Elaine Alvarez is one of the rising star of today’s opera world, acclaimed for her portraits of Puccini and Early Verdi heroines. In these past weeks she debuted the role of Aida at Royal Opera de Wallonie in Liège, where she will sing next month her first belcanto role, Anna Bolena. In occasion of these two important role debuts we had the great pleasure to interview Elaine about her career and her upcoming projects.

How did you fall in love with Opera?

My mother is a music teacher. When I was born, she was getting her Master’s Degree and had classical music playing constantly. She noticed early on that I seemed to love it, so she started teaching me music. When I was 6, she began taking me to the opera in Miami. Every opera, every season. I was 14 when I saw La Bohème for the first time and I cried. I was too young to really understand the profound emotions this show communicated, yet somehow I felt them, and after that, I knew I wanted to be an opera singer. I wanted that great honor of conveying those profound emotions to audiences for the rest of my life.

Read the full interview with Ieri, Oggi, Domani, Opera! by clicking on this link.

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Title Role in Verdi’s Aïda at the
Opéra Royal de Wallonie

Aida © Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège.jpg

Par bonheur, le reste de la distribution s’avère d’un excellent niveau, et tente avec beaucoup de vaillance de recréer les fastes du grand-opéra verdien, à commencer par la frémissante Elaine Alvarez dans le rôle-titre, qui nous avait déjà enchantés in loco dans Ernani en 2015, puis dans Jérusalem (du même Verdi) en 2017. Si la largeur de la voix nous oblige à faire le deuil des sons filés de l’Air du Nil, on ne peut qu’admirer la façon dont la soprano cubano-américaine franchit tous les obstacles de la tessiture de soprano spinto qu’appelle cette partie (et qu’elle est !), arborant par ailleurs un registre grave nourri et des médiums charnus : sans jamais forcer ses moyens, elle dessine une Aïda passionnée et émeut profondément dans son grand air du III, ainsi que dans ses adieux à la vie. - Emmanuel Andrieu, Opéra Online

L’interprétation très exigeante de la partition acrobatique d’Aïda a été mise en vedette par Elaine Alvarez, pleinement engagée, qui a incarné les complexités théâtrales du personnage principal avec un équilibre dramatique et un lyrisme époustouflants. Elle s’est révélée être une experte passionnée de la dualité, de la lumière et de l’ombre, semant partout su le plateau les incessantes contradictions des sentiments amoureux auxquels elle était confrontée.
— Deashelle, Ôlyrix

Title Role in Catán’s
Florencia en el Amazonas at
San Diego Opera

"[San Diego Opera] employed a superb, engaged cast with the radiant Elaine Alvarez in the title role...with death surrounding the ship, Alvarez’s Florencia sings herself into some otherworldly sphere just before the curtain closes. It was magic, and a moment worth waiting for." - James Chute, Opera News Magazine

Soprano Elaine Alvarez is stunning in her role debut as Florencia, a world-famous but heartbroken opera singer returning to the wilds of her native Brazil to find her lost love. Her rich, supple voice glides and soars effortlessly through the florid, note-rich score and she acts the role with a sensitivity and emotional conviction normally seen only in veterans of a role.
— Pam Kragen, The San Diego Union Tribune

"The music making was superlative, starting with the vocals. In the title role, Elaine Alvarez made a stunning impression. Her pliable spinto soprano easily encompassed every demand of three wide-ranging arias. The rich, pulsing tone was absolutely even throughout the wide-ranging part, and her alluring vocal presence anchored the performance with a poised, polished musical presence. Ms. Alvarez made us abundantly aware of why the public was in awe of her towering talents." - James Sohre, Opera Today

"Alvarez’s soprano is rich, full and supple, with stratospheric top-notes. She soars throughout, but especially at the end, when she makes a most magical transformation." - Pat Launer, Times of San Diego

"Ms. Alvarez (in the title role), has three arias, the first of which is the longest and most difficult introductory aria in memory. In other words, "nice to meet you, Florencia…and…wow." Her final aria closes the show. Although the composer hasn't left any room for applause throughout the opera, the audience could not contain itself after Florencia's final note. The orchestra finished the show under a hail of "bravas" (one from this reviewer)." - Loren Lester, Schmopera

“As opera singer Florencia Grimaldi, soprano Elaine Alvarez seemed perfectly suited, her rich, vivid voice was very convincing.” - The Opera Tattler

Hélène in Verdi's Jerusalem at Opera Royal de Wallonie

"Thanks to her tessitura and power, the Cuban American soprano Elaine Alvarez convincingly renders the strong character of Hélène, a role likely difficult to cast perfectly, and her virtuosity allows her to confront her cabaletta’s without difficulty." - Sebastien Foucart,

[Roberto Scandiuzzi’s] power is impressive, almost as much as that of Elaine Alvarez: we can reproach a certain instability in the voice at full throttle of the Cuban-American soprano, but what breath, what generosity, and what suppleness of timber.
— Nicolas Blanmont, La Libre

"The cast was dominated by the soprano Elaine Alvarez, whom we had already admired here in Liege in Ernani. Admittedly, the diction leaves something to be desired, but what strength in her [Act I aria] ‘Ave Maria’, what power in her [Act II] aria ‘Quelle ivresse, bonheur supreme’, what temperament, above all!" - Bruno Peeters, Crescendo Magazine

"As the object of Gaston and Roger’s love, Hélène, Elaine Alvarez was more irregular vocally, but had the ideal size of voice and agility for the role. Her soprano was at its best in technically difficult moments of the part, and at its weakest in simpler passages, in which her voice sounded more opaque." - Stephen J. Mudge, Opera News Magazine

"A soprano drammatica d’agilita we then have in Elaine Alvarez as Hélène, who faces the difficult role with the courage of a lioness. Although there is some occasional pressing in the highest notes, she has rendered Verdian agility in the French style with the proper voice and spirit." - Natalia Di Bartolo,

"Despite a vibrato and metallic quality a little too pronounced at the start of the performance, the Cuban-American soprano Elaine Alvarez, already heard last season in Ernani, prevails progressively in the role of Hélène through to the very end of the performance, both on the strictly vocal level as well as in her expressive intensity: she offers a brilliant execution of the polonaise ‘Il respire! O transport!’ before arguing, in the great scene of the third act, ‘Que m’importe ma vie’, with beautiful piano coloring, even in the extreme high notes." - Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online

Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème at Virginia Opera

"Elaine Alvarez, however, takes the show away as Mimi, the dying seamstress. Alvarez, a young singer making her Virginia Opera debut, has already made a name for herself singing this role, as others. She brings to the part a tender voice that is expressive and vulnerable yet bright. From her first aria: 'Si mi chiamano Mimi', to her sorrowful departure in the last act, Alvarez's role is one of sincere beauty, her performance lovely." - Sam Hall, DC Metro Arts

Soprano Elaine Alvarez was radiant as the consumptive seamstress Mimi. With long, silvery phrases and crystalline high notes, she enchanted her lover, the poet Rodolfo in Act I. Her dark, poignant tones as she struggled against death in Act IV were heartbreaking.
— B.J. Atkinson, The Virginia Pilot

"As Mimi, Elaine Alvarez revealed an ample, rather plush soprano. If her dynamic range didn't vary a great deal, the warmth in her singing counted for a lot, as did her impressive legato phrasing, notably in 'Donde lieta usci'. And there was a remarkable gleam in her spot-on off-stage top note at the close of Act I. Her spaciously paced 'Si mi chiamano Mimi' included a lovely, subtle physical detail when, as she sang the word 'poesia', she clutched a verse-filled paper that Rodolfo had handed her during his aria." - Tim Smith, Opera News Magazine

"Soprano Elaine Alvarez and tenor Jason Slayden make willing suspension of disbelief easy as Mimi and Rodolfo. They share an achingly romantic chemistry early on. Their pure and effortless voices wash over the Carpenter Theater again and again. Alvarez made her mark as Mimi at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and she has continued to make the role her own. They're the brightest -- but hardly the only -- stars in the production." - Roy Proctor, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Elvira in Verdi's Ernani at Opera Royal de Wallonie

"Elaine Alvarez assumes the role of Elvira with a certain honorable placidity...her voice is radiant, her beautiful lower register and her splendid medium voice make her an artist rich with promise." - Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online

...Elaine Alvarez offers singing still somewhat young, lacking in maturity for this role, but the vocal color is beautiful and the technique much more accomplished than the tenor’s...the lower notes are sumptuous and the phrasing remarkable. She excels especially in cabaletta’s where her agility is particularly spectacular: an artist to follow.
— Corinne Le Gac, Opera World Magazine

