Named "Debut Artist of the Year" by the Joy in Singing Foundation, lyric mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis is emerging as one of the most exciting young singers today. The New York Times hailed her 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 for her “dramatic style” and “high level of technical ability” in Israel in Egypt with the Handel and Haydn Society in Symphony Hall. She is a recent graduate of the Vocal Arts program at the Bard College Conservatory where she was the recipient of the Mimi Levitt Scholarship. As one of only two winners of the Opera Foundation’s Curt Engelhorn Competition, Ms. Levis will join the Deutsche Oper Berlin for a year beginning September 2016.
This past fall Ms. Levis was awarded first prize in the San Diego District Met auditions and is a member of the Domingo-Colborn-Stein Young Artist Program with Los Angeles Opera. At Wolftrap this past summer she appeared as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and sang the role of Sesto in a concert version of Giulio Cesare in Egitto with Symphonie Atlantique in The Netherlands. Last season Ms. Levis was a member of the young artists program with Utah Opera where she performed the roles of Despina in Cosi fan tutte and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. She continues with the LA Opera in the fall of 2015 and will be heard back in Utah as L’enfant in L’Enfant et les Sortileges. In the winter of 2016, she will be in Las Palmas for Le portrait de Manon and in the spring returns to Utah as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.
A native of Portland, Maine, Ms. holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. During her student years she won several prestigious scholarships. As a Young Artist she has performed with The Crested Butte Music Festival, Opera New Jersey, The Austrian American Mozart Academy, and Songfest.
On the concert stage, Ms. Levis has appeared as a soloist with the American Symphony Orchestra, Flint Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Utah Symphony, Ars Lyrica Houston, and the New York Opera Exchange in addition to the Handel and Haydn Society. She has been awarded prizes in competitions, including the 2013 Classical Singer Competition, and the 2013 Lyndon Woodside Oratorio Competition. In 2013 she was also awarded a Career Bridges Grant from the Schuyler Foundation.
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 ingénues (Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Cinderella in Into the Woods, Nancy in Albert Herring), a maid and an aging actress who are anything but ingénues (Petra in A Little Night Music and Métella in La vie Parisienne), two lovelorn young men (Romeo in I Capuleti ei Montecchi and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro), a chatterbox who interrupts her constant prattling only to sip hot chocolate (La Conversation in Charpentier’s Les plaisirs de Versailles), and, in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, a charismatic and handsome young male fox.
Past competition wins include the 2012 Joy in Singing Competition, the 2010 University of Houston Concerto Competition, the 2010 National Orpheus Vocal Competition, the 2011 Five Towns Music Competition in Long Island, and the 2011 Young Texas Artist competition. Her success at the latter was noted in the Conroe Courier:
“…mezzo-soprano, Abigail Levis… was rewarded for her authoritative and full-voiced mastery of Mozart’s “Parto,[Parto]” Wearing a glamorous gown of shimmering gold and gray, she also brought considerable comic flair to an amusing and sassy performance of… “What a Movie,” from Leonard Bernstein’s one-act opera, Trouble in Tahiti.”