Falla’s El retablo del Maese Pedro, Despina in Così fan tutte with the Teatro de la Opera, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and Concepción in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, and Rafaela in Vásquez’ La Mina de Oro with the Teatro Repertorio, UPRRP. Concert engagements have included soprano soloist with the Festival Casals in Menotti’s Muero porque no muero, de Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares Españolas, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Coro de Niños de San Juan and Haydn’s Creation with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Bayamón.
During her education at Yale School of Music and in the early years of her career, Ms. Marrero performed Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Yale Opera, Despina in Così fan tutte with Teatro de la Opera in Puerto Rico, Rosina in Barbiere si Siviglia and Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Savannah Voice Festival, and Norina in Don Pasquale at Opera in Williamsburg in Virginia. Concert appearances included Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Handel’s Messiah with the Hartford Chorale in Connecticut.
A native of Corozal, Puerto Rico, Ms. Marrero is the recipient of the Career Bridges grant from the Schuyler Foundation, and the Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize from the Yale School of Music. She began her musical studies with the San Juan Children’s Choir, and, after studying molecular biology at the University of Puerto Rico, completed a Bachelor of Music from the Puerto Rico Music Conservatory (where she graduated as the Valedictorian of her class) and a Master of Music from the Yale School of Music at Yale University. In addition to her vocal training, Ms. Marrero has trained in ballet for 10 years, jazz dance for 13 years and Latin dance since birth.
Praised by The New York Times for her “plummy, penetrating voice,” Italian-American soprano Maria Natale is the recipient of many awards and grants from some of the most prestigious vocal competitions nationwide including the National James Collier Vocal Competition, the Elizabeth Connell Prize in Sydney, Australia, the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition as well as a grand finalist in the Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition.
Recently, Ms. Natale made debuts at Tulsa Opera as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterflyand at Opera San Jose as Nedda in Pagliacci, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. Other engagements have included Violetta in La Traviata with Opera Maine under conductor Stephen Lord (where Opera News reported that, “her powerful soprano easily filled the house,”) and her Sarasota Opera début portraying the role of Liù in Turandot where she was hailed as having an “unequivocal Italian sound” (New Outpost).
As a concert soloist, Ms. Natale has been featured at Carnegie Hall in Faure’s Requiem andMozart’s Missa Solemnis with MidAmerica Productions. She has also appeared as the soprano soloist with the NYC Master Chorale in Dvorak’s Te Deum and Mozart’s Requiem.
Ms. Natale is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where she performed the role of Lady Macbeth in Ernest Bloch’s only opera Macbeth and was praised by Opera News for her “high voltage vocal thrills” and “merciless stage presence.”
This season’s engagements include the Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and her role debut as the title role in Puccini’s masterpiece, Tosca with Opera San Jose.
American soprano Jacqueline Piccolino has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as having “impeccable technique and stage presence” and as “an artist to watch.” Engagements for the 2022-2023 season include performances with the Berkshire Opera Festival, Chicago Opera Theater, Seattle Opera, and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.
During the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Piccolino made her debut with Hawai’i Opera Theatre in their opening season concert titled Re-Emerging and performed selections from Rusalka and Don Giovanni with the Berkshire Opera Festival. Ms. Piccolino was scheduled to join the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for the 2019-2020 season to sing Erste Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and to cover the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka. Although those plans were ultimately impacted by the pandemic, Ms. Piccolino was able to perform Beethoven’s Christus am Ölberge with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts mere days before the COVID shutdown.
As a participant in the Merola Opera Program for 2012 and 2013, Ms. Piccolino appeared as Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro and Arminda in La finta giardiniera. Honored thereafter as a San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, Ms. Piccolino made her professional debut there in 2013 as Stella in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Over the following two years, she sang the First Lady in The Magic Flute, Lady Madeline in La chute de la maison Usher, Laura in Luisa Miller, 2nd Maid in the world premiere of Dolores Claiborne, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Clotilde in Norma, Mrs. Hayes in Susannah, and covered Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with the company.
Other engagements of note for Ms. Piccolino include the Israelitish Woman in Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus with the North Shore Choral Society in Evanston, Illinois and Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte with Seattle Opera, as well as Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra. Other career highlights include appearances as a Studio Artist with the Wolf Trap Opera Company, a soloist in the Napa Festival del Sole’s Bouchaine Young Artist Concert Series, and a participant in the Houston Grand Opera Young Artist Vocal Academy.
In 2021, Ms. Piccolino was a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as well as First Prize Winner of the Partners for the Arts Inc. Competition. In 2020, she received the Eileen Deneen Award from the American Opera Society of Chicago and was also a Bursary Recipient by the Opera Awards Foundation. She also has earned First Prize from The American Prize in Vocal Performance, the Igor Gorin Memorial Award from the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, and the prestigious Rose M. Grundman Award from the Musicians Club of Women in Chicago. In addition, Ms. Piccolino has received awards from the Sullivan, Shoshana, and George London Foundations, and was a finalist in the 9th International Stanisław Moniuszko Competition.
