Elise Quagliata
(She/Her) Grammy nominated mezzo-soprano, ELISE QUAGLIATA, has forged a dynamic career over the past twenty years, sought after for the beauty of her voice, her dramatic range and the charismatic hold she has on audiences everywhere. Well-known for shaping roles in new and contemporary opera, she has also been acclaimed for her performance of traditional works.  
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Encompass Arts, New York, NY
Kathy Olsen

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Elise Quagliata

Grammy nominated mezzo-soprano, Elise Quagliata, has forged a dynamic career over the past twenty years, sought after for the beauty of her voice, her dramatic range and the charismatic hold she has on audiences everywhere. Well-known for shaping roles in new and contemporary opera, she has also been acclaimed for her performance of traditional works. The artist's previous seasons featured over 70 performances of Carmen for New York City Opera on tour in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East; on her return, she sang the role for summer audiences at New York City's Bryant Park. In the 2021 season, her performance of Carmen with Pensacola Opera was one of the first operas to be seen in the country as the pandemic lockdown began to lift. The artist's Carmen has been widely praised, “Quagliata’s dusky mezzo, dramatic acumen and pulchritude commanded attention” (Opera News) and she has performed the role in houses all over the country. Performances of new works, recent and upcoming, include an ensemble recording of Luna Pearl Woolf's album Fire and Flood, which earned a 2021 Grammy nomination.  

In July of 2022, Ms. Quagliata premiered the leading role of Ginny in Kristin Kuster's A Thousand Acres. Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Jane Smiley, with a libretto by Mark Campbell, the work was commissioned by Des Moines Metro Opera to mark their fiftieth anniversary. Opera News remarked, “Mezzo Elise Quagliata, an extraordinary singing actor, enjoyed a tour-de-force as Larry’s eldest daughter, Ginny. Quagliata’s voice was in resplendent form, and her keenly nuanced dramatic portrayal would match that of any performer in the spoken theater.”

She also recently premiered Paolo Prestini and Mark Campbell's Edward Tulane, singing Pellegrina and the Older Doll, with Minnesota Opera.  Recent performances of contemporary opera have included her role as Hannah After in Laura Kaminsky's As One, which she has performed, among others, in Des Moines, Pensacola and Orlando. She has sung the Minkswoman with John Holiday and an all-star cast in Jonathan Dove's Flight for Des Moines Metro Opera and Utah Opera. She originated the role of Joan Clarke in Justine Chen's The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing with Chicago Opera Theater and American Lyric Theater. A favorite with Des Moines audiences for the past 15 years, she was featured in 2020 in the Jean Cocteau-Francis Poulenc solo opera, La Voix Humaine.  In 2017, she took the stage there as Maria in Maria de Buenos Aires, Astor Piazzolla's tango tour-de-force. Opera Today noted that she “showed off her poised tone to perfection in a wide range of demanding emotional states. Dramatically and musically, she does not so much perform the part as inhabit it. A remarkable star turn.”  

As a proponent of the art of Jake Heggie, Ms. Quagliata sang Zosia in the composer's 2018 chamber opera, Out of Darkness: Two Remain with Atlanta Opera.  In Heggie's famed Dead Man Walking, she has embraced the demanding role of Sister Helen in six productions. Opera News found her interpretation of the character "passionate" and sung with "exceptional technical finesse," and The St. Louis Dispatch praised her "dark, expressive voice" and "throat-grabbing intensity" in the confession scene. The artist's interpretation of Mr. Heggie's songs have also commanded attention.  The New York Times noted her "rich, expressive voice and passionate delivery" of the song cycle on Sister Helen's prayers, The Deepest Desire, performed in New York and Los Angeles with the flutist Carol Wincenc with the composer at the piano.  She worked again with Mr. Heggie as pianist on his subsequent cycle, The Breaking Waves, as part of a special concert of the composer's works for Opera America.  

In other performances of new works, Ms. Quagliata was featured in the role of Hedda Hopper in Stewart Wallace's Hopper's Wife, which opened New York City Opera's 2016 season. The New York Times remarked that she “rightly stole the show, her vocally and physically nuanced portrayal vividly conveying the evolution of the character." She has also been heard as Sister James in Douglas Cuomo's Doubt, and appeared as Jo in Mark Adamo's Little Women, her performance described as a "vocal tour de force of amazing power, beauty, and dexterity" (Pensacola Journal).  The artist has also made memorable appearances as Mrs. Lovett and Countess Charlotte Malcolm in two Stephen Sondheim classics, Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music. In the latter, Opera News found her "deliciously caustic." In traditional roles, Ms. Quagliata has sung Fricka in Jonathan Dove's reworking of Wagner's Das Rheingold and Die Walküre for Union Avenue Opera; Emilia in Verdi's Otello with Austin Opera and Jacksonville Symphony; Cornelia in Handel's Guilio Cesare with Florida Grand Opera; and Suzuki in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. With Des Moines Metro Opera, the artist has sung Olga in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and The Muse/Nicklausse in Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann.  

Ms. Quagliata's credits as a solo orchestral artist include much of the standard repertoire with an impressive number of orchestras, including Brazil's Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, while her recitals in a variety of American and European venues include much that is new, unique or unknown. With programs ranging from early music to jazz and cabaret, she has specialized in American, French, Czech and Spanish repertoire, and was chosen to sing DeFalla and Obradors for the King and Queen of Spain on their visit to Pensacola. In addition, the artist's versatility has been noted in the "glorious grace" which has characterized her interpretation of standards from Cole Porter to Kurt Weill. 

Des Moines Metro Opera Utah Opera Kentucky Opera Minnesota Opera  Pensacola Opera  #nyco #floridagrandopera #theatlantaopera #austinopera #chattanoogaoperaandsymphony #pacificsymphony #jacksonvillesymphony 




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Elise Quagliata

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