ELISE QUAGLIATA, mezzo-soprano, has gained notice over the past decade for the rich, unique beauty of her voice, her musical intelligence, her theatrical range and her riveting effect on audiences everywhere.
Having made a name for herself in contemporary as well as in traditional works, the artist recently stunned audiences with her heart-rending performance of Sister Helen in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking. The Saint Louis Dispatch remarked that with her "dark, expressive voice" the artist gave the role an "authentic strength and humor," while the final confession scene was performed with "throat-grabbing" intensity. Ms. Quagliata was also praised by The New York Times for her "rich, expressive voice and passionate delivery" of Mr. Heggie's song cycle on Sister Helen's prayers, The Deepest Desire, performed in Los Angeles and New York with the flutist Carol Wincenc, with the composer at the piano. Recently, she also performed Heggie's newest cycle, "The Breaking Waves," as part of a special concert of the composer's works for Opera America in New York.
Another notable success was her role as Jo in Mark Adamo’s Little Women with Pensacola Opera, described as “a vocal tour de force of amazing power, beauty, and dexterity.” Other new works have included Sheila Silver’s 2010 opera The Wooden Sword, where she debuted the lead role of Anya, and Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket of 2009 with American Lyric Theater, where she sang the role of Candy Mallow.
In 2008, Ms. Quagliata sang Cornelia with a "graceful presence" and "a rich mezzo voice" (The Miami Herald) in Handel's Guilio Cesare with Florida Grand Opera, and Carmen in La Tragedie de Carmen with Opera Omaha. Her 2006 performance of Carmen with Pensacola Opera captivated critics and audiences alike, with reviewers describing her as "one of the finest Carmens I have ever seen” (Mobile Register), "simply riveting" (Pensacola News Journal) and ready to "spontaneously combust; the girl is on fire" (The Independent News). Her "striking, bold tone, superb diction and excellent acting" was also noted in her performance of the Muse/Nicklausse in Les contes d'Hoffmann for Des Moines Metro Opera (Des Moines Register).
The artist's upcoming engagements include Olga in Eugene Onegin for Des Moines Metro Opera, Fricka in Das Rheingold for Union Avenue Opera, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd for Pensacola Opera, Emilia in Otello with the Jacksonville Symphony and the Verdi Requiem with Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Over the next several months she will also appear in recital in New York and Pennsylvania. In previous seasons, Ms. Quagliata has sung Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Pensacola Opera, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The National Philharmonic, Washington DC; Rockland Opera, New York) and Bertha, also in Barbiere (Pensacola Opera). Other roles have included Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Arsamenes in Xerxes, Lisak in The Cunning Little Vixen, Thisbe in La Cenerentola, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Rosine in Signor Deluso and Cecily in La Divina.
Ms. Quagliata's solo orchestral credits include Prokofiev's cantata Alexander Nevsky with the Jacksonville Symphony; Mozart's Requiem with the New River Valley Symphony; Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with the Savannah Philharmonic; Mahler's Rückert Lieder with Reno Philharmonic; the New York premiere and recording of Henry Cowell's Atlantis with the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Reno Philharmonic and Westfield Symphony; Verdi’s Requiem with the Westfield Symphony, Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody and Mozart’s Solemn Vespers with the Buffalo Philharmonic; Montsalvatge’s Cinco Canciones Negras with the Pensacola Symphony; DeFalla's El Amor Brujo with the New Hampshire Symphony and DeFalla’s Sombrero Tres Picos with the Virginia Symphony,
An impressive recitalist, the artist has performed recitals in Miami, New York and Pensacola (where she welcomed the King and Queen of Spain with DeFalla and Obradors), on university recital series in Illinois, Connecticut and Florida, as well as in concert venues in Switzerland and Italy. Adept in a variety of repertoire from contemporary to early music to jazz and cabaret, Ms. Quagliata has been especially lauded for her exceptional performances of American, Czech, German and Spanish works, and praised for the "glorious grace" which has characterized her interpretation of standards from Cole Porter to Kurt Weill.
In 2007, Ms. Quagliata was among four winners in the Liederkranz Society’s Lieder Competition, and performed in recital with other winners at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. She was also the 2005 winner of the Metropolitan Opera's District Auditions for New York City.
Ms. Quagliata began her career as a Studio Artist with Chautauqua Opera and continued as an Apprentice and Ensemble Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, Resident Artist with Opera Iowa, Resident and Mainstage Artist with Pensacola Opera, Young American Artist with Glimmerglass Opera, and a Resident Artist with Florida Grand Opera. Holding named scholarships and graduating Summa Cum Laude, Ms. Quagliata trained at the University of Michigan and the University of Connecticut.