American soprano Elizabeth Futral has established herself as one of the world’s leading sopranos. With her stunning vocalism and vast dramatic range, she has embraced a repertoire that ranges from the Baroque to world premieres.
A native of Louisiana, Ms. Futral studied with Virginia Zeani at Indiana University. She joined the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, won the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in 1991 and was catapulted to stardom with critically acclaimed performances of Delibes’ Lakmé at the New York City Opera in 1994. Career milestones soon followed, cementing her star status: a win in Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition, the title role in Rossini’s Matilde di Shabran in Pesaro, her debut at the San Francisco Opera as Stella in the world premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and her Metropolitan Opera debut in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor.
Since that time she has returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Princess Eudoxie in a new production of La Juive, Princess Yeuyang in the world premiere of Tan Dun’s The First Emperor, Elvira in I Puritani, and additional performances of Lucia. With the Lyric Opera of Chicago she has sung a vast range of roles including Cunegonde in Candide, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Handel’s Partenope, La Traviata, and The Merry Widow. She has notable relationships with the Washington, Houston, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, New York City, Vancouver, and Minnesota opera companies. Internationally, she has been heard at the Royal Opera Covent Garden, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Theater an der Wien, the Grand Theatre de Genève, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Hamburg Staatsoper.
During the 2015/2016 season Ms. Futral appears as the Beggar Woman in a new production of Sweeney Todd at the San Francisco Opera, the title role in the Merry Widowfor the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Lori Laitman’s The Scarlett Letter for Opera Colorado. The previous season found her singing her first Mimi in La Boheme with Opera Birmingham, Miss Hedgehog in Tobias Picker’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox with Opera San Antonio and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Concert performances included the gala opening of the Tobin Center in San Antonio, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Mahler Symphony No. 4 with the Roanoke Symphony, Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Mahler 4 with the Charleston Symphony, and the Mozart Requiem and Exultate, jubilate with the Colorado Symphony led by Pinchas Zukerman. She also performed in recital at Louisiana State University and Washington & Lee University.
Ms. Futral debuted with the New York Philharmonic in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 under Zubin Mehta and has returned there for Handel’s Messiah with Sir Neville Marriner and Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio with Sir Colin Davis. Other orchestral highlights include Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony, To Be Certain of the Dawn with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, the Brahms Requiem with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, arias and duets with Placido Domingo and the Chicago Symphony led by Daniel Barenboim, and a New Year’s Eve Gala with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic.
In demand for contemporary repertoire, Ms. Futral has sung the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne at the San Francisco Opera, Andre Previn’s Brief Encounter at the Houston Grand Opera, Philip Glass’s Orphée for the American Repertory Theatre, Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice for Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Dominic Argento’s Evensong: Of Love and Angels at the National Cathedral, and Stephen Paulus’ Three Poems of Dylan Thomas with the Tuscon Symphony. Other notable performances include concerts and recording of Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osma Vänskä, Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath at Carnegie Hall and Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men at the Houston Grand Opera.
Ms. Futral’s most recent recording release is Gordon’s 27 with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis on Albany Records. Other operatic recordings include Previn’s Brief Encounter and A Streetcar Named Desire as well as Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges for Deutsche Grammophon, Rossini’s Otello and Zelmira, Pacini’s Carlo di Borgogna for Opera Rara, Lucia di Lammermoor for Chandos as part of their “Opera in English” series, Of Mice and Men on Albany Records, Six Characters in Search of An Author on New World Records, and Philip Glass’s chamber opera Hydrogen Jukebox for Euphorbia Records.
Additional recordings include a solo aria recital for Chandos’s Opera in English series, Mozart The Supreme Decorator, a collection of arias by Mozart and CPE Bach on Opera Rara,Sweethearts, a collection of operetta favorites on Newport Classics, Solo Bach Cantatas with the Washington Bach Consort for Lyrichord Discs, Argento’s Evensong with the Cathedral Choral Society for Gothic Records, Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn on BIS records, and Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice.
Ms. Futral appears as Elvira in Kasper Holten’s film Juan a modern retelling of Don Giovanni. Other DVD releases include Tan Dun’s The First Emperor on EMI and A Streetcar Named Desire on Image Entertainment.
“Most affecting was Futral’s Antonia, sung with exquisite delicacy where needed and blazing power in the challenging trio.”
“Futral floats the songs on a voice that sounds tender and radiant and intimate.”
“Her crystalline soprano encompasses both the brilliant coloratura of Act 1 and the more lyrical writing of the later, darker scenes.”
“The soprano Elizabeth Futral was riveting as Émilie, singing with tenderness, passion and terror.”