Canadian soprano Elizabeth Polese has recently been a young artist at l’Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal (2018-20), Tanglewood Music Center, and is currently a Resident Artist at Detroit Opera. She is the winner of the prestigious 2019-20 Sullivan Foundation Gail Robinson Award for Soprano and 2021 Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artist Award for Classical Voice. Engagements for the 2022-23 season include Boris: Sa vie en musique with l‘Orchestre Classique de Montréal and Nuria in Ainadamar with Opéra de Montréal, as well as cover assignments for Detroit Opera as Marguerite in Faust and Margarita in Ainadamar.
During the 2021-22 season, Elizabeth toured the province of Québec with harpist Antoine Malette-Chenier with their programme La Lettre du Jardinier. She also joined Tapestry Opera as Robot [Helena] in RUR: A Torrent of Light, and as Papagena in Barrie Kosky’s Die Zauberflöte with Opéra de Montréal. Elizabeth made her German concert debut at Gewandhaus during BachFest 2022 in a chamber concert including BWV 204 (Ich bin in mir vergnügt) and Webern’s Vier Lieder. Finally, she made her long-awaited return to Tanglewood Music Center, where she sang the role of Isabel in Lessons in Love and Violence (American premiere, conducted by Sir George Benjamin), to great critical acclaim by the New York Times and Boston Globe. In 2020-21, she was scheduled to sing The Governess in The Turn of the Screw with Opera 5, Mozart’s Mass in C with Choral Connection St. Thomas, and Musetta in La Bohème with LAMP, but sadly these engagements were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, she was still able to perform Messiah with l’Orchestre Classique de Montréal at historical Oratoire St-Joseph, which was broadcast worldwide.
Highlights of Elizabeth’s young artist residency at l’Atelier lyirque de l’Opéra de Montréal include Alice B. Toklas in the Canadian premiere of Twenty-Seven, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw (l’Orchestre de l’Agora) Contessa di Ceprano in Rigoletto, and covers of Marzelline in Fidelio (Orchestre Métropolitain), and Agnès in Written on Skin. Other engagements of note include Carmina Burana with Kingston Symphony Orchestra, Exsultate, Jubilate with Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte with Brott Opera, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera York, and Time Cycle (Lukas Foss) and Whitman Settings (Oliver Knussen) with Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.
In 2019, Elizabeth was the winner of the Sullivan Foundation Gail Robinson Award for Soprano, the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Classical Voice in 2021, and has won several competitions for her rendition of Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate (University of Toronto Concerto Competition, Toronto Mozart Competition, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Mozart-Sénécal Prize). A proponent of new music as well, Elizabeth regularly performs works by Golijov, Messiaen, Knussen, Foss, Gordon, Freedman, Cage, Crumb, Benjamin, and Stravinsky, among others.
Ms. Polese is an alumna of many esteemed training institutions internationally, including the Rebanks Family Fellowship of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Highlands Opera Studio, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, the Universität der Künste Berlin, Domaine Forget, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Brott Opera, Opera NUOVA, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, Victoria Conservatory of Music, and Centre d’Arts Orford. Ms. Polese holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Toronto, where she studied under the tutelage of celebrated Canadian soprano, Mary Morrison (OC).
Of Amber Wagner’s last-minute July 2022 Hollywood Bowl debut in Act 3 of Wagner’s DIE WALKÜRE (lead by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic), Opera News reported, “Perhaps the finest vocal moment of the evening was Sieglinde’s outburst of praise for Brünnhilde, sung with spellbinding radiance by Amber Wagner.” Additionally, The New York Times has described her as possessing a “powerful, gleaming and richly expressive voice [which] was ideal for the music” (in their review of Wagner’s DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER at The Metropolitan Opera).
Recent and forthcoming engagements include a rare opportunity for Ms. Wagner to show her considerable comedic talents as Ruth in Cincinnati Opera’s THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE in the summer of 2022, a return to her Wagnerian roots as Brangäne in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE with Seattle Opera in the fall of 2022, and the role of Elisabeth in a concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Music Director Andris Nelsons featuring Act 3 of TANNHÄUSER (winter 2022) and a semi-staged production of TANNHÄUSER with Opera Australia (spring 2023).
