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 earned acclaim in her signature roles and is recognized as one of the definitive Carmens of today, creating her Carmen in nearly 40 different productions throughout the United States and around the globe. 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 has also showed great success in various pants roles, including Octavian in “Der Rosenkavalier” (Florentine Opera), and Orfeo in Gluck's “Orfeo” (Metropolitan Opera).
Kirstin Chávez has earned praise for her performances in modern operas, as well, with her 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. Kirstin then added the roles of 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 the fall of 2017, Kirstin was heard as Glenda Ruiz in the world premier performances of “We Shall Not Be Moved,” a hybrid opera by Daniel Roumain and Mark B. Joseph, directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones and named by the New York Times as one of the Best Classical Performances of 2017, subsequently brought to the eager audiences of the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam in March, 2018.
Ms. Chavez' engagements have brought her to the Sydney Opera House in Australia as “Carmen” and the same at Opera Queensland, in Brisbane. She made a role debut as Lucretia in Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia,” at Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy. 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 also then made her Swedish debut with Malmö Opera. And amidst engagements of her favorite roles and powerful new contemporary pieces, Kirstin is also branching forth into some of the heavier repertoire, such as Amneris in “Aida,” which she performed with Opera Southwest, who then re engaged Kirstin to star in the title role of the world premier opera by Armienta “Bless Me, Ultima,” based on the beloved New Mexico novel by R. Anaya.
At present, Ms. Chavez is busy building a world tour of her ‘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. The preview tour in the UK in the summer of 2017 was a huge success, and the world tour will span various European and Asian countries during the summer of 2019, funded, in part, by a generous grant from The University of Utah, where Ms. Chavez serves as Artist in Residence.
Kirstin is also 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 2nd Symphony and “Rückert Lieder,” and Manuel de Falla’s “El Amor Brujo.” Now expanding her concert career, Kirstin is performing in recital throughout the United States and now in France and the UK with unique and engaging recital programs: “A World of Love,” “The Charms of Children,” and “Pasión,” a program of music from her spanish heritage.
Kirstin Chávez was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but spent most of her formative years 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).