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“A formidable display of vocal power and dramatic assurance,” mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel is poised for international stardom, having already performed at almost all the leading opera companies in the U.S. She made her début with The Metropolitan Opera as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, her début with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette, her Carnegie Hall début in Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and her New York Philharmonic début alongside Eric Owens in In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy. She performed the role of Mother in the world premiere of Blind Injustice with Cincinnati Opera and participated in Glimmerglass Opera Festival’s digital production of Jungle Book as Raksha. 


This season, Nansteel has house débuts with LA Opera as Aunt Lou in Highway 1, USA and The Atlanta Opera as Roßweiße in Die Walküre, in addition to performing the roles of Azuecena in Il Trovatore with Opera Santa Barbara and Gertrud in Hänsel und Gretel with Opera San Antonio. As a concert soloist, Nansteel has been seen with the Utah Symphony in performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and act three of Wozzeck, and the American Symphony Orchestra in Handel's Judas Maccabaeus


Last season, Ms. Nansteel returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Annina in La Traviata and for their concert tour of Otello, and she had her house début with San Francisco Opera in their productions of Eugene Onegin and Dialogues des Carmélites. Nansteel also débuted the role of Amneris in Aida for both Opera Grand Rapids and Finger Lakes Opera, performed Gertrud in Hänsel und Gretel for New Orleans Opera, appeared as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem for Orchestra Iowa, and performed the role of Mother Abbess in Suor Angelica for Opera Omaha. 


Since her début with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, she has returned for Nabucco, Il Trovatore, as Paul in Florencia en el Amazonas, as Siegrune in Die Walküre, and, in her final production of 2020, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. She originated the role of Lucinda in the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s adaptation of Charles Frazier’s thrilling novel Cold Mountain at Santa Fe Opera. Other notable engagements include Granma in The Grapes of Wrath with Michigan Opera Theatre, a reprisal of the role of Lucinda in Cold Mountain with North Carolina Opera, the role of Grace in The Summer King with Michigan Opera Theatre, Second Lady in The Magic Flute with the Pacific Symphony, The Mother in The Consul with Opera Saratoga, Jake Heggie’s The Work at Hand for the Mainly Mozart Festival, Nettie Fowler in Carousel, Elvira Griffiths in An American Tragedy, and Mary in Der fliegende Holländer with Glimmerglass Opera Festival, and Berta in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program. 


Ms. Nansteel completed the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where she performed many roles including Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Curra (cover Preziosilla) in La forza del destino, Paula (cover) in Florencia en el Amazonas, as part of a world-premiere performance of Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg’s new opera Penny, as well as The Cat in Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me. As a mainstage artist, Nansteel returned there as Flora in La Traviata, Dame Marthe in Faust, which she also performed at Dayton Opera, as Emilia in Otello, Second Lady in The Magic Flute, and as the Marquise of Berkenfield in La fille du regiment with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, which is featured in the documentary film RBG. 


Sought after for her performances on the concert stage, Ms. Nansteel has performed Händel’s Messiah with the Memphis Symphony and Charleston Symphony; John Harbison’s Mirabai Songs with the Oregon Mozart Players; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Seattle Symphony and Fondazione Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro Sinfonico in Milan under the baton of Maestro Xian Zhang; the role of Brigitta in Bard Music Festival’s Die tote Stadt in concert; and various additional concerts including Stravinsky’s Les noces, Penderecki’s Credo, and Israel and Egypt. 


A house favorite of Seattle Opera, Ms. Nansteel made her main stage début as La suora infermiera in Suor Angelica, sang Juno and Ino in Semele, and Foreign Woman in The Consul. As a former member of Seattle Opera’s young artist program, she sang Giulietta in Un giorno di regno and Maddalena in Rigoletto. 


Ms. Nansteel is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where she earned an Artist Diploma in Opera and a Master of Music in Voice. At CCM, she performed the roles of Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Marguerite in La damnation de Faust, Mother Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites, Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia, and Mother Goose in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. She also received Bachelor of Music degrees in both Vocal Performance and Vocal Jazz Studies from East Carolina University and currently studies with Diana Soviero. 


Recent awards include Second Place in the Sun Valley Opera competition in Seattle, the Andrew White Award and Seybold/Russel Award in the Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition, and a National Orpheus Vocal Competition Award. She also recently earned the highly esteemed Betty Allen Award and a grant from the Sullivan Foundation.

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