Michele Capalbo

Soprano

 

Michele Capalbo

Soprano

American/Canadian Citizen

Rarely is the opera world treated to the talents of a genuine Verdian soprano. Michele Capalbo is that rarity. Whatever the role, Michele’s portrayal of her characters’ emotional and psychological journey are tempered by a remarkable discipline in the bel canto vocal tradition. Her consistently stunning performances make clear Michele’s talents include a devotion to classical singing’s inherent beauty and drama, a commitment that succeeds in creating an authentic emotional connection with audiences. Ms. Capalbo’s 2016/17 season included the title role in Turandot with Calgary Opera and Liù in Turandot with Edmonton Opera. Other recent credits include the title role in Tosca for Vancouver Opera and Opera Lyra Ottawa, Poulenc’s Stabat Mater for the Edmonton Symphony, Verdi’s Requiem for the Ottawa Choral Society and the title role in Madama Butterfly for the Saskatoon Opera. Upcoming engagements include Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Edmonton Opera.

The New York Times describes Michele Capalbo as having “a genuine voice, from a lower register she actually uses to high floating pianissimos”. Widely renowned as an interpreter of Verdi and Puccini, Michele excels in capturing both the vulnerability and strength of some of opera’s greatest heroines, a specialty that prompted Opera News to proclaim her “a world-class Aida”. Although Aida has earned Michele the most illustrious praise to date, her impressive performance credits have already taken her to stages across North and South America as well as Europe. She is in demand for starring roles such as Verdi’s Desdemona, Lady Macbeth, Elisabetta, Amelia, and both Leonoras. In the verismo repertoire, her roles include Puccini’s Tosca, Madame Butterfly, Minnie and Manon Lescaut. Michele has been described by Opera News as “A statuesque beauty with strong stage presence” and someone who “may well be the verismo soprano we’ve been waiting for”. 

No stranger to the symphonic stage Michele’s recent worldwide concert performances have included Verdi’s Requiem with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Bergen, Norway; Poulenc’s Stabat Mater in Florence, Italy and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Born and raised in Southwestern Ontario, Canada; Michele was drawn to music at an early age. As a child she challenged herself to master the violin and flute and sang in an array of choirs. She was only 8-years old when she made her vocal debut at the Kitchener Kiwanis Festival. At 15, motivated by an inspiring high school music teacher, she continued to develop her natural vocal talents through private study where she was first exposed to dramatic classical singing and began to devour opera recordings. The recordings of Maria Callas, in particular, resonated with this young singer on both an emotional and musical level; and helped her to understand the characteristics of her own blossoming voice. Michele went on to graduate from the University of Western Ontario. After graduation she moved to New York where under the guidance of her teacher Arthur Levy, she worked to hone her tremendous skill in the bel canto and verismo traditions.

Michele’s career was effectively launched when she won the Liederkranz competition in New York after which she was immediately offered her first professional role as Hélène in Les Vêpres Siciliennes. The performance took place in front of tens of thousands in New York City’s Central Park as part of the popular Viva Verdi Series. Her European debut soon followed in the role of Aida with less than a week’s notice at Le Festival de Musique de Strasbourg. Subsequent successes in the title role of Aida came at Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico; Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, France; the Canadian Opera Company and San Francisco Opera.

In addition to a demanding performance schedule, Michele remains an advocate for music education as well as early performance opportunities and as such makes time to coach emerging opera singers through private studies and master classes. She is also called upon to adjudicate vocal competitions where it is her mission to meet each singer where they are in their development while at the same time challenging them to expand their understanding and expectation of their own vocal possibilities.

Her debut recording, the independently produced ‘Christmastide’, draws on the singers’ fondest childhood memories inspired by the relationship of Mother and Child. The 13-track disc features Verdi’s rarely heard Ave Maria for soprano and strings, sacred songs, lullabies and new arrangements of classic carols.

