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AZO Cast Members & Creatives

Deborah Nansteel

“A formidable display of vocal power and dramatic assurance,” mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel recently completed the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where she performed many roles including Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Curra (cover Preziosilla) in La forza del destino, Paula (cover) in Florencia en el Amazonas, as well as The Cat in Tony Award winning composer Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me.  She was just presented with the highly esteemed Betty Allen Award and grant from the Sullivan Foundation.

Last season’s engagements also included Juno and Ino in Händel’s Semele in a return to Seattle Opera, Handel’s Messiah with the Charleston Symphony, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Seattle Symphony, a world-première performance of Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg’s new opera Penny with Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative, as well as Gala concerts with Opera America, at the Smithsonian, and additional venues throughout New York.

This season, she creates the role of Lucinda in the highly-anticipated world première of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s adaptation of Charles Frazier’s thrilling novel Cold Mountain at Santa Fe Opera; makes her New York Philharmonic début alongside Eric Owens this fall in In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy; will sing the role of Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette and cover Fenena in Nabucco in her debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago; and will return to Washington National Opera for The Ring Cycle.

Other notable recent engagements include Nettie Fowler in Carousel and Elvira Griffiths in An American Tragedy with Glimmerglass Opera Festival; Foreign Woman in The Consul at Seattle Opera; and the mezzo-soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Fondazione Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro Sinfonico in Milan under the baton of Maestro Xian Zhang.

With the Seattle Opera she has also performed La suora infermiera in Suor Angelica (main stage début), Dame Marthe in Faust, Mary in The Flying Dutchman, and as a former member of Seattle Opera’s young artist program, Giulietta in Verdi’s Un giorno di regno and Maddalena in a performance of Rigoletto. She also sang Berta in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program.

Also sought after for her performances on the concert stage, Ms. Nansteel has performed Händel’s Messiah with the Memphis Symphony; the Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; John Harbison’s Mirabai Songs with the Oregon Mozart Players; plus various concerts including Stravinsky’s Les noces, Penderecki’s Credo, and Händel’s Israel and Egypt.

Other roles in her repertoire include Adalgisa in Norma, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Eboli in Don Carlo, Amneris in Aïda, and Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde.

Ms. Nansteel is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where she earned an Artist Diploma in Opera and a Master of Music in Voice. At CCM, she performed the roles of Berta in The Barber of Seville, Marguerite in Berlioz’s Ladamnation de Faust, Mother Marie in Dialogues des carmélites, Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia, and Mother Goose in Stravinsky’sThe Rake’s Progress. She also received Bachelor of Music degrees in both Vocal Performance and Vocal Jazz Studies from East Carolina University and currently studies with Barbara Paver.

Recent awards include Second Place in the Sun Valley Opera competition in Seattle; the Andrew White Award and Seybold/Russel Award in the Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition; and a Winner in the National Orpheus Vocal Competition

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