Mezzo-soprano Chrystal E. Williams has been described by leading 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”.
Of her debut with the Sarasota Opera performing the role of Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia critics cited, “…the young mezzo-soprano possesses a creamy instrument with fine flexibility, throwing off a confident ‘Una voce poco fa’.”
Recent and upcoming: Ms. Williams recently sang the role of Publia and covered the role of Arsace in Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira at Caramoor this past summer. She sings Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with Boston Modern Orchestra Projects (Harvard Choruses); a Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Springfield Symphony; Bach’s Magnificat with the New Jersey MasterChorale; Nach Dir, Herr, verlanget mich, “BWV 150”, with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting; solos with the Lancaster Symphony in Mozart’s Requiem; solos with OperaDelaware in their presentation of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle; revisits her role as Rebecca in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD in a 2017 co-production with Hackney Empire and English National Opera; and, sings Olga in Eugene Onegin with Northern Lights Festival this summer.
This past season she sang concerts with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra in Sweden; debuted with Washington National Opera as Elizabeth Keckley/Coretta Scott King in Philip Glass’s Appomattox; was reëngaged with Birmingham Opera Company (UK) as Dido in Dido and Aeneas; presented in recital with Portsmouth Community Concerts; was a guest soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with Smith College; reprised Rebecca in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD at the Apollo Theater under the auspices of Opera Philadelphia; and, sang a role debut as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel with Knoxville Opera.
In the 2014-15 season, her assignments included: a cover with Gotham Chamber Opera of Cat in El Gato con Botas; a debut with Opera Philadelphia as Rebecca Parker in a new commission by Daniel Schnyder, Charlie Parker's YARDBIRD; a Birmingham Opera Company (UK) debut as Hannah in Michael Tippett’s The Ice Break, Graham Vick, directing; a Verdi Requiem with New Jersey MasterChorale; concerts with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in Egypt and a debut with Pine Mountain Music Festival as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
In 2013-14 Ms Williams created the role of Yvette in the world première of Eric Sawyer’s The Garden of Martyrs; performed the role of Dulcinée in Massenet’s Don Quichotte; Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin; and sang Linda in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars in a debut with the Glimmerglass Festival. She made her Sarasota Opera debut as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia and was a featured soloist in Elgar’s Sea Pictures with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra; the Verdi Requiem with the University of Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra; and Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the New Jersey MasterChorale.
Ms Williams was one of thirteen finalists in the International Belvedere Singing Competition in 2013; a 2014 finalist in the Giulio Gari International Music Competition; a 2013 finalist in the Mario Lanza Competition; a 2013 Encouragement Award in the New England Region Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions; a 2013 prize winner in the Liederkranz Foundation; and a 2012 prize winner and Audience Favorite Award in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition. Ms Williams was the recent winner of the Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition for 2014 winning both 1st Place and Audience’s Prize awards.
The Chrystal E. Williams Scholarship was founded by the artist in 2004 to help students wishing to pursue a career in the Performing Arts. This scholarship is funded in part by her concert, An Evening with Chrystal E. held annually during the month of June in Norfolk, VA. Ms Williams is a recent graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she earned her Artist Diploma in Opera Performance. She received her Master of Music in Opera Performance from Yale University School of Music in 2010, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Voice Performance from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008.
“…the timbre of her voice has an energy and brightness that carried her easily through the coloratura fanfare of ‘Una voce poco fa’, and everything else Rossini tossed in her path. That made her a spitfire Rosina with a twinkle in her eyes and the kind of sparkle her suitor, Count Almaviva…would pursue to the ends of Andalusia." - June LeBell, YourObserver.com
“More so than any other performer that evening, you could tell that Ms. Williams is but a hair’s breadth away from a glittering professional opera career. She is a joy to listen to and watch – the complete package – whom I have no doubt will be gracing the great stages of the world …she defines di qualità.” - Gale Martin,