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: ‘Conveying lyric pathos seems to come as naturally to Alvarez as breathing’ (Chicago Tribune). Characterized by a distinct ‘buffed bronze soprano’ (Opera News), Alvarez has blossomed into a true spinto d’agilita, 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, and major Verdi debuts as Elvira in Ernani and Helene in the rarely produced Jerusalem for Opera Royal de Wallonie: ‘The cast was dominated by the soprano Elaine Alvarez, whom we had already admired here in Liege in Ernani…what strength in her [Act I aria] ‘Ave Maria’, what power in her [Act II] aria ‘Quelle ivresse’, what temperament, above all!’ (Crescendo Magazine).
Ms. Alvarez returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the 2017/2018 season covering the roles of Antonia/Stella in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, after joining the company the previous season for La Bohème. Alvarez also joins Dallas Opera for Korngold’s Der Ring des Polykrates and makes her role and company debut at San Diego Opera in the title role of Daniel Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas.
Alvarez made her professional debut in 2006 as Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote 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: ‘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...’ (Leipzig Almanach).
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.
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; 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, 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, 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. 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.
Updated August 2017.