Chrystal E. Williams
Mezzo-soprano Chrystal E. Williams has been described by 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’s 2014 National Auditions.
Recently, Ms. Williams returned to Birmingham Opera Company (U.K.) as Katerina in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and sings under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (U.K.). She also revisits the role of Rebecca in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD for Atlanta Opera, a role she created for Opera Philadelphia and has also revisited with Arizona Opera, at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and in a co-production with Hackney Empire and English National Opera. She also gives her Merkin Concert Hall recital debut in May 2019.
Ms. Williams sang Charlotte in Werther with both Baltimore Concert Opera and Opera Delaware, Mary in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star with New York’s Onsite Opera, and Olga in Eugene Onegin with the Northern Lights Music Festival. She also sang Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Springfield Symphony, a concert with the North Carolina Philharmonic, and made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, in Bach’s Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150. Other recent performances include Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with Boston Modern Orchestra Projects, Bach’s Magnificat with the New Jersey MasterChorale, and the role of Publia in Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. She has also given concerts with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), debuted with the Washington National Opera as Elizabeth Keckley/Coretta Scott King in Philip Glass’ Appomattox, sang Dido in Dido and Aeneas for Birmingham Opera Company, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel with Knoxville Opera, and appeared as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra.
In past seasons, Ms. Williams debuted at Birmingham Opera Company as Hannah in Michael Tippett’s The Ice Break, under the direction of Graham Vick, sang Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Sarasota Opera, and was soloist with the Cairo Symphony. She created the role of Yvette in the world premiere of Eric Sawyer’s The Garden of Martyrs, sang Dulcinée in Massenet’s Don Quichotte, and performed Linda in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars, her debut role with the Glimmerglass Festival.
The First Prize and Audience Choice Award winner at the 2014 Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition, Ms. Williams has also received awards from the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, the Liederkranz Foundation, Inc., and the New England Region Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, among others.
Ms. Williams is a 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. The Chrystal E. Williams Scholarship was founded by Ms. Williams in 2004, to help students wishing 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.