Mary Elizabeth Williams, soprano


Mary Elizabeth Williams is receiving critical acclaim in signature lyrico-spinto soprano roles. Of her Spring 2009 performance as the title role in Tosca, the Washington Post said, “it [Vissi d'arte] was utterly moving here: full-voiced, nuanced and culminating in a dusky, held high note followed by a long break as the character struggled with her tears before choking out (in fine voice, of course), "Why, Lord, do you repay me like this?" It brought Williams's performance up to a new level, and she sailed through the rest of the evening with authority, establishing herself as someone worth keeping an eye, or ear, on in the future.”  Ms. Williams joins the Virginia Opera, Arizona Opera, and the French festival Opéra en Plein Air in the title role of Aida during the 2011 - 12 season.  Future engagements include leading roles with Theatre St. Gallen, Vlaamse Oper, Theater Basel, Welsh National Opera and the Seattle Opera, among others.

During the 2010-11 season Ms. Williams joined Oldenburgisches Staatstheater in Germany as the title role in Aida and the New Orleans Opera as Leonora in Il Trovatore where Opera News wrote “Mary Elizabeth Williams, as Leonora, could be the next great Verdi soprano. The elegant phrasing; the sumptuous tone; the commitment to bringing this doomed character to life were all there. In the last act, her rendition of "D'amor sull'ali rosee" brought to mind the best of her great predecessors in the role.”  With the Seattle Opera she sang Serena in Porgy and Bess where the Seattle Weekly enthused “The shattering rawness Mary Elizabeth Williams brings to the funeral lament "My Man's Gone Now" is like nothing else I've seen in McCaw Hall, and she trumps it later in a prayer scene, a soaring gospel aria that nearly converted me.” In addition, she joined the Milwaukee Bel Canto Chorus for performances of Vaughn Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem

During the 2009 - 2010 season the soprano made two house debuts, as Leonora in Il Trovatore with Seattle Opera, and as the title role in Tosca with the New Orleans Opera.  The Seattle Times  wrote that Leonora, “sung with impressive volume by Mary Elizabeth Williams, was a female force to be reckoned with.”  In addition, she returned to the Atlanta Opera as the title role in Aida, and to Michigan Opera Theatre as the title role in Tosca where the Detroit Free Press reported that “she sang with a rich and creamy voice, a sure sense of the lyric line and exquisitely judged dynamics.”  Concert engagements included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra. 

Engagements during the 2008-2009 season included her Spoleto Festival U.S.A. debut as Goddess of the Waters in Amistad, her Michigan Opera Theatre debut as Cilla in Margaret Garner, her Indianapolis Opera debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore, and her Arizona Opera debut as Tosca.

Ms. Williams made her Kentucky Opera debut in the 2007-2008 season in Il Trovatore. Opera News said, “Verdi sopranos are in no danger of extinction if Mary Elizabeth Williams continues to progress. She is a major discovery, with a voice of luxurious, warm beauty and sensitive musicianship, outlining phrases with delicacy. Her touching interpretation made Leonora into a real human being with a character that seemed to grow out of the music.”

Recent noted engagements include Serena in Porgy and Bess with the Atlanta Opera, Leonora cover in Il Trovatore at the Opéra Bastille, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro in a production that toured France and Belgium, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni as a member of the young artist program at Seattle Opera, and Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro at the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Israel.

As a member of the prestigious Centre de Formation Lyrique at the Opera National de Paris, Ms. Williams was invited to sing on a Radio France broadcast during an interview and retrospective on the renowned pianist, Dalton Baldwin. She also performed with Thomas Hampson in concert at the Théâtre du Châtelet, and won the Lyric Artist prize given every year by the Bastille’s Cercle Carpeaux. She was a winner of the Concours Clermont-Ferrand and a finalist in the Concours Reine Elisabeth, and a recipient of a Solti Foundation career grant. Subsequently, she sang recitals and concerts in France and Belgium, as well as staged versions of Lucy in The Telephone, Susanna in Wolf-Ferrari’s Il Segreto di Susanna and Anna in Puccini’s Le Villi in France.

The Philadelphia native has been a Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is a graduate of Iowa’s Luther College, where she sang her first operatic role, the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica.

Die junge amerikanische Sopranistin Mary Elizabeth Williams stammt aus Philadelphia. Ihre Gesangsausbildung absolvierte sie am Luther College in Iowa, wo sie auch in ihrer ersten Opernrolle zu erleben war, und zwar in der Titelpartie von Puccinis Suor Angelica.

Nach ihrer Ausbildung war Mary Elizabeth Williams Mitglied des renommierten Centre de Formation Lyrique an der Opéra National de Paris. In Frankreich konnte die Sopranistin weitere Bühnenerfahrungen sammeln, so unter anderem als Susanna in Wolf-Ferraris Il segreto di Susanna und als Anna in Puccinis Frühwerk Le Villi. Ferner war sie bei zahlreichen Konzerten und Liederabenden in Belgien und Frankreich zu hören und trat dabei auch zusammen mit Thomas Hampson bei einem Konzert im Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris auf.

Mary Elizabeth Williams ist Preisträgerin zahlreicher bedeutender Gesangswettbewerbe. Sie gewann u. a. den Lyric Artist Prize des Bastille Cercle Carpeaux und den Concours Clermont-Ferrand. Außerdem erhielt sie ein Stipendium der Solti Foundation.

In den USA gehört Mary Elizabeth Williams inzwischen zu den gefragten Sängerinnen ihres Fachs. In den vergangenen Spielzeiten feierte sie u. a. große persönliche Erfolge als Leonora in Il trovatore an der Seattle Opera, Kentucky Opera und der Indianapolis Opera, als Tosca in Arizona, New Orleans, Virginia und am Michigan Opera Theatre sowie als Aida an der Atlanta Opera. Darüber hinaus war sie beim Spoleto Festival die Goddess of the Waters in Anthony Davis Oper Amistad.

In der Spielzeit 2010/11 gab die Sopranistin ihr gefeiertes Deutschland-Debüt als Aida am Oldenburgischen Staatstheater. Mit dieser Partie gastierte sie zudem an der Virginia Opera und war darüber hinaus im Sommer 2011 als Serena in Porgy and Bess an der Seattle Opera zu hören.

Zu den zukünftigen Engagements von Mary Elizabeth Williams gehören unter anderem im Frühjahr 2012 die Tosca an der Opera Lyra Ottawa und ihr erstes Verdi-Requiem in New York sowie die Titelpartie in Guy Joostens Neuinszenierung von La Wally am Theater St. Gallen in der Spielzeit 2012/13. Außerdem wird sie bei den St. Galler Festspielen 2013 als Odabella in Verdis Attila zu erleben sein.