March 13, 2017
The final performance of the Saint Vincent College Concert Series 45th season will feature mezzo-soprano Chrystal E. Williams at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in the Robert S. Carey Performing Arts Center. A free reception to meet Williams will follow the performance.
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 Artists’ 2014 National Auditions.
Upcoming engagements include Williams performing in 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; and Bach’s Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. She also revisits the role of Rebecca in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, a co-production with Hackney Empire and English National Opera.
She recently 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; performed with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (Sweden); and debuted with the Washington National Opera as Elizabeth Keckley/Coretta Scott King in Philip Glass’ Appomattox.
She returned to 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, and gave her role debut as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel with Knoxville Opera. She was presented in recital with Portsmouth Community Concerts, and was a soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with Smith College.
In the 2014-15 season, Williams performed the cover role of Cat with Gotham Chamber Opera in El Gato con Botas; made her debut with Opera Philadelphia as Rebecca Parker in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD; and debuted with the Birmingham Opera Company (UK) as Hannah in Michael Tippett’s The Ice Break, under the direction of Graham Vick. She also soloed in Verdi’s Requiem with New Jersey MasterChorale and with the Cairo Symphony, and appeared as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Pine Mountain Music Festival.
In 2013-14, Williams created the role of Yvette in the world premiere of Eric Sawyer’s The Garden of Martyrs. She performed the roles 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, Williams is the recipient of numerous other awards, including Second Prize and the Audience Favorite Award in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition and Third Prize from the Liederkranz Foundation, Inc. She has 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.
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. She founded the Chrystal E. Williams Scholarship in 2004 to help students planning 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.
Concert Series admission is $25 for adults. Student and group rates are also available. Tickets may be purchased online at concertseries.stvincent.edu, by calling 724-805-2565 or at the door on concert evenings.
The first concert of the 2017-18 season features pianist Sejoon Park, winner of the Saint Vincent College Bronder Prize for Piano, on Sept. 23.
Photo: Chrystal E. Williams
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