Kirstin Chávez

Kirstin Chávez

Kirstin Chávez is considered one of the most riveting and significant performing mezzo-sopranos today. The combination of her magnificent voice, expansive range, dramatic intensity of her acting, and natural physical beauty make her an arresting and unique presence on the operatic stage. Ms. Chávez captures attention and acclaim and is recognized as one of the definitive interpreters of Carmen of our generation. She has performed Bizet’s iconic heroine with great success throughout the world with leading opera companies and symphonies including New National Theatre Foundation in Tokyo, Staatsoper Hannover, Opera Australia, China National Center for the Performing Arts, Central City Opera, Arizona Opera, Columbus Symphony, Opera Queensland, Welsh National Opera, Opera San Antonio, and the Kaohsiung Spring Arts Festival, Orlando Philharmonic, and Oper Graz, when Opera News reported that her Carmen was “the Carmen of a lifetime. With her dark, generous mezzo, earthy eroticism, volcanic spontaneity and smoldering charisma, Chávez has it all, including a superb command of French and a sense of humor.” 

 

Calendar

Event Date
Feb 25
to
Feb 28
Verdi's Requiem
Soloist
Pensacola Symphony
Pensacola, FL
Event Date
May 13
to
May 21
We Shall Not Be Moved
Glenda
Pittsburgh Opera
Pittsburgh, PA

Artist Bio

Kirstin Chávez is considered one of the most riveting and significant performing mezzo-sopranos today. The combination of her magnificent voice, expansive range, dramatic intensity of her acting, and natural physical beauty make her an arresting and unique presence on the operatic stage. Ms. Chávez captures attention and acclaim and is recognized as one of the definitive interpreters of Carmen of our generation. She has performed Bizet’s iconic heroine with great success throughout the world with leading opera companies and symphonies including New National Theatre Foundation in Tokyo, Staatsoper Hannover, Opera Australia, China National Center for the Performing Arts, Central City Opera, Arizona Opera, Columbus Symphony, Opera Queensland, Welsh National Opera, Opera San Antonio, and the Kaohsiung Spring Arts Festival, Orlando Philharmonic, and Oper Graz, when Opera News reported that her Carmen was “the Carmen of a lifetime. With her dark, generous mezzo, earthy eroticism, volcanic spontaneity and smoldering charisma, Chávez has it all, including a superb command of French and a sense of humor.” 

Last season, Ms. Chávez created the role of Carlotta de Obragon in the world premiere of Hector Armienta’s Zorro for Fort Worth Opera and sang the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly for Dallas Opera.  On the concert stage, Kirstin performed as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Paducah Symphony, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Virginia Symphony, and brought her signature role of Carmen to the Helena Symphony. This season, Chávez will reprise the role of Glenda in Roumain Bernard’s We Shall Not Be Moved with Pittsburgh Opera and will perform Verdi’s Requiem for Pensacola Symphony. 

Engagements in 2020 were to include returns to The Metropolitan Opera for Les contes d’Hoffman and Carmen, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Utah Symphony and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, and Verdi’s Requiem with the Pensacola Symphony and University of Southern Mississippi. In recent seasons, Ms. Chávez returned to The Metropolitan Opera for productions of Carmen and La traviata, as Flora; performed Carmen in The Tragedie de Carmen with Utah Opera; performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Manuel de Falla “Sombrero de Tres Picos” for the Utah Symphony; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Salt Lake Symphony and Savannah Philharmonic; Kodaly’s Te Deum with Oregon Music Festival; Brahms’ Two Songs for Voice, Viola, and Piano with Pacific Symphony; launched a London tour of her own one-woman tour de force: CARMEN INSIDE OUT; sang the role of Ultima in the world premiere of Bless Me, Ultima, a famous Chicano novel by Rudolfo Anaya, turned by composer Hector Armienta, into an opera with Opera Southwest; Mozart’s Requiem with Salt Lake Symphony; and performed the role of Glenda in We Shall Not Be Moved, world premiering at Opera Philadelphia with subsequent performances at the Apollo Theatre in New York, the Hackney Empire in London and the Dutch National Opera.

