In The News

Elise Quagliata as Carmen
Stirring Carmen opens the Utah Opera season!

“Mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata sings the title role in this production, combining a fierce charisma with vocal finesse. She commanded the stage with apparent effortlessness on Saturday, and her acting and dancing skills were on par with her singing."
- The Salt Lake Tribune, Catherine Reese Newton, October 9, 2016

“Elise Quagliata sang Carmen with passion and fervor--every ounce an imposing femme fatale. Quagliata's dusky mezzo, dramatic acumen and pulchritude commanded attention."
- Opera News, Robert Coleman, January, 2017
Published: January, 2016

Elise Quagliata in Doubt
Great reviews for Doubt at Union Avenue Opera!

“Elise Quagliata sings Sister James, and she captures our hearts. This innocent is caught in the conflict between her superiors, and Ms. Quagliata makes her moral torment heart-breaking.”
- Broadway World, Steve Callahan, August 23, 2016


“Equally impressive is UAO veteran Elise Quagliata as the conflicted Sister James. She's a talented singer and seems equally comfortable with both the standard repertoire and newer works. As she did in UAO's Dead Man Walking back in 2011, Ms. Quagliata demonstrates that her clear and fluid mezzo voice comes paired with solid acting skills.”
- KDHX, Chuck Lavazzi, August 22, 2016


“UAO favorite Elise Quagliata brought her well-produced mezzo and formidable dramatic skills to the role of Sister James, whose happy innocence is battered into cynicism by opera’s end.”
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Bryan Miller, August 20, 2016
Published: September 27, 2016

Elise Quagliata as Hedda Hopper
Elise triumphs as Hedda Hopper in Hopper's Wife!

"As the title character, Ms. Quagliata rightly stole the show, her vocally and physically nuanced portrayal vividly conveying the evolution of the character frombetrayed wife to back-stabbing Hollywood journalist. Like the realHedda, she wore a succession of eye-catching hats, ending with a dramatic black concoction as she shot Ava, burned her husband's paintings of nudes and offered a salute to "pure entertainment" — the movies." - Vivian Schweitzer, August 22, 2016


"Mezzo Elise Quagliata had the title role in the piece, in a totally go-for-broke performance. The role is a showcase for a high-energy singing actor and she excelled at both sides, bringing out the ugliness and comedy of the piece with her wonderfully earthy voice. (It was no surprise to read that she's a well-traveled Carmen.)" - Richard Sasanow, May 2, 2016


"But the evening belonged to Elise Quagliata's Mrs. Hopper. Her vibrant energy stood in sharp contrast to Edward's stolid obsessiveness, and she wore her '30s gowns and flamboyant hats with panache. Her breathless monologues were each a tour de force, and her dancerly movement added to her character's vitality."
- Classical Voice North America, Susan Brodie, May 2, 2016
Published: June 1, 2016

New York City Opera

Elise sings Hedda Hopper in the East Coast premiere of Hopper's Wife with New York City Opera.

Called "brave, bold and important" by the LA Times, Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie's challenging, erotically-charged opera audaciously charts new territory in music drama. Hopper's Wife explores the dichotomies between art and obscenity, high culture and indecency through the allegory of an imagined marriage between painter Edward Hopper and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, juxtaposing familiar icons of Hollywood's golden age with stark depictions of desperation and depravity.

April 28, 29, 30, & May 1, 2016

New York City Opera, NY
Published: March 24, 2016

July 6 & 13, 2017

Maria - Maria de Buenos Aires
Des Moines Metro Opera

June 24 & July 2, 5, 7, & 15, 2017

Charlotte Malcolm - A Little Night Music
Des Moines Metro Opera

March 17 & 19, 2017

Sister Helen - Dead Man Walking
Pensacola Opera

February 10 & 12, 2017

Penelope - Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
Opera Louisiane

January 12, 2017

Joan Clarke - The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing
by Justine Chen and David Simpatico
American Lyric Theater

November, 2016

Carmen - Carmen Asian Tour
New York City Opera

October 8, 10, 12, 14 & 16, 2016

Carmen - Carmen
Utah Opera

August 19, 20, 26 & 27, 2016

Sister James - Doubt
Union Avenue Opera

July 29, 2016

Carmen - Carmen in Bryant Park
New York City Opera

June, 2016

Carmen - Carmen European Tour
New York City Opera

April 28, 29, 30, & May 1, 2016

Hedda Hopper - Hopper's Wife by Michael Korie
New York City Opera

March 18, 2016

Supreme Justice: The Battle for Gay Rights, a new opera by Gary Fagin
Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra

March 15, 2016

Creators in Concert with Jake Heggie
Opera America

February 12 & 14, 2016

Wowkle - La Fanciulla del West
Opera Omaha

November 13, 2015

Brahms Alto Rhapsody
Idaho State Civic Symphony

November 12, 2015

Master Class -
Idaho State University

November 8, 2015

Carmen - Carmen
Opera on the James

October 17, 2015

Joan Clarke - The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing
by Justine Chen and David Simpatico
American Lyric Theater

May-July, 2015

Carmen - Carmen
New York City Opera Renaissance North American and European Tour

March 26 & 28, 2015

Missa Solemnis
Jacksonville Symphony
















































Acclaim for Dead Man Walking

Critical acclaim for Elise as Sister Helen in Dead Man Walking!

"Composer Jake Heggie has made the pivotal role of Sister Helen Prejean a huge 'sing.' It ranges from simple, floated folk tunes, to urgent conversational exchanges, to pointed wisecracks, to punishing emotional outbursts, to stinging dramatic force required at both extremes of the range. Librettist Terence McNally has compounded the challenge by scripting a torturous emotional journey that requires elements of extreme restraint, steady growth to understanding, and utter abandon to a raw transformation and spiritual bonding. In Elise Quagliata, the creators may have found their most powerful Helen yet.

Her luminous voice made every moment count, with a powerful, tireless mezzo displaying a rich, amiable tone of unbelievable stamina. Ms. Quagliata could hurl out climax after climax, one topping the other for searing intensity, then just as easily she could turn on a dime and scale back to a haunting whisper. The palette of vocal color Elise brought to the drama was staggering, from the sunlit joy of the opening scene to the final unaccompanied lines, mere wisps laced with unconditional love after Joe's execution. This was great vocalism with limp, effortless delivery that was always deployed in committed service to the character. Truly memorable." - James Sohre


"...Elise Quagliata contributed an excellent performance as the compassionate nun. Her interpretation was passionate yet sung with exceptional technical finesse: she maintained a rounded vocal quality throughout an impressive dynamic range." - Mark Thomas Ketterson


"As Sister Helen, the New York mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata is forthright, a can-do gal in a plain skirt suit and sensible shoes. But her heartfelt singing reveals much deeper qualities within – vulnerability, fear, guilt and almost dizzying bouts of doubt." - Michael Morain
Published: August 12, 2014


Des Moines Metro Opera

Elise reprises her protrayal of Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking