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 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, as well as participated in Glimmerglass Opera Festival’s digital production of Jungle Book as Raksha.

This season, Ms. Nansteel will return to the Metropolitan Opera as Annina in La Traviata, and will have her house début with the San Francisco Opera in their productions of Eugene Onegin and Dialogues of the Carmelites. Nansteel will also début the role of Amneris in Aida for Opera Grand Rapids, perform Gertrude in Hansel & Gretel for New Orleans Opera, sing Verdi’s Requiem for Orchestra Iowa, and perform the role of Mother Abbess in Suor Angelica for Opera Omaha.

 

Calendar

Event Date
Jun 16
to
Jun 19
Beethoven's Symphony No. 9
Soloist
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Milwaukee, WI
Event Date
Jul 17
to
Jul 17
Rossweisse
Die Walküre
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles, CA
Event Date
Aug 7
Finger Lakes Opera 10th Anniversary Gala
Soloist
Finger Lakes Opera
Rochester, NY
Event Date
Sep 25
to
Oct 15
Eugene Onegin
Larina
San Francisco Opera
San Francisco, CA
Event Date
Oct 15
to
Oct 30
Dialogues des Carmélites
Mere Gerald (Mere Marie)
San Francisco Opera
San Francisco, CA
Event Date
Nov 18
to
Nov 20
Hansel and Gretel
Gertrude
New Orleans Opera
New Orleans, LA
Event Date
Jan 1
to
Jan 28
La traviata
Annina
The Metropolitan Opera
New York, New York
Event Date
Feb 24
to
Feb 26
Suor Angelica
Abess
Opera Omaha
Omaha, NE
Event Date
Mar 12
Verdi's Requiem
Soloist
Orchestra Iowa
Cedar Rapids, IA
Event Date
May 5
to
May 7
Aida
Amneris
Opera Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, MI

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 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, as well as participated in Glimmerglass Opera Festival’s digital production of Jungle Book as Raksha.

This season, Ms. Nansteel will return to the Metropolitan Opera as Annina in La Traviata, and will have her house début with the San Francisco Opera in their productions of Eugene Onegin and Dialogues of the Carmelites. Nansteel will also début the role of Amneris in Aida for Opera Grand Rapids, perform Gertrude in Hansel & Gretel for New Orleans Opera, sing Verdi’s Requiem for Orchestra Iowa, and perform the role of Mother Abbess in Suor Angelica for Opera Omaha.

Last season, Ms. Nansteel returned to The Metropolitan Opera as Alisa in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor and the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Paula in Florencia en el Amazonas. Nansteel performed Azucena in Il Trovatore with Toledo Opera, Sally in Kevin Puts’ new opera The Hours with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and joined Seattle Opera in their production of Blue. In concert, she débuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Rossweisse in Die Walküre under Mo. Dudamel, in addition to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Milwaukee Symphony, Finger Lakes Opera 10th Anniversary Gala, and Hartmann’s Symphony No. 1 with The Orchestra Now at Carnegie Hall and the Fisher Center under Mo. Leon Botstein. In the Spring and Summer of 2021, she performed Azucena in concert performances of Il trovatore with Opera Tampa and returned to Santa Fe Opera as Filippyevna in Eugene Onegin.  

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, as well as 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 July 20, 2022

Audio Samples

Video

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

Excerpt from La fille du regiment with the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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.”

"...rich mezzo tone and touchingly sympathetic..." – Chicago Classical Review

Madama Butterfly – “Deborah Nansteel was a wonderful Suzuki, singing with rich mezzo tone and touchingly sympathetic, reflecting every twist and turn of the plot in her movements and facial expressions.”

"...powerhouse mezzo-soprano..." – Washington Classical Review

Faust – “As Dame Marthe, Deborah Nansteel deployed a powerhouse mezzo-soprano to provide solidity in the Act III quartet, also adding much-needed humor in her amorous pursuit of Méphistophélès.”