Kirstin Chávez is considered one of the most riveting and significant performing mezzo-sopranos today. Her powerful voice with its expansive range, the dramatic intensity of her acting, and her natural sensuality combine to make her an arresting and unique presence on the operatic and concert stages.
Ms. Chávez has captured attention and acclaim in her signature roles and is recognized as one of the definitive Carmens of today; Opera News reported that her Carmen in Graz, Austria 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.” Ms Chávez’ Carmen has taken her all around globe and into such celebrated venues as Lincoln Center in New York, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and the Arena di Verona, in Italy.
Kirstin Chávez has earned praise for her performances in modern operas, as well, with Jo in Adamo’s Little Women (Opera Pacific), Thérèse, in Tobias Picker’s Thérèse Raquin (San Diego Opera) and Sondra Finchley in Picker’s An American Tragedy, which was her Metropolitan Opera principal debut in 2005. She then added Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, of which 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 of the “otherworldy quality to her singing; a mix of the earthy and the ethereal.” In 2017, Ms. Chavez presented the role of Glenda Ruiz in the wildly successful world premier hybrid opera “We Shall Not Be Moved,” which was premiered with Opera Philadelphia, and then taken to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY and Amsterdam Opera in the Netherlands. In 2018, she added the role of Ultima, in the world premier of “Bless Me, Ultima,” based on the famous novel by Rudolfo Anaya.
Ms. Chavez made a role debut as Lucretia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, at Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy and her subsequent travel to the United Kingdom, resulted in her debut with two major companies: The Welsh National Opera, as Carmen, and at The Royal Opera House in London with the role of Marquise de Merteuil in the contemporary opera Quartett by Luca Francesconi; a production with which she then made her Swedish debut with Malmö Opera.
In 2018/19, Kirstin was seen as Flora in the highly anticipated production of “La Traviata” at the Metropolitan Opera which marked the beginning of Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s tenure as music director. As a part of this production, Kirstin was seen and heard in movie theaters around the world in the HD broadcast on December 15, 2018.
Over the past two years, Kirstin and several talented colleague/friends have created and prepared Kirstin’s new ‘one-woman Carmen show’ called CARMEN INSIDE OUT. This is a dream realized for Kirstin because it provides an outlet for her to share the depths and intricacies of the character of Carmen who has come to be so much a part of her during her 20+ year professional career. She has now offered two mini-tours of the show in the UK and in France, and is planning a tour further into Europe and into Asia during 2020.
Kirstin is well known on the concert stage, having performed in numerous oratorios and concert productions, including such works as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Verdi’s Requiem, the Mahler’s 2nd Symphony and Rückert Lieder, and Manuel de Falla’s “El Amor Brujo.”
Kirstin Chávez was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but spent most of her childhood in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where her parents worked as English and Music teachers. She received a Bachelor of Music degree, with Honors, from New Mexico State University, and a Master of Music degree in Performance, and the Performer’s 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).