Renee Rapier

Renee Rapier

American Mezzo-Soprano Renée Rapier with her “dark, velvety mezzo, smoothly controlled, unfailingly eloquent phrasing” (Opera News) and “razor-sharp focus” (Bay Area Reporter) is taking the operatic stage by storm. Renée recently made a series of débuts including her Wagnerian début as Grimgerde in San Francisco Opera’s visionary Ring Cycle, her role début as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Opera Steamboat, and her Mahler début performing Rückert-Lieder with the Peninsula Symphony.

Most recently, Renée performed as Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle, Minkswoman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight with Minnesota Opera, Jezibaba in Rusalka with Steamboat Opera, and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Tulsa Opera. 2020 engagements were to include making her Calgary Opera début as Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos and the title role in Carmen with Festival Opera.  Next, she will perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Jackson Symphony and the tile role in Ariane et Barbe-bleue with West Edge Opera.

Artist Bio

American Mezzo-Soprano Renée Rapier with her “dark, velvety mezzo, smoothly controlled, unfailingly eloquent phrasing” (Opera News) and “razor-sharp focus” (Bay Area Reporter) is taking the operatic stage by storm. Renée recently made a series of débuts including her Wagnerian début as Grimgerde in San Francisco Opera’s visionary Ring Cycle, her role début as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Opera Steamboat, and her Mahler début performing Rückert-Lieder with the Peninsula Symphony.

Most recently, Renée performed as Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle, Minkswoman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight with Minnesota Opera, Jezibaba in Rusalka with Steamboat Opera, and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Tulsa Opera. 2020 engagements were to include making her Calgary Opera début as Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos and the title role in Carmen with Festival Opera.  Next, she will perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Jackson Symphony and the title role in Ariane et Barbe-bleue with West Edge Opera.

Renée was featured in a number of recitals and concerts at the Newport Music Festival including a performance with renowned Mezzo-Soprano Federica won Stade and composer Jake Heggie. She also recently returned to the LA Philharmonic in collaboration with The Industry and MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant winner Yuval Sharon for a new production of John Cage’s Europeras 1&2; made an appearance with Mise-en-scene Studios; performed as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the San Francisco Symphony, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera San Jose and Seattle Opera, Mercédès in Calixto Bieito’s provocative production of Carmen with San Francisco Opera, and a critically-acclaimed début as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera San Jose.

Other notable engagements include a return to LA Opera singing Cherubino in both Le nozze di Figaro and John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, a début at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival as both the Page in Salome and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, an international début as Olga in Eugene Onegin with the Seoul Philharmonic, Cornelia in Giulio Cesare with Wolf Trap Opera, and a début with Opera San Antonio as Mrs. Fox in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.

After receiving degrees in both voice and viola from the University of Northern Iowa, Renée participated in several prominent training programs including Chautauqua Opera and the Merola Opera Program. In 2011, she was chosen to join LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program where she made her professional début as Stephano in Roméo et Juliette under the baton of Plácido Domingo. Soon after, she joined the prestigious Adler Fellowship at the San Francisco Opera where she covered and sang a number of roles including Giovanna in Rigoletto and Meg Page in Falstaff.

Renée has received recognition from several notable competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as a national semi-finalist, first place in the Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition, finalist in the Seoul International Music Competition, a semi-finalist in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia and first place in the Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Young Artist Program Vocal Competition.

Updated 4.29.21

Video

“Ah, fuggi traditor” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni 

“Ah, che mi dice mai” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni 

Press

"...immediately engaged our ears with a plush, ripe tonal beauty..." – Opera Today

Il barbiere di Siviglia – “The radiant mezzo Renée Rapier immediately engaged our ears with a plush, ripe tonal beauty that announced her as a major discovery. In short order, she also captured our hearts with an especially assured Una voce poco fa. Her fresh, spontaneous reading of this thrice-familiar piece immediately established her credentials as a first tier Rosina. Ms. Rapier’s rich lower register was wedded to a solid middle and brilliant top, giving off coloratura sparks as demanded, and coy romantic heat when appropriate.”

"...Ms. Rapier’s plummy mezzo radiated authority..." – Opera Today

Madama Butterfly – “Renée Rapier was also luxury casting as a potent Suzuki. Ms. Rapier’s plummy mezzo radiated authority and her poised singing was a perfect partner for Ms. Harms, the two melding beautifully in their duet.”

"...colors and ornaments were meticulously placed and musically satisfying..." – Mercury News

Il barbiere di Siviglia – “…With the strength of Layna Chianakas’ direction and the resplendent singing and acting of mezzo-soprano Renée Rapier, we were astounded by the quality of this production. …Rapier’s seamless portrayal of Rosina’s ambiguous qualities was buttressed by a unified, blistering vocal technique that students can appreciate. From “Una voce poco fa”, colors and ornaments were meticulously placed and musically satisfying. Her ravishing tone in “Contro un cor che accende amor”, traveled the ends of the hall, even throughout, and her duet with Myer, “Dunque io son”, was nothing short of resplendent.”

"... she summoned such a proud, noble presence..." – Opera News

Giulio Cesare – “Renée Rapier brought to the role of Cornelia a dark, velvety mezzo and smoothly controlled, unfailingly eloquent phrasing to match. She summoned such a proud, noble presence that it was all the more unfortunate that Rader-Shieber called on this Cornelia to attempt suicide by means of assorted gardening tools.”

"...captures perfectly the conflicted emotional states of her character, one moment driven by passionate affection, the next a floundering adolescent...” – Los Angeles Daily News

Le nozze di Figaro – “Renée Rapier makes a charmingly believable young Cherubino, the boy in love with love. Rapier captures perfectly the conflicted emotional states of her character, one moment driven by passionate affection, the next a floundering adolescent.”