"Elaine Alvarez has a promising, rich timbre and the right weight of voice for Elvira. The soprano sang with conviction, particularly in the last act..." - Stephen J. Mudge, Opera News Magazine

"Elaine Alvarez's Elvira impresses with her power and projection..." - Nicolas Blanmont, La Libre

"And in contrast, adorned with all the mysteries of femininity, with tender and dusky colors, is the imperious vocal interpretation of Elaine Alvarez, royal and serene despite the intensity of her suffering. She receives very well deserved cheers and enthusiastic applause during the numerous curtain calls." -

"To start with, the young Cuban-American soprano Elaine Alvarez as Elvira, with a smooth and flexible voice that vocalizes with great naturalness, even if some notes are less powerful than others, is very promising for the future and in fact [General Director] Mazzonis has already signed her for another opera the following season. Without a doubt, the best on stage." - Alma Torretta, Il Giornale della Musica Magazine

Title Role in Kat'a Kabanova at Boston Lyric Opera

"Alvarez magnificent in BLO’s mixed premiere of Janacek’s 'Katya': The opera's throbbing heart is Katya... For much of the first act, Elaine Alvarez was a little stiff, and her soprano sounded pinched above the stave. The voice eased as the performance unfolded, and the fitful woodenness seemed to make dramatic sense: this was a woman who was so simple and so full of passion she could not quite figure out how to act. By the end, Alvarez had attained a level of magnificence, and was singing with breathless, full-throated abandon. Janacek's masterful and haunting portrayal of madness was especially well-executed in her hands." - Angelo Mao, Boston Classical Review

...soprano Elaine Alvarez bravely threw herself into the title role and by the final act ably conveyed the intensity of Katya’s roiling inner world...
— Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe

"In playing Katya Kabanova, Cuban-American soprano Elaine Alvarez painted a tragic portrait of a desperately unhappy heroine... Her role required rapid switches from powerful, emotional outbursts to tender, reflective moments; she made these transitions feel natural and effortless. As is the case with many modern operas, the production infrequently placed complete emphasis on vocal performances alone and tended to integrate the singers’ voices into a greater symphonic sound. When Alvarez was unaccompanied, however, her vocal ability truly shone through. As she sang complex, dissonant passages from memory, her performance became only more electrifying and charged with emotion." - Eric H. Li, The Harvard Crimson

"In the title role, Elaine Alvarez ably embodied the religious, superstitious Katya. Her voice is large but flexible and easily carried over the other singers on stage and the orchestra. Her tone on Sunday was nicely distributed across her range." - Jonathan Blumhofer, Arts Fuse Magazine

Mimì in La Bohème at Opéra National de Bordeaux

Originally from America, Elaine Alvarez has a different fabric: shimmering, warm, sumptuous. Perhaps velvet? No, rather one of those taffeta’s whose shimmering captivates the ear.
— Christoph Rizoud,

Title Role in Catan's La Hija de Rappaccini for Gotham Chamber Opera

"Elaine Alvarez is a stunning young beauty with black hair, dark eyes, a strong voice, musicality and acting chops to make her someone to watch. In this role she conveys the innocence of a child mixed with the ultimate femme fatale, who's poisonous touch will doom both lovers... In her tour-de-force death scene, Alvarez shows off her control of voice and range when she asks Giovanni if his words were not more poisonous than her nature." - Humberto Capiro, Los Angeles Magazine

Gotham Chamber Opera was able to assemble a superb cast of singers for this production. Soprano Elaine Alvarez clearly understood the mysterious allure of Beatriz, the title character; as in Hawthorne’s story, one wished to know more about this lonely but enchanting young woman.
— Arlo McKinnon, Opera News Magazine

"The cast was excellent, led by the tenor Daniel Montenegro as Giovanni and the soprano Elaine Alvarez as Beatriz, both with appealing quivers of emotion in their voices..." - Zachary Wolfe, New York Times

"The most intoxicating flower in the evening's bouquet of voices, however, was Elaine Alvarez in the title role. I had the pleasure of hearing the performance that launched the Cuban-American soprano into the international spotlight in 2007. Alvarez sang Mimi in the Lyric Opera of Chicago La boheme, stepping in for Angela Gheorghiu, who was fired for missing too many rehearsals. In Gotham's La hija, Alvarez was clearly in a class all her own and was perhaps the only singer who truly channeled the dark sensuality of Catan's score." - Stephen Raskaukas,

