From Maine, mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis is enjoying a flourishing career on opera and concert stages from Berlin to Dallas. Featured in the February Opera News Sound Bites column, she joins the Lucerne Opera this season in the title role of Gluck’s Orfeo, Stephano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. 2017/2018 season highlights included Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus for Utah Opera, her debut with San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque in Joseph and his Brethren, with Opera Philadelphia as Testo in Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Third Memory in I Have No Stories To Tell You by composer Lembit Beecher and librettist Hannah Moscovitch. Ms. Levis made her recent debut with Dallas Opera appearing as Flora in La Traviata and for Opera Parallèle she sang Rose in Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus and Dinah in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti. As one of only two winners of the Opera Foundation’s Curt Engelhorn Competition, she appeared with Deutsche Oper Berlin during the 2016/17 season in such roles as Mercedes in Carmen, the title role in Hirsch and Purcell’s Dido, and Tebaldo in Don Carlo. Back in North America, she sang Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Portland Baroque. An alumna of the Utah Opera young artists program, her roles included Despina in Così fan tutte, the title role in L’enfant et les sortilèges and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro.
In the winter of 2016, Ms. Levis appeared at Lincoln Center with Steven Blier’s New York Festival of Song series and summered at the Lakes Area Music Festival as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the fall of 2015, she was awarded first prize in the San Diego District Met auditions and spent a full season with the Domingo-Colborn-Stein Young Artist Program at Los Angeles Opera. She further appeared as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro for Wolf Trap Opera and sang the role of Sesto in a concert version of Giulio Cesare in Egitto with Symphonie Atlantique in the Netherlands. Named “Debut Artist of the Year” by the Joy in Singing Foundation, this exciting young artist was hailed by The New York Times for her “lithe-voiced” performance at the Morgan Library in “First Songs,” a showcase of world premieres with soprano Dawn Upshaw. The Boston Musical Intelligencer praised her “dramatic style” and “high level of technical ability” in Israel in Egypt with the Handel and Haydn Society at Symphony Hall.
In concert, Ms. Levis has appeared with the American Symphony Orchestra, Flint Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony and the Utah Symphony.
Ms. Levis enjoys singing in a variety of musical styles from Baroque to contemporary music, from opera to musical theater. Passionate about new music, Ms. Levis has worked closely with composers such as John Harbison, John Musto, Elena Langer, Tamzin Elliot, and Brian Suits. Favorite roles in opera or musical theater have included Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Cinderella in Into the Woods, Nancy in Albert Herring, Petra in A Little Night Music, Métella in La vie Parisienne, Romeo in I Capuleti ei Montecchi, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, La Conversation in Charpentier’s Les plaisirs de Versailles, and the fox in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen.
Past competition prizes and awards include the Sullivan Foundation, the 2017 10th Klaudia Taev Competition, the 2016 Opera Foundation Competition, the 2015 Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the 2015/16 Gerda Lissner Competitions (Song and Opera), the 2014 Luis Mariano Song Competition, the 2014 Wilhelm Stenhammer Competition, the 2014 James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, the 2013 Lyndon Woodside Oratorio Competition, the 2013 Classical Singer Competition, the 2012 Joy in Singing Competition, the University of Houston Concerto Competition, the National Orpheus Vocal Competition, and the Young Texas Artist competition. She has also competed in the semi-final rounds of the Veronica Dunne Competition, the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition, Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition and she was a finalist in the Cesti Innsbruck Competition for Baroque Music.
|Bellini||Romeo||I CAPULETTI E I MONTECCHI|
|Handel||Sesto||GIULIO CESARE IN EGITTO|
|Janacek||The Fox||CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN|
|Monteverdi||Ottavia||L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA|
|COSÌ FAN TUTTE
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
|Offenbach||Metella||LA VIE PARISIENNE|
|Ravel||L’Enfant||L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILEGES|
|Rossini||Rosina||IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA|
|Sondheim||Petra||A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC|
|Handel||ISRAEL IN EGYPT
|Mahler||DAS KNABEN WUNDERHORN|
“But he rewrote the rules for Abigail Levis’ characterization of Orlofsky. Levis stole the show as the bored Russian prince with broad, physical humor and an accent rumored to be based on Felonius Gru from Despicable Me. At times, the pampered prince jumped into the hulking arms of the valet, played by Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth, in a quasi-pair’s ice skating pose…”
[Die Fledermaus, Utah Opera] Opera News
“Act II also showcases the trouser role (a woman playing a male character) of Abigail Levis, a former Utah Opera Resident Artist, who returns to Salt Lake to sing the role of Prince Orlofsky—a character she lends great humor and depth to in addition to her beautiful voice. Her hilarious demands to be carried into rooms and kissed on the hand make some of the most entertaining memories.”
[Die Fledermaus, Utah Opera] Heather King, the Utah Review
“Highlighting both operas was the San Francisco debut of Abigail Levis. Singing with bright, unforced brilliance, the mezzo-soprano, looking chic in Christine Crook’s costumes, made a captivating first impression as Rose, exuding charm and tossing off glistening high notes in Heggie’s quicksilver lines. That impression only deepened as Levis, artfully shading Dinah’s predicament, revealed a startling depth of emotional intelligence; her dreamlike soliloquy (‘I was standing in a garden’), delivered in the office of Dinah’s therapist, was an enveloping episode.”
[One Story, Two Operas Double Bill: At the Statue of Venus & Trouble in Tahiti, Opera Parallèle] Opera News
“Mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis … sang with glittering vocal and emotional precision on opening night.”
[One Story, Two Operas Double Bill: At the Statue of Venus & Trouble in Tahiti, Opera Parallèle] Steve Winn, San Francisco Classic Voice
“Mezzo Abigail Levis depicts the humor and unease of Rose deftly, as she will playing Dinah later. What’s more, she masters the vocal demands of the incredibly long act-length aria with command over her full vocal and emotional range.”
[One Story, Two Operas Double Bill: At the Statue of Venus & Trouble in Tahiti, Opera Parallèle] Victor Cordell, For All Events Reviews
“American mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis will be making her Dallas Opera Debut as Violetta’s closest friend and confidante, Flora Bervoix. Earlier, Ms. Levis made quite a splash in the trousers role of Cherubino (at Wolf Trap and elsewhere) prompting Opera News to write that she ‘sailed through the role…leaving an impressive vocal glow in her wake.’ Ms. Levis has been widely praised for her talent, versatility and fearlessness. She was awarded First Prize in the 2017 Klaudia Taev Competition and spent a full season with the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at Los Angeles Opera.”
[La Traviata, Dallas Opera] Broadway World.com
“Making their Dallas debuts were the particularly handsome tenor Brenton Ryan as Gastone and mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis who both sang capably and were particular favorites of Friday night’s audience.”
[La Traviata, Dallas Opera] Monica Smart, Arts and Culture TX
“I was really impressed with Abigail Levis and her low register. It was still bright and warm and just as agile and active as her upper register. I loved her ‘O thou, that tellest good tidings from Zion.’”
[Messiah, Toronto Symphony Orchestra] Jenna Douglas/Greg Finney, Schmopera
“Mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis, along with Okulitch, made her TSO debut with a strong personality and a voice to match.”
[Messiah, Toronto Symphony Orchestra] Michael Vincent, Musial Toronto
“American Mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis was magnificent in the pitiful air ‘He was despised an rejected of men…’ She demonstrated why she is on the cusp of a great career. Next week, she heads off to Berlin for an extended engagement with Deutsche Oper Berlin.”
[Messiah, Toronto Symphony Orchestra] David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews
“Mezzo Abigail Levis was a firecracker as Cherubino, delivering the lovestruck page’s arias with effervescent lightness.”
[Le Nozze di Figaro, Utah Opera] Catherine Reese Newton, Salt Lake Tribune
“Looking every bit like a teenage, impetuous boy, Abigail Levis sailed through the role of Cherubino, leaving an impressive vocal glow in her wake; she sculpted ‘Voi che sapete,’ in particular, with terrific tonal and textual sensitivity.”
[Le Nozze di Figaro, Utah Opera] Tim Smith, Opera News
“Mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis, as the maid Despina, delivered scene-stealing comedic talent and descriptive vocal flexibility that impressed throughout the evening. Her fearless performance was a highlight.”
[Così fan tutte, Utah Opera] Robert Coleman, Opera News
“Abigail Levis’ clear and flexible mezzo was perfect for the boy Sesto. She delivered ‘L’angue offeso’ with dazzling ornamentation and my biggest regret was that one of her arias in Act II was cut.”
[Giulio Cesare, Symphonie Atlantique] Bachtrack.com
“The young Abigail Levis and her warm and resonant mezzo voice was breathtaking as Rosina. She has the rare interpretive gift of using coloratura to highlight emotional truth rather than simply show off.”
[Il barbiere di Siviglia] Berkshirefinearts.com
“Grooms, McNally and Levis all performed astonishing vocal gymnastics… There is of course the prima donna soubrette …Levis’ bright and light Rosina…”
[Il barbiere di Siviglia] Berkshirefinearts.com
[First Songs – Bard College Conservatory of Music’s voice program showcase, Morgan Library, New York]
Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
“In this case, the quirky and fickle Dorabella was sung by lyric mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis. I know it’s cliché to say – especially for someone reviewing a show – but, there are no other words to use: Levis stole the show. Her singing was consistently sumptuous and brilliant… while her portrayal of the character displayed comedic timing that was spot-on, giving us a Dorabella that was comically lovable. I can’t wait to see more from her.”
[Così fan tutte, New York Opera Exchange] James Newman, A Liberal’s Libretto
“Mezzo Abigail Levis gave a standout performance as Dorabella, with focused, agile, and emotionally rich singing. Her lyric timbre was matched with a vivid portrayal, charting Dorabella’s journey from faintly guilty sympathy to joyously sensual flirtation.”
[Così fan tutte, New York Opera Exchange] Lucy, Opera Obsession
“Abigail Levis used her lovely voice and personality to enliven Mr. von Platen-Hallermuende’s two sad songs of disappointed love, and went on to Mr. Schlechta’s sad ‘Auf einen Kirchhof’ with its many mood shifts.”
[Liederabend, Schubert and Co.] Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche
“Mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis also sings Testo, and her singing is a masterclass in itself on grounded technique, which achieves consistent beauty in its sound.”
[Il Combattimento, Opera Philadelphia/Philadelphia Museum of Art] Erik Flatten, Schmopera.com
WINNER, MCCAMMON VOICE COMPETITION
Abigail Levis wins the 2018 McCammon Voice Competition at Fort Worth Opera.
WINNER, SHREVEPORT OPERA COMPETITION
Abigail Levis was awarded the first prize at the 2018 Shreveport Opera Mary Jacob’s Smith Singer of the Year Competition.
OPERA NEWS MAGAZINE FEATURE
Mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis is featured in the February 2018 edition of Opera News Magazine as their selected artist soundbite.
SULLIVAN FOUNDATION AWARD
Abigail Levis has been selected as a 2017 Sullivan Foundation winner.
WINNER, KLAUDIA TAEV COMPETITION
Abigail Levis wins the 10th Annual Klaudia Taev Competition in Estonia.
Nobles seigneurs, salut! from Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots at the 2017 Klaudia Taev Competition
What a movie! from Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti performed at the 2017 Klaudia Taev Competition
Addio, Roma from Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea performed at the 2017 Klaudia Taev Competition
‘But who may abide the day of his coming….’ from Handel’s Messiah