Deborah Nansteel

Deborah Nansteel

“A formidable display of vocal power and dramatic assurance,” mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel is posed for international stardom having already performed in almost all of the leading opera companies in the US.  She made her début with The Metropolitan Opera as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, her début with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette, her Carnegie Hall début in Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and her New York Philharmonic début alongside Eric Owens in In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy. She also performed the role of Mother in the World Première of Blind Injustice with Cincinnati Opera which will soon be commercially released on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Fanfare Cincinnati label.

Calendar

Event Date
Apr 23
to
May 21
Lucia di Lammermoor
Alisa
The Metropolitan Opera
New York, New York

Artist Bio

“A formidable display of vocal power and dramatic assurance,” mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel is posed for international stardom having already performed in almost all of the leading opera companies in the US.  She made her début with The Metropolitan Opera as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, her début with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette, her Carnegie Hall début in Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and her New York Philharmonic début alongside Eric Owens in In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy. She also performed the role of Mother in the World Première of Blind Injustice with Cincinnati Opera which will soon be commercially released on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Fanfare Cincinnati label.

2020 and 2021 engagements were to include the Mother in Jeanne Tesori and Tazwell Thompson’s Blue with Minnesota Opera, the role of Miriam in the World Premiere of Tobias Picker’s Awakenings with Opera Theater St. Louis, a role début of Amneris in Aida with Opera Carolina, and a return to the Metropolitan Opera for The Fiery Angel.

This past spring 2021, she performed Azucena in concert performances of Il trovatore with Opera Tampa and returned to Santa Fe Opera as Filippyevna in Eugene Onegin.  Upcoming engagements include the reprisal of Azucena for Toledo Opera, a return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Paula in Florencia en el Amazonas and a return to The Metropolitan Opera as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor.  

Since her début with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, she has returned for Nabucco, Il Trovatore, as Siegrune in Die Walküre and in her final production of 2020, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly.  She originated the role of Lucinda in the world première of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s adaptation of Charles Frazier’s thrilling novel Cold Mountain at Santa Fe Opera.  Other notable engagements include Granma in The Grapes of Wrath with the Michigan Opera Theatre, a reprisal of the role of Lucinda in Cold Mountain with North Carolina Opera, the role of Grace in The Summer King with Michigan Opera Theatre, Second Lady in The Magic Flute with the Pacific Symphony, The Mother in The Consul with Opera Saratoga, Jake Heggie’s The Work at Hand for the Mainly Mozart Festival, Nettie Fowler in Carousel and Elvira Griffiths in An American Tragedy and Mary in Der fliegende Holländer with Glimmerglass Opera Festival and Berta in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program.

Ms. Nansteel completed the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where she performed many roles including Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Curra (cover Preziosilla) in La forza del destino, Paula (cover) in Florencia en el Amazonas, as part of a world-première performance of Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg’s new opera Penny, as well as The Cat in Tony Award winning composer Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me.  As a mainstage artist, Nansteel returned there as Flora in La Traviata, Dame Marthe in Faust, which she also performed at Dayton Opera, as Emilia in Otello, Second Lady in The Magic Flute, and as the Marquise of Birkenfield in La fille du regiment with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, which is featured in the documentary film RBG.  

Sought after for her performances on the concert stage, Ms. Nansteel has performed Händel’s Messiah with the Memphis Symphony and Charleston Symphony; John Harbison’s Mirabai Songs with the Oregon Mozart Players; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Seattle Symphony and Fondazione Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro Sinfonico in Milan under the baton of Maestro Xian Zhang; the role of Brigitta in Bard Music Festival’s Die tote stadt in concert; and various additional concerts including Stravinsky’s Les noces, Penderecki’s Credo, and Händel’s Israel and Egypt.

A house favorite of Seattle Opera, Ms. Nansteel made her main stage début as La suora infermiera in Suor Angelica, sang Juno and Ino in Händel’s Semele, Foreign Woman in The Consul and, as a former member of Seattle Opera’s young artist program, Giulietta in Verdi’s Un giorno di regno and Maddalena in a performance of Rigoletto.

Ms. Nansteel is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where she earned an Artist Diploma in Opera and a Master of Music in Voice. At CCM, she performed the roles of Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Marguerite in Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, Mother Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites, Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia, and Mother Goose in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. She also received Bachelor of Music degrees in both Vocal Performance and Vocal Jazz Studies from East Carolina University and currently studies with Diana Soviero.

Recent awards include Second Place in the Sun Valley Opera competition in Seattle, the Andrew White Award and Seybold/Russel Award in the Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition, and a Winner in the National Orpheus Vocal Competition. She also recently earned the highly-esteemed Betty Allen Award and a grant from the Sullivan Foundation.

Updated August 31, 2021.

Audio Samples

Video

Cold Mountain, Act II: Act II Scene 1: Duet: “Is that all you got?”

Press

"...provides intense focus and sharp characterization..." – Opera News

Cold Mountain – “Deborah Nansteel provides intense focus and sharp characterization as the runaway slave who frees Inman from a chain gang.”

"...a decorous presence and an emotive vibrato...” – The New York Times

In Their Footsteps – “In a Mahler song and the spiritual ‘On Ma Journey Now,’ the mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel had a decorous presence and an emotive vibrato.”

"...a rising singer to watch...” – Washington Classical Review

La fille du régiment – “In her opening aria, Nansteel’s voice had presence and beauty from the bottom range to a steely top, once again proving her to be a rising singer to watch.”

"...a formidable display of vocal power..." – San Francisco Gate

Don Carlo – “…mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel, in a formidable display of vocal power and dramatic assurance as Princess Eboli.”