Soprano Elaine Alvarez joins South Florida Symphony during Bruckner’s Te Deum in Masterworks V on April 26, 2023.
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” (Frankfurter Allgemeine), “spectacular agility” (Opera World Magazine), and “a profoundly genuine sentimentality” (Miami Herald).
During the 2021-2022 season, Alvarez made back-to-back company debuts in Verdi masterpieces as Violetta Valéry in La Traviata with Fort Worth Opera, Desdemona in Otello for Livermore Valley Opera and Elisabetta di Valois in Don Carlo for Maryland Lyric Opera, followed by her company debut with Chautauqua Opera as the title role in Tosca.
Additional engagements for the 2021-2022 season included performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 for Orchestra Miami and the Jacksonville Symphony, as well as a concert appearance celebrating Fort Worth Opera’s 75th Anniversary Season. Future performances for Ms. Alvarez will include a debut for Opera Omaha as the title role in Suor Angelica and her first performances of the Verdi Requiem.
Other notable engagements have featured Alvarez in numerous role and house debuts of iconic leading ladies including the title role of Aïda for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti, Tosca with Choregies d’Orange and Opera de Oviedo; Kat’a Kabanova with Boston Lyric Opera; a return to Mimi for Opera National de Bordeaux; a much anticipated role and house debut for San Diego Opera as Florencia en el Amazonas; the title role in Cecilia Valdéz with the iconic Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid; major Verdi debuts for Opera Royal de Wallonie as Elvira in Ernani, Hélène in the rarely produced Jerusalem, and the title role of Aïda under the baton of long-time collaborator Speranza Scappucci. Ms. Alvarez also joined Opera Royal de Wallonie for her first foray into the bel canto repertoire as Donizetti’s infamous Tudor Queen, Anna Bolena in Liege and on tour at the Royal Opera House Muscat.
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: “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, Finger Lakes 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 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), (2018-2019), 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 Rossini’s Stabat Mater under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti, on tour with the Ravenna Festival Italy and the Orchestra e Coro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; 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 Vaughan-Williams’ Serenade to Music and Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 with the Traverse City Symphony; and a featured soloist debut with the Sphinx Virtuosi Ensemble of Manuel de Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares for voice and chamber orchestra. In 2018, Ms. Alvarez joined fellow distinguished Manhattan School of Music alumni for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in a Centennial Celebration Concert marking the 100th Anniversary of the famed New York City Conservatory.
Ms. Alvarez has enjoyed the privilege of collaborating with some of the most distinguished conductors and stage directors working in opera today including Maestros Riccardo Muti, Paolo Arrivabeni, Paul Daniel, Alain Altinoglu, Giampaolo Bisanti, Louis Salemno, Daniel Oren, Axel Kober, Oliver Diaz, Dean Williamson, Roderick Cox, Pablo Gonzales, Steven Osgood, Maurizio Barbacini, Joel Revzen, Marc Soustrot, Adam Turner, Keri-Lynn Wilson, Neal Goren, David Angus, Joseph Mechavich, and Luciano Acocella; and Stage Directors Jonathan Miller, Jean-Louis Grinda, Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera, Peter Konwitschny, Renaud Doucet, Rebecca Taichman, Tim Albery, Arnaud Bernard, David Gately, John De Los Santos, Nadine Duffaut, Peter Kazaras, Chas Rader-Shieber, Candace Evans, Carlos Wagner, 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 high school 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 Miami, Florida with her husband Michael, their children, and their rescue pup, La Lupe.