Ms. Chávez continues to collect accolades for her fiery portrayals through Europe and Australia. Notable recent engagements have brought her to Australia as her signature role in Carmen at Opera Queensland and to Italy for The Rape of Lucretia at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.  She also made her début with The Royal Opera House-Covent Garden in London with the role of Marquise de Merteuil in the contemporary opera Quartett by Luca Francesconi, which she later reprised at Opera Malmö in Sweden. Recent U.S. engagements include Paula in Florencia en el Amazonas at Nashville Opera, Amneris in Aïda with Opera Southwest and Baltimore Concert Opera, and a concert with New York City Opera at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Ms. Chávez demonstrates her versatility in her portrayals of opera’s favorite pants roles including Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo at The Metropolitan Opera, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at Florentine Opera, and Hänsel in Hänsel and Gretel at Atlanta Opera. Chávez has earned praise for her performances in modern American operas, as well, from engagements such as Jo in Adamo’s Little Women at Opera Pacific, Thérèse in Tobias Picker’s Thérèse Raquin at San Diego Opera, and Sondra Finchley in Picker’s An American Tragedy in her Metropolitan Opera principal début in 2005. She recently added two more modern roles to the list: Sister Helen Prejean in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Tulsa Opera, where the Tulsa World reviewer referred to her performance as “searing and incandescent,” and Sharon Falconer in Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, of which the Tulsa World reviewer spoke to the “otherworldy quality to her singing; a mix of the earthy and the ethereal.”

Chávez has also earned a reputation for bringing her dynamic performances to concert and recital stages. Recently, she appeared on a duo recital of music by Bach, Schubert, and others with organist Marc Baumann at Himmerod Abbey and then at St. Martin’s Cathedral in Germany. She also appeared as a soloist in “Bizet to Broadway” with Ocean City Pops, on a gala concert with Long Bay Symphony Orchestra; performed Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Florence Symphony; multiple concerts with Carolina Master Chorale; Bach’s B-minor Mass, Händel’s Messiah, and Orfeo with New Mexico State University; El Amor Brujo with the Orquesta Filarmónica Sonora in Mexico; and Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Musica Sacra di Monreale, among numerous others. After a series of successful recitals of Spanish art songs with pianist Paolo André Gualdi and guitarist Sara Gianfelici, Ms. Chávez released the album Pasión, which features the trio in a diverse sampling of Spanish song repertoire for mezzo-soprano, piano, and guitar.

Chávez earned a Bachelor of Music degree, with honors, from New Mexico State University, and a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance and Performance Certificate from the Eastman School of Music.  After beginning an Artistic Residency with the Orlando Opera, Ms. Chávez won several major international competitions, including The Sullivan Foundation, The George London Foundation, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, the Opera Index Foundation, The Gerda Lissner Foundation, the Jensen Foundation, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (National Finalist).

Updated August 28, 2022

Video

Excerpt from Francesconi’s Quartett

Excerpt from Francesconi’s Quartett

Press

"...the Carmen of a lifetime..." – Opera News

Carmen – “American mezzo Kirstin Chávez is the Carmen of a lifetime. With her dark, generous mezzo, earthy eroticism, volcanic spontaneity and smoldering charisma, Chávez has it all, icluding a superb command of French and a sense of humor. And she can dance, too. ….Furlan’s and Chávez’s performances went beyond opera, beyond, musci, to that rare place where theater and truth meet.”

“...vocally, we’re in the presence of greatness..." – The Reviews Hub

A World of Love – “Vocally, we’re in the presence of greatness. Powerful, crystalline on the higher notes, perfectly articulated passages of complex notation and ornamentation that could easily get lost”

"...stunningly brilliant performances..." – Bartlesville Examiner

Dead Man Walking – "I think the resounding success of the Tulsa performances speaks volumes for the unique talents and riveting, yet deeply sensitive, portrayals of… Met Opera vet Kirstin Chávez, a native of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as Sister Helen Prejean, De Rocher’s sole confidant and spiritual advisor on death row. [Chávez delivers] stunningly brilliant performances in character portrayals that poignantly carry messages for all to contemplate and reflect upon — if not to be haunted by.”

"...simply marvelous..." – La Jolla Village News

Thérèse Raquin – “A real find, Kirstin Chavez, is simply marvelous as Therese. Her high pianissimos, seeming to come from the soul of the singer, make one gasp. Her mid to low range is luscious and she is a most effective and attractive actress.”

"...mesmerized the audience..." – Winnipeg Free Press

Carmen – And then there was Carmen. From the moment mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chavez stepped barefoot onto the stage, all eyes were upon her. In L’amour est un oiseau rebelle, she exuded undeniable sensuality (and cleavage). Her voice oozed effortlessly out of her, throaty and exotic. Moving like a cat languishing in the sun, she oiled her way through throngs of admirers, flashing her white teeth and doing suggestive things with her cigarette. Chavez doesn’t just play Carmen — she is Carmen. Wrapping her legs around various male cast members, she mesmerized the audience who sat silently still, lest they miss one movement, one note of her sizzling sexuality. Who could resist her tantalizing Habanera? Her acting and body language was as evocative as her voice, as she sat in “unladylike” positions, laughed coarsely and rolled her eyes at Don José’s pleas.”