2018-2019 season highlights included Giorgetta in Puccini’s IL TABARRO at The Metropolitan Opera, Turandot with Opera Australia, Sieglinde in DIE WALKÜRE with Oper Frankfurt and a Tanglewood concert performance of the same under the baton of Andris Nelsons (which garnered universal praise, including this observation from Operatoday.com: “The most memorable performance came from…Oregonian Amber Wagner. Not since the great Austrian soprano Leonie Rysanek retired the role of Sieglinde thirty-five years ago have I heard anyone approach the character with such a combination of power and emotion…Her command ranges from a girlish yet perfectly focused tone to a massive all-enveloping forte that effortlessly surrounds thousands in a sprawling open-air venue. And, just when one thinks she has reached her limit, she expands the voice further and soars rapturously through musical climaxes.”)
In the 2017-2018 season, Ms. Wagner reprised the role of Sieglinde in Wagner’s DIE WALKÜRE in concert with Sir Andrew Davis at the Edinburgh Festival in summer 2017. Again under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, she returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the title role of TURANDOT, a role she debuted with Vancouver Opera earlier in the season. She also made her debut in the title role of AIDA with Opera Australia and reprised Senta in DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER in Rome with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia with Mikko Franck conducting, as well as in Turin with the National RAI Symphony Orchestra with James Conlon. In addition, she returned to the Oregon Symphony to sing Verdi’s REQUIEM under the baton of Carlos Kalmar. In the 2016-2017 season, Wagner made her Australian debut with Opera Australia as Sieglinde and returned to The Metropolitan Opera as Senta, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin to great critical acclaim. Ms. Wagner also made her New York recital debut with the George London Foundation at the Morgan Library.
Ms. Wagner’s 2015-2016 season included a debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper in the title role of ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, opposite Jonas Kaufmann and conducted by Kirill Petrenko, a role she later reprised in the season for her company debuts with Minnesota Opera and Palm Beach Opera. She also returned to Oper Frankfurt for Senta and Sieglinde. On the concert stage, Ms. Wagner performed Verdi’s REQUIEM with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Asher Fisch, as well as a concert of select Wagner works with the Minnesota Orchestra, also conducted by Asher Fisch. With the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, she performed several Strauss Lieder and Mahler’s SYMPHONY NO. 4, and appeared in recital with mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton under the auspices of the Tucson Desert Song Festival and Arizona Opera.
In the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Wagner returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago for role debuts as Leonora in Verdi’s IL TROVATORE conducted by Asher Fisch, and as Elisabeth in Wagner’s TANNHÄUSER conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Orchestral engagements included Verdi’s REQUIEM, her debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice conducted by Philippe Auguin, and the Houston Symphony conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada; an all-Wagner program with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, Beethoven’s SYMPHONY NO. 9 with the Russian National Orchestra at the Napa Valley Festival del Sole, and Senta in a concert performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival, conducted by James Conlon.
Other operatic engagements of note include her European debut with the Prague State Opera as Brangäne in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE; appearances as Elsa in LOHENGRIN with Lyric Opera of Chicago conducted by Sir Andrew Davis; Elsa and Senta with the Savonlinna Opera Festival; Leonora in LA FORZA DEL DESTINO at Washington National Opera in a new production directed by Francesca Zambello, and her return as Amelia in Verdi’s UN BALLO IN MASCHERA conducted by Fabio Luisi; the title role in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS at Lyric Opera of Chicago and in concert performances at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, both conducted by Mo. Davis, as well as with the Canadian Opera Company, and Sieglinde at Oper Frankfurt conducted by Sebastian Weigle. Symphonic highlights include Verdi’s REQUIEM with the Melbourne Symphony under Sir Andrew Davis, as well as with the Taipei Symphony, Pacific Chorale, Kansas City Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Colorado Symphony, and Grant Park Music Festival; Strauss’ VIER LETZTE LIEDER with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, Spokane Symphony, and Oregon Symphony; a concert of Strauss songs with L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice; Mahler’s SYMPHONY NO. 8 with the Aspen Music Festival conducted by Robert Spano; Sieglinde in Act 1 in concert performances of DIE WALKÜRE with the Colorado Symphony; and Beethoven’s SYMPHONY NO. 9 with the Grant Park Music Festival and Rossini’s STABAT MATER with the Oregon Symphony. Ms. Wagner also participated in The Metropolitan Opera’s summer concert series in Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, and in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Millennium Park concert, where she sang excerpts from CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA.
Amber Wagner is a winner of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Grand Finals, Liederkranz Foundation Competition, and recipient of a Richard Tucker Career Grant Award, Kirsten Flagstad Award from the George London Foundation, and Sullivan Foundation Career Grant. She was also the first place winner of the Palm Beach Opera and Palm Springs Opera Guild Competitions, winner of the Lynne Harvey Scholarship from the Musicians Club of Women, and winner of the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Competition. As part of her participation in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Wagner was also featured in the documentary The Audition. She is a native of California.