"His love interest and La hija was played by soprano Elaine Alvarez with the same mix of beauty and danger, the crucial theme to the opera. Ms. Alvarez has star appeal, pure and simple. The range of colors in her glorious soprano is electrifying. She sings with a controlled recklessness that is rarely found on operatic stages." - Minda Larsen,


Solo Recital for Orchestra Miami

The soprano Elaine Alvarez possesses a prodigious voice, not only for its potency, but for the richness of color and crystalline timber. The performance was practically irreproachable, abundant in its moments of brilliance. This young singer brought me to tears with a power rarely seen in concert halls during the Arias Baccianas Brasileiras No 5 by Villa-Lobos, sung precisely as the composer conceived, with the famous bocca chiusa humming passage, ending with a final high note which is written to be aspirated. I have seen many famous divas that refuse to sing this passage with a totally closed mouth and who will not sing the final note aspirated, as indicated. However Alvarez, not only accomplished these demands, she delivers them with a profoundly genuine sentimentality. Totally unforgettable.
— Daniel Fernandez, El Nuevo Herald/The Miami Herald

Micaela in Carmen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago


"Alvarez brought an attractive timbre to Micaela, and made her as vital a creature as anyone does." - Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News Magazine

Ms. Alvarez applies vibrato and liquid notes sensitively to express the feelings she wishes to communicate when she finally locates Jose... [she] gives an accomplished performance of Micaela’s prayer-like aria in Act III, her tendency to shade lyrical phrases alternating touchingly with urgent pleas for divine help.
— Salvatore Calomino, Opera Today

Micaela in Carmen at Florida Grand Opera

"The role of Micaela saw the belated Florida Grand Opera debut of the soprano Elaine Alvarez,... her voice was pure and radiant in the middle, and her impassioned singing of 'Je di que rien ne m'epouvante', when she tries to gather her courage to reach Don Jose in the mountains, was a highlight of the night." - David Fleshler, The Miami Herald

In tone and in stage comportment, Elaine Alvarez’s Micaela was reminiscent of the young Maria Callas.
— Robert Carreras, Opera News Magazine

"Miami soprano Elaine Alvarez shone in the thankless role of the goody-two-shoes Micaela. Her third act aria expressing her fear of confronting Carmen to save Don Jose was profoundly moving." - Bill Hirschman, The Sun Sentinel

"The Micaela of Elaine Alvarez is a luxury in this production. Having a singer of her stature - who has interpreted Traviata's and Mimi's - in a smaller role, is something that must not be missed, because the young soprano knows how to use every moment she is on stage and credit must be given to [Renaud] Doucet for his direction of the character." - Daniel Fernandez, El Nuevo Herald/The Miami Herald

Magda in La Rondine for Oper Frankfurt


"At his side stood Alvarez, an experienced Magda. She unveiled quintessential Puccini style and melded the idiom with a melting, voluminous sound." - Guido Holze, Frankfurter Allgemeine

At the podium was the ideal pairing of Elaine Alvarez and Joseph Calleja: two equally strong, extremely homogeneous and bright open voices, which literally ignited together. Excellent was the timbre of Elaine Alvarez with plenty of power in the top and a sparkling middle.
— Bernhard Uske, Frankfurter Rundschau

"Leading the cast was Elaine Alvarez as Magda, a bountiful, focused and alluring bright soprano voice." - Andreas Bomba, Frankfurter Neue Presse

Magda in La Rondine for Oper Leipzig

"Tiberius Simu, as the poet Prunier, preludes at the piano 'Chi bel sogno di Doretta'. With clear articulation and a sensual melodiousness, Elaine Alvarez brings it quasi improvising to its conclusion, with a superbly balanced messa di voce elegance. This is one of the most excellent scenes in La rondine." - K.G.v. Karais, Opernglas Magazine

Elaine Alvarez’s creation of Magda is outstanding. With subtle nuances she makes Magda’s drama and inner conflict audible. This stylistic, sensitive and carefully elaborated comprehension of the role fascinated the public...
— Sebastian Schmideler, Leipzig Almanach

"On stage there is the incarnation of femininity: Elaine Alvarez, a triumph of luxuriance and sensuality (same as her singing), totally dominating the stage. With finesse she played the depraved Magda; a kept woman who, greedy for luxury, sells herself to a Duke, but at the same time dreams of romantic, fulfilling love - a very dangerous mixture in women." - Wolf-Dieter Krönig, Bild Leipzig

Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Cleveland

Alvarez’s rich, even soprano was able to soar to the heights softly, but she still had the requisite strength to hold her own against the Count. Her ‘Dove sono’ was quite moving.
— Alan Montgomery, Opera News Magazine

Soprano Soloist in Rossini's Stabat Mater for Ravenna Festival Italy

If one had to choose the most intense moment of the masterpiece that is the Stabat Mater of Rossini, the preference would almost certainly go to the aria ‘Inflammatus’ where the composer recalls in amazing ways the flames of hell and the pain and anguish of man in front of his possible destiny. This aria needs a soprano that knows how to favour, to ride and then to transcend the musical score with her voice. In Mazara, the extraordinary Elaine Alvarez succeeded, sustained by the chorus of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino conducted by Riccardo Muti.
— Vincenzo di Stefano, La Sicilia

Solo Recital for The Vocal Arts Society/Kennedy Center

Alvarez is a charming artist - with a delightfully warm stage presence and a healthy, hearty and agile voice that is still coming into flower - and it does not surprise me that she made a terrific Mimi. She was quite wonderful in a closing set of Spanish and Cuban songs by Fernando Obradors and Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes, in which she stepped out of what had sometimes seemed an interpretive corset and relaxed as though the hall were filled with old friends, which, by the end of the evening, seemed to be the case.
— Tim Page, Washington Post

Mimì in La Bohème for Lyric Opera of Chicago

Cuban-American soprano Elaine Alvarez rendered Mimi with an ample, buffed-bronze soprano that contrasted nicely with Aronica’s brighter sound...she displayed a lissome, floated top for the offstage ‘Amor’ at the close of the first scene, a sensitively shaped ‘Donde lieta usci’ and an excellent final act. Her portrayl was, moreover, compellingly characterized, subtly naturalistic and fully drawn. Alvarez received a huge ovation in the final curtain calls, a tribute well deserved for intrepid grace under pressure - and for coming through with an intelligent, musically satisfying performance.
— Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News Magazine

"Elaine Alvarez looked and sounded fully prepared to take on this touchstone Puccini role. Far from displaying any obvious nerves, Alvarez looked and sounded like a poised veteran. As the consumptive seamstress Mimi, Alvarez on Monday revealed an appealingly natural stage presence and a big, vibrant lyric soprano the color of deep burgundy. The voice bloomed under pressure the way you want a Puccini voice to bloom, yet kept its warm tonal finish when she floated the high pianissimos opera lovers wait for in rapt anticipation. Conveying lyric pathos seems to come as naturally to Alvarez as breathing. She reserved her most deeply affecting singing for the third act, investing her duets with Quinn Kelsey as the Bohemian painter Marcello and Roberto Aronica as her lover, the poet Rodolfo, with shimmering beauty. When the estranged lovers agreed to remain together until the first rustles of spring, even audience members who have seen hundreds of Bohemes got misty-eyed. Alvarez saved the day, and then some. After her smooth, confident Lyric debut, the opera world surely will be taking notice." - John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

"As if her understudy, Cuban-American soprano Elaine Alvarez, who blossomed into a luminous performance on Monday, had been Lyric's choice for Puccini's doomed Mimi all along. [Alvarez's] Mimi was clearly passionate, and the dark cast to her strong, well-projected soprano added depth and emotional richness to her initial duet with Roberto Aronica's Rodolfo. By the festive Cafe Momus scene in Act II, her singing had become juicy and lyrical, and her wrenching Act III encounter with Rodolfo, frantic at the thought of Mimi's impending death, was luminous." - Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times

"From the start, Alvarez proved to be entirely at ease on stage, projecting easily and deploying her warm soprano with great sensitivity. You couldn't help but be taken in by her shy singing of Act I's 'Si mi chiamano Mimi', and she generated an incredible pathos in Act III, as she realizes that she and Rodolfo must separate. By the time she died in Act IV, her successful debut was a foregone conclusion. Any singer who can make this role dramatic and not melodramatic deserves a place on the world's major stages." -  Marc Geelhoed, Time Out Chicago