February 2017

OPERA

Bellini Norma NORMA
Boieldieu Anna LA DAME BLANCE
Boito Margherita/Elena MEFISTOFELES
 Britten Ellen Orford PETER GRIMES
  Female Chorus THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA
  Governess TURN OF THE SCREW
Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur ADRIANA LECOUVREUR
Donizetti Anna Bolena
Lucia
ANNA BOLENA
LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
De Falla Salud LA VIDA BREVE
Giordano Maddalena
Ginevra
ANDREA CHÉNIER
LA CENA DELLA BEFFE
Gounod Marguerite FAUST
Janáček Jenůfa    JENŮFA
Korngold Marietta DIE TOTE STADT
Leoncavallo Nedda PAGLIACCI
Mercadeante Elaisa IL GIURAMENTO
Mozart Donna Anna/Donna Elvira  DON GIOVANNI
  Countess LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
Poulenc Blanche DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES
Puccini Mimi/Musetta LA BOHÈME
  Magda de Civry LA RONDINE
  Cio-Cio-San MADAMA BUTTERFLY
  Manon MANON LESCAUT
  Suor Angelica SUOR ANGELICA
  Tosca TOSCA
  Liù TURANDOT
Strauss, R. Salome SALOME
Tchaikovsky Tatyana EUGENE ONEGIN
  Lisa PIQUE DAME
Verdi Aida AÏDA
  Amelia UN BALLO IN MASCHERA
  Elisabeth de Valois DON CARLOS
  Alice Ford FALSTAFF
  Lady Macbeth MACBETH
  Leonora IL TROVATORE
  Leonora LA FORZA DEL DESTINO
  Violetta LA TRAVIATA
  Luisa Miller LUISA MILLER
  Desdemona OTELLO
  Amelia Grimaldi SIMON BOCCANEGRA
  Hélène LES VÊPRES SICILIENNES
Wagner Elsa of Brabant
Elisabeth
LOHENGRIN
TANNHÄUSER
Walton Cressida TROILUS AND CRESSIDA

ORATORIO

 Beethoven Symphony No. 9
Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem
Mahler Symphony No. 8
Poulenc Gloria
  Stabat Mater
Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle
Verdi Requiem

Turandot (Turandot) 
“Michele Capalbo proved to have the vocal heft for the part and was able to sing the demanding lines with not only requisite strength but also beauty of tone. Imperious and haughty in her famous opening aria, In questo regia, she was also able to project the emotional sensitivity needed at the end of the opera when she ultimately chooses to respond to the man who has given everything to win her her love. It was an impressive performance.” 
Calgary Herald

“Soprano Michele Capalbo, who was Opera Lyra’s Tosca last fall, demonstrated why she is building a reputation as an exceptional Verdi soprano, with soaring high notes, a witchy low register, and marvelous dynamic range.” [Ottawa Choral Society, Verdi Requiem]
Ottawa Citizen, Natasha Gauthier

Aida (Aida)
“…a real Aida. Michele Capalbo has a genuine voice, from a lower register she actually uses to high floating pianissimos.”
The New York Times

“Michele Capalbo performed a world-class Aida, passionate, subtle and vocally satisfying. Her “O patria mia” had the audience of several thousand screaming for more.”
Opera News

“In the title role is Michele Capalbo, whose lovely lyric soprano has a beautifully finished upper end. She is an attractive brunette who fits the role visually, and it was a pleasure to listen to her control of dynamics in her instrument’s upper range. This young Canadian, who has sung this role quite a few times already, may well be one of the big stars of the near future.”
The Roanoke Times

“Michele Capalbo was in any terms a successful, idiomatic Aida. Her voice is fresh and genuinely Italianate in a way that eludes the likes of Voigt and Sweet; she phrased with conviction and negotiated the role’s pitfalls skillfully, with wonderful tapered dynamics down to a good, shimmering ppp.”
LGNY.com

“In the title role of Aida, the beleaguered slave princess, soprano Michele Capalbo handled the huge musical leaps with ease. Imbuing Aida with sympathy, power and regal bearing, she outlined Verdi’s ardent melodies with gleaming tone. Even more convincing was the degree of temperament in her singing.”
Worcester Telegram & Gazette

“One couldn’t ask for a more visually appealing or vocally thrilling portrayal of the young Ethiopian slave-princess, Aida, than the one created by Canadian soprano Michele Capalbo. Her voice is powerful and flexible, capable of soaring one moment with soul-piercing utterance and spinning out long, caressing pianissimo phrases at the next – a true Verdi soprano. (One can almost imagine the beautiful young La Scala prima donna Teresa Stolz, on whom Verdi insisted for important Italian productions of “Aida.” She was later his “Requiem” soprano of choice.)”
“Definitely not an adherent of the one-sound-fits-all school of singing, Capalbo has an amazing command of vocal “veils” and “colors” as well as superb control of dynamics. The art of entering very softly with a beautiful sound on a high note, crescendoing and tapering back down to a silken thread, without appreciable loss of quality, is alive and well in the voice of this young Canadian soprano, who is this season’s “Tosca” for Opera de Quebec.”
“Needless to say, her Act III aria, “O Patria Mia,” as well as her poignant Act I soliloqy ending in “Numi, pieta,” were musically and dramatically a delight, as were her important duos and ensemble numbers. No matter the thunderous decibel level of chorus, orchestra and soloists combined, Capalbo’s distinctive voice could be heard soaring above or interjecting softer commentary in the inner spaces of the music.”
Cape Cod Times

“Chosen for the role the young Canadian singer Michele Capalbo, in the title role: with finesse and a beautiful vocal line. (Prise de rôle pour la jeune cantatrice canadienne Michele Capalbo, dans le rôle titre : avec finesse et une belle ligne vocale.)”
Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace

Tosca (Tosca)
“Throughout the work Ms. Capalbo displays a rich and polished lyric voice full of color and fluidity. Her rendition of the work’s famous aria “Vissi d’arte,” is strikingly honest and varied, full of powerful waves of vibrato and soft tenuous lines that hang on the top of the scale, then descend in a flurry of passion. As she pounds her knife into Scarpia’s torso, she groans. When she’s chased by the cops, she jumps happily to her doom. She is to this production what the star Karita Mattila is to the Met’s current “Salome.” She should be heard.”
New York Sun

“The highest praise of the evening however, should go to Capalbo, whose delightful voice is founded both on solid technique and a subtle musicality. Her Italian diction was impeccable, and her noble and dignified Tosca evolved as the work progressed.”
Opera Canada

“The lyric spectacle gives the opportunity of discovering a Canadian soprano of which one couldn’t hear enough said, Michele Capalbo. What a voice, and what concentration on the part of this singer, who seemed to be in an isolated universe all evening long. In the second act, Capalbo (Tosca) and her partner Gaetan Laperriere (Scarpia), deliver an excellent duel of voice and of game. It is the best act, of the evenings three acts.”
“(Le spectacle lyrique donne l’occasion de découvrir ici une soprano canadienne dont on n’a pas fini d’entendre parler, Michele Capalbo. Quelle voix et quelle concentration de la part de la chanteuse, qui semble dans un univers isolé tout au long de la soirée. Au deuxième acte, la chanteuse et son partenaire Gaétan Laperrière (Scarpia) se livrent un excellent duel de voix et de jeu. C’est le meilleur tiers de la soirée, puisque l’opéra compte trois actes.)”
Le Journal

“The young Canadian soprano Michele Capalbo as Floria Tosca … demonstrated a dark, richly colored, even voice topped by brilliantly shining high notes … [and] the famous aria “Vissi d’arte” was exquisitely shaped.”
The Boston Herald

“Soprano Michele Capalbo, a young Canadian on the way to a major career, played the title role. Her voice, particularly in the upper reaches, is by turns warm, sultry, and brilliant.”
The Boston Globe

“Young soprano Michele Capalbo is set to make her mark. Her Tosca had the appearance and sound of a young girl, though her voice, which grew in intensity as the evening wore on, was full and clear in the higher ranges.”
“Every Tosca is judged by the second-act aria “Vissi d’arte,” and Capalbo sang the aria with great beauty and refinement.”
The Times-Picayune

Otello (Desdemona)
“Michele Capalbo, the Desdemona, can be safely added to the short list of Canadian sopranos with true Verdian lustre.”
Montreal Gazette

“As Desdemona, the Canadian soprano Michele Capalbo overflowed with nobility and absolutely dominated her character, dazzling from her entrance with a rich colorful voice and an overwhelming facility for pianissimi and fil di voce. Without a doubt, the most exciting moment of the evening came during her touching aria and ‘Ave Maria’, not suitable for those with a heart condition.”
Mundoclasico.com

“The evening’s star was Michele Capalbo as Otello’s wife, Desdemona. She has a heavenly voice. Time and again she leaned comfortably into impossibly high notes with a tone so resonant you could almost touch it. Her acting also is impeccable.”
The Iowa Gazette

Madama Butterfly (Cio-Cio-San)
“Capalbo plumbs the depths of Butterfly’s deep character…In Canadian soprano Michele Capalbo, it (HGO) had a special singer who knew how to handle the complex sides of the title role, Cio-Cio-San:a girl of exquisite physical grace and a woman of steely conviction…Her singing certainly was bold, but the depth of her characterization as the ill-fated geisha known as Butterfly made a far bigger impression.”
“Her Cio-Cio-San was a mixture of the girlish geisha and the very mature woman who deliberately chooses a course – marriage to an American and conversion to his religion – that will make her an outcast.”
“Capalbo suggested the first with refined, graceful gestures. They loosened as Cio-Cio-San settled into her role as (abandoned) wife and mother. That refinement returned as psychological protection when Cio-Cio-San finally perceived her fate.”
The Houston Chronicle

“Capalbo made a radiant Butterfly, the child bride gentle as porcelain who grows into maturity through disaster and heartache. And she has a voice to match, easily floating those stratospheric pianissimos once patented by Montserrat Caballe.”
The Houston Press

“Canadian soprano Michele Capalbo was an eminently satisfying heroine. Her full rich voice boasted a strong lower register and a soaring top, and her portrayal, though heavily encrusted with Japanese gestures and movements, was tender and affecting.”
Opera Canada

“Capalbo is graceful, endearing and delicate in her rendering of Cio-Cio-San, capturing every nuance of movement, posture and facial expression. I’ve never seen the role done so engagingly. Her voice soars, especially on the opera’s two most recognizable musical moments — the famous aria “Un bel di” (One beautiful day) and “The Love Duet,” which Cio-Cio-San sings with Lieutenant Pinkerton.”
Pensacola Daily News

The Turn of the Screw (Governess)
“Rising Canadian soprano Michele Capalbo brought not unwelcome spinto weight and scale to the Governess’s part, always retaining enough lyric grace for some lovely halftones and skillfully applied high pianissimos. An attractive and affecting stage figure (less bossy or bonkers than some contemporary Governesses), Capalbo gave a nuanced, compelling reading of this challenging but wonderful role.”
Opera News

La Dame Blanche (Anna)
“Canadian soprano Michele Capalbo, as Anna, sailed fearlessly and with unrelenting stamina through her enormous aria “Enfin, je vous revois.” She wore her floating white gowns as if modeling for Sir Joshua Reynolds.”
Opera News

“As the White Lady, Michele Capalbo showed commendable artistry, producing some fine, bright singing with a clean tone.”
Opera Now

“Amongst the soloists, the Canadian Lyric soprano, Michele Capalbo was especially a revelation. Her decorative slender voice was perfectly matched for the role of Anna. (Bij de solisten was vooral de Canadese lyrische sopraan Michele Capalbo een revelatie. Haar fraaie, slanke stem was juist geschikt voor de rol van Anna.)”
Opera Gazet

“Equipped with an ideal timbre for French music, Michele Capalbo succeeds as Anna in an impressive Rhine opera debut.” (Ausgestattet mit einem idealen Timbre für französische Musik gelingt auch Michele Capalbo als Anna ein eindruckvolles Rheinoperndebüt.)
Online Musik Magazin

“Michele Capalbo’s Anna unites lyric beauty with enormous technical talent.” (Michele Capalbos Anna vereint lyrische Anmut mit enormer Kehlfertigkeit.)
West Deutsche Allgemeine Essen

“Michele Capalbo, as Anna, had radiating colouratura”. (Michele Capalbo als strahlende Kolorateuse Anna genannt.)
West Deutsche Zeitung Düsseldorf

La Forza del Destino (Leonora)
“A splendid surprise was revealed in Michele Capalbo, Canadian soprano, in the clothes of Leonora. We had not succeeded in hearing her in her rare previous Italian appearances and frankly we have been quite astonished to find ourselves in front of such a wonderful artist. The voice, of considerable volume from the heavy fullness and voluptuousness, remains uniform throughout the range to the high notes, which were reached with extreme security. Besides that, she has the ability to manage the breath, allowing herself to fade and use mezzevoci with truly great effect. The “Pace, pace mio Dio” was sung with such security as to make it appear almost simple, with “Invan la pace”, begun quietly and then strengthened, a vocal feat that we could define as an authentic miracle. In the end she earned the well-deserved ovation of the public. We deeply hope that Italian theaters will make room for this considerable soprano.”
Operaclick.com

“The three great operas that have heroines named Leonore (besides the two Verdi’s the other is, of course, Beethoven’s Fidelio) need to be dominated by a very strong soprano, whose presence on the stage always portends greatness. Last evening we were all introduced to such a woman, Michele Capalbo, who has ridden down from the wilds of Western Canada (whence the powerful Jon Vickers) to stun audiences with her vocal depth, purity of tone, dynamic acting ability and, with the caveat that these sessions are always amplified, large and burnished instrument. She seems to truly be a discovery and it will be fun in future to say that I heard her when she was still an unknown. Her Pace, pace mio Dio was ravishing, her poignant scene with the friars touching and her dramatic spark mirrored the dark music of the famous overture.”
Le Concertographe (AKA ConcertoNet.com)

“The star of the evening, as she had been in last year’s VEPRES SICILIENNES, was soprano Michele Capalbo. This was a Leonora worthy of mention alongside Tebaldi. The young winner of the 1999 Liederkranz Foundation Award, she has everything we want in a Verdi soprano: surprising power; a seamless range from top to the bottom that is so important for this Leonora; rich, voluptuous tone. Her “Pace, mio Dio” was truly moving, with perfectly controlled messe di voce and thrilling highs. I expect that we will hear much more of this Canadian soprano who is at the dawn of her career.”
Opera-List

Les Vêpres Siciliennes (Hélène)
“Among the principal singers in Les Vêpres, soprano Michele Capalbo (Hélène) displayed the secure vocal technique, solid musical preparation and logical character choices of a rising star.”
Opera News

“Is Helene the longest heroine role in Verdi? It certainly seemed that way, and young Michele Capalbo had just about all the goods. She excelled in the florid passages, with a vibrant, soaring tone. No question about it, this is a major voice, which we’ll probably be hearing more often. Statuesque and gorgeous, she was a commanding presence onstage.”
Opera-List

Il Trovatore (Leonora)
“Canadian lyric soprano Michele Capalbo is a rising superstar whose particularly luminous Leonora nearly stopped the show with her soaring bel canto aria “D’amor sull’ali rosee.” Her crystal clear voice floated easily up to its high Cs (and higher), enthralling the audience with her impeccable control and feather-light pianissimo.”
Opera Canada

“More dramatic singing was provided by soprano Michele Capalbo as Leonora. Her high register soared with power, but exquisitely delicate bel canto effects were also achieved.”
Peoria Times-Observer

“Admirable work is done by Michele Capalbo as Leonora. Capalbo’s steely soprano negotiates some lovely, florid coloratura passages, especially in the opening scene.”
Peoria Journal Star

Macbeth (Lady Macbeth)
“Michele Capalbo cuts a striking figure in her first outing as Lady Macbeth, an extensive role filled with vocal land mines that could explode a lesser singer. Within a few measures of her entrance, after reading a letter aloud (illiteracy was widespread in mid-19th century Italy and audiences liked to hear a character read onstage) Capalbo rises to a thrilling high C that leaves no doubt of her vocal ability. She consistently sings with a gripping intensity appropriate to the high drama of the role. My hair stood on end as she finished her first aria with a resplendent high B while brandishing a gleaming knife. Clearly no wilting flower, Capalbo plucks high notes out of the air and soars over large ensembles, yet she also fines her voice down to nearly nothing with telling effect. She trusts the Schuster Center acoustics, which do not disappoint; her softest tones are clearly audible to the furthest reaches of the auditorium. She negotiates the Brindisi’s perilous coloratura with general aplomb and crescendos and decrescendos on sustained high notes with apparent ease. As an actress she makes the most of her capes and flowing gowns, not to mention cutlery. The chemistry between her and Macbeth is palpable. At the close of the famous Sleepwalking scene, a treacherous moment where lesser sopranos can sound on the verge of blowing out a kidney, she produces a high Db in pianissimo (very soft), gleaming in tone and smack on pitch. Brava!”
Dayton City Paper

“As Lady Macbeth, Michele Capalbo lusted for power with an exciting, flexible coloratura voice, one that soared easily through the rich Verdian textures.”
Cincinatti Enquirer

La Bohème (Musetta)
“Michele Capalbo brought commanding stage presence and a rich voice to her Opera Illinois debut.”
Peoria Times

“Michele Capalbo showed much spunk and wit as Musetta.”
Journal Star

Falstaff (Alice Ford)
“Michele Capalbo turned in a radiant performance in the role of Alice.”
Peoria Times

Capalbo_Aida_Marseille

Opera Municipale de la Ville de Marseille, Aida

Madama Butterfly, Houston Grand Opera

Madama Butterfly, Houston Grand Opera

Elisabetta in Don Carlos, Grande Theatre de Geneve

Elisabetta in Don Carlos, Grande Theatre de Geneve

Leonora in Il Trovatore, Teatro Real, Spain

Leonora in Il Trovatore, Teatro Real, Spain

Aida, San Francisco Opera

Aida, San Francisco Opera

Lady MacBeth in MacBeth, Opera Ireland

Lady MacBeth in MacBeth, Opera Ireland

Madama Butterfly, Palm Beach Opera

Madama Butterfly, Palm Beach Opera

Desdemona in Otello, Palm Beach Opera

Desdemona in Otello, Palm Beach Opera

Tosca, Seattle Opera

Tosca, Seattle Opera

Un bel di vedremo, from Madama Butterfly, Puccini

by Michele Capalbo

Vissi d'arte from Tosca, Puccini

by Michele Capalbo

NEWS

CALGARY OPERA

turandotcalgary

Michele Capalbo sings the title role in Puccini’s Turandot with Calgary Opera. The notable cast includes David Pomeroy as Calaf and Alexandre Sylvestre as Timur.  Performances are on April 1, 5, 7.

https://calgaryopera.com