Cuban-American soprano Elaine Alvarez burst onto the international opera scene in 2007, making a break-out company debut with her soulful portrayal of Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and directed by Renata Scotto, critics were unanimous with praise.
Characterized by a distinct ‘buffed bronze soprano’ (Opera News), Alvarez has blossomed into a true spinto d’agilitá, delivering performances rich with ‘melting, voluminous sound’ (Frankfurt Allgemeine), ‘spectacular agility’ (Opera World Magazine), and ‘a profoundly genuine sentimentality’ (Miami Herald).
Recent engagements have featured Alvarez in numerous role and house debuts of iconic leading ladies including Tosca on tour with Choregies d’Orange, Kat’a Kabanova with Boston Lyric Opera, a return to Mimi for Opera National de Bordeaux, major Verdi debuts as Elvira in Ernani and Hélène in the rarely produced Jerusalem for Opera Royal de Wallonie, and a much anticipated role and house debut for San Diego Opera as Florencia en el Amazonas.
The 2018 – 2019 season will include a return to the Metropolitan Opera for La Bohème as well as a house debut as Mimi for Finger Lakes Opera; a house debut as Tosca for Opera de Oviedo, and a return to Opera Royal de Wallonie in back to back debuts of Verdi’s doomed princess Aida and Donizetti’s infamous Tudor Queen, Anna Bolena, marking her first appearance in this bel canto masterpiece. Ms. Alvarez then joins the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for concert performances of Aida, under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti.
Ms. Alvarez will also join fellow distinguished Manhattan School of Music alumni for Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 in a Centennial Celebration Concert marking the 100th Anniversary of the famed New York City conservatory. Additionally, she will serve as Artist in Residence at The Manchester Music Festival, presenting masterclasses, career talks, and featured performances.
Alvarez made her professional debut in 2006 as Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for Oper Leipzig. She then returned to the company for the following two seasons as a member of their Resident Ensemble, debuting repertoire that would go on to become signature roles for the young soprano, including first performances of Mimi, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and a triumphant turn as Magda di Civry in a new production of La Rondine.
Since then, Alvarez has gone on to perform at some of the world’s leading opera houses including Oper Frankfurt, with celebrated performances of La Rondine alongside Joseph Calleja, and Mimi in the company revival of La Bohème; a return to Mimi for Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Virginia Opera, and Arizona Opera; Micaela in Carmen for Florida Grand Opera as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicago; the title role in Catan’s La Hija de Rappaccini for Gotham Chamber Opera; Contessa Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Cleveland; another turn as Magda in La Rondine for Lithuania’s Pazaislis Music Festival; a new production of La Traviata for Theater St Gallen in Switzerland; La Comtesse de Breville in the world premiere of Stephen Hartke’s The Greater Good for Glimmerglass Opera, commercially released by Naxos Records; and a Bayerische Staatsoper debut as Violetta alongside Jonas Kaufmann and Simon Keenlyside. Ms. Alvarez also joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera understudying the roles of Mimi (2016-2017) and Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (2017-2018).
On the concert platform, Ms. Alvarez made her New York recital debut in 2007 as a Grand Prize Winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition. She then appeared as a featured performer for the Horne Foundation’s Annual Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall in 2010, alongside longtime mentor Warren Jones. Other notable concert credits include Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Gewandhaus Orchestra; a debut recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for The Vocal Arts Society; featured guest artist with the New World Symphony; Soprano Soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Vaughan-Williams’ Serenade to Music with the Traverse City Symphony; and a tour of Rossini’s Stabat Mater for the Ravenna Festival with the Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti.
Already in her career, Ms. Alvarez has enjoyed the privilege of collaborating with some of the most distinguished conductors and stage directors working in opera today including Maestros Paolo Arrivabeni, Speranza Scappucci, Paul Daniel, Alain Altinoglu, Daniel Oren, Axel Kober, Dean Williamson, Maurizio Barbacini, Joel Revzen, Marc Soustrot, Adam Turner, Keri-Lynn Wilson, Neal Goren, David Angus, Joseph Mechavic, and Luciano Acocella; and Directors Jonathan Miller, Jean-Louis Grinda, Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera, Peter Konwitschny, Renaud Doucet, Rebecca Taichman, Tim Albery, Nadine Duffaut, Peter Kazaras, Chas Rader-Shieber, Candace Evans, Sam Helfrich, and Frank Corsaro, among others.
Born in Miami, Florida, Ms. Alvarez began her musical studies as a child with her mother Yasmin, a distinguished classical music professor trained in her native Cuba. It was in those early years that Alvarez’s love of classical music would be nurtured and encouraged by her family and the wonderful teachers and mentors who came into her life, most especially Geraldine Suarez-Novak and the late Cuban tenor, Cesar-Antonio Suarez. Alvarez is a graduate of the prestigious New World School of the Arts and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Manhattan School of Music, studying with Joan Patenaude-Yarnell and Warren Jones. Further study continued at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy, studying most notably with Marilyn Horne and Renata Scotto. Ms. Alvarez currently studies with Manuel Perez and Anthony Manoli and resides in New York City with her Yorkshire Terrier, Lola the Wonder Pooch.