Lisa Chavez, Mezzo Soprano, has been described by her “plush storm of a voice” and “graceful stage presence”. Last season ended with her originating the role of Maggie in the World Premiere of Iain Bell’s Stonewall with New York City Opera. “Heading a superb cast was Lisa Chavez as the tough Maggie, flinging out compact mezzo tone like fists.” the Observer. Lisa began last season with a role debut singing the witty Rosina in Sarasota Opera’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. “By far the most impressive singing of the evening came from Lisa Chavez, who enchanted everyone as last season’s Carmen …. Chavez has a lovely voice that could best be described as “mezzo-contralto,” because she certainly has a solid upper register as well as a luscious lower voice. In describing her sound, “honeyed chocolate” is about as close as one can get, and yet she navigates the coloratura with apparent ease. Her Rosina was at once shy, flirtatious and scheming as she sometimes outwitted even Figaro himself.” She then returned to Sarasota for the Winter Festival in another role debut, Fenena, of Verdi’s Nabucco. Chavez also made an anticipated return to Washington Opera Society in another Verdi debut as Amneris in Aida.
This season begins with a company debut with Knoxville Opera in the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. She then will return to Sarasota Opera for Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette and Afra in La Wally. Later in the season, she will make another role and company debut as Frances Countess of Essex in Britten’s Gloriana with Odyssey Opera.
The 17/18 season included many performances of the title role in Carmen which is looking to become a signature role for her. She returned to Sarasota Opera for all 11 sold-out performances of Carmen in their Winter 2018 season. She immediately followed Sarasota with Carmen performances with Opera in Williamsburg as well as with Washington Opera Society in D.C. Past season Carmen productions include performances as a Guest Artist with Opera San Jose, and performances with New York City Opera. She garnered rave reviews including, “Carmen seems tailor-made for her. From her first appearance as the seductive gypsy who prizes freedom above all else, Chavez sounded terrific … Chavez’s performance is something special” and, “Lisa Chavez was born to play Carmen, equipped with the classic Carmen look, vocal power, and attitude.”
In addition to Stonewall, Lisa has been seen in multiple American modern operas. She was recently seen singing the title role in the New York premiere of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne with New York City Opera. This was the opera’s first performance since it’s debut at SFO. Other English language operas performed by Chavez include Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, Secretary in The Consul, and Madame Volanges in Dangerous Liaisons. In November 2008 Ms. Chavez was a finalist in the worldwide Opera Competition with Mezzo TV, and was seen via live telecast performing the role of Elizabeth Proctor in Robert Ward’s The Crucible in over 40 European countries. She was invited to return to the festival in November 2009 to sing the role of Mrs. Bass for the European premiere of Tobias Picker’s dramatic work Emmeline, also televised on Mezzo TV.
Ms. Chavez made her debut with Sarasota Opera in the iconic role of Madame de Croissy of Dialogues of the Carmelites as part of their 2017 Winter season. In June of 2016, she made her Carnegie Hall debut as Alto Soloist in Dan Forrest’s Jubilate Deo. In 2016 Chavez sang the role of Paula in New York City Opera’s production of Florencia en el Amazonas to great acclaim and was the Alto Soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale.
For the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 season she was a principal resident artist with Opera San Jose. While there she debuted 7 new roles. Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri was the crowning jewel to her tenure at OSJ. Georgia Rowe from Opera News wrote, “Lisa Chavez, a resident artist with the company, glided through Isabella’s arias with assurance; her buttery, richly colored mezzo was evenly produced throughout her range, sounding shapely in Act I’s “Cruda sorte!” registering with luxuriant ease and beauty in her Act II invocation of Venus, “Per lui che adoro,” and emerging with bright, forward tone in the ensembles. Chavez is a graceful stage presence, and there was no doubting her character’s intelligence and resourcefulness. “Pensa alla patria” was her most convincing moment.” Other roles sung during her time with Opera San Jose were; Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Harriet Herriton in the professional premiere of Where Angels Fear to Tread, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Meg Page in Falstaff, and Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte.
Other memorable roles have been; Federico García Lorca in Golijov’s Ainadamar, Dorabella in Cosí fan Tutte, and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro.
In 2013 Lisa won First Place and Audience Choice awards in the Irma M. Cooper Vocal Competition with Opera Columbus, and also placed Third in the Irene Dalis Vocal Competition in San Jose. In 2014 she placed 2nd in the Shreveport Singer of the Year Competition and was also a grant recipient from the Giulio Gari Foundation. In 2015 she was a Finalist in the renowned Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. Chavez has also received Encouragement Awards from the Gerda Lissner Foundation in 2009 and 2011.
Lisa is a graduate of the Master’s Degree Program at the Manhattan School of Music and was a founding member of Opera Collective, an independent opera company making Operatic repertoire accessible to all of the New York City metro area. Chavez is a California Bay Area native, born in Oakland, and attended California State University Hayward (East Bay) where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Music.