Chrystal E. Williams, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Chrystal E. Williams has been described by leading critics as “strong and so assured,” “lithely negotiating the coloratura demands before descending into a robust low register,” and “poised, polished, in complete command of the vocal calisthenics.” She is a winner of Astral’s 2014 National Auditions.
Upcoming, Ms. Williams sings Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with Boston Modern Orchestra Projects, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Springfield Symphony, Bach’s Magnificat with the New Jersey MasterChorale, Bach’s Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150 with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and revisits the role of Rebecca in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, a co-production with Hackney Empire and English National Opera. Recently, she performed the role of Publia and covered the role of Arsace in Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, gave concerts with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), debuted with the Washington National Opera as Elizabeth Keckley/Coretta Scott King in Philip Glass’ Appomattox, was re-engaged by the Birmingham Opera Company (UK) as Dido in Dido and Aeneas, reprised the role of Rebecca in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD at the Apollo Theater under the auspices of Opera Philadelphia, gave her role debut as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel with Knoxville Opera, was presented in recital with Portsmouth Community Concerts, and appeared as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with Smith College.
In the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Williams’ assignments included the cover role with Gotham Chamber Opera of Cat in El Gato con Botas, her debut with Opera Philadelphia as Rebecca Parker in Daniel Schnyder’s Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, her Birmingham Opera Company (UK) debut as Hannah in Michael Tippett’s The Ice Break, under the direction of Graham Vick, Verdi’s Requiem with New Jersey MasterChorale, solo appearances with the Cairo Symphony, and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Pine Mountain Music Festival.
In 2013-2014, Ms. Williams created the role of Yvette in the world premiere of Eric Sawyer’s The Garden of Martyrs, and performed the role of Dulcinée in Massenet’s Don Quichotte, Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and Linda in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars, her debut role with the Glimmerglass Festival. She also made her Sarasota Opera debut as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. She appeared as soloist in Elgar’s Sea Pictures with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Verdi’s Requiem with the University of Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, and Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the New Jersey MasterChorale.
The First Prize and Audience Choice Award winner at the 2014 Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition, Ms. Williams is the recipient of numerous other awards, including Second Prize as well as the Audience Favorite Award in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, and Third Prize from the Liederkranz Foundation, Inc. She has also been a finalist in the International Belvedere Singing Competition, the Giulio Gari International Music Competition, and the Mario Lanza Competition. In 2013, she received an Encouragement Award in the New England Region Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Ms. Williams is a recent graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts, where she earned an Artist Diploma in Opera Performance. She holds a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from the Yale School of Music, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Voice Performance from Carnegie Mellon University. The Chrystal E. Williams Scholarship was founded by the artist in 2004 to help students wishing to pursue a career in the performing arts. The scholarship is funded in part by her concert, “An Evening with Chrystal E.,” held each June in Norfolk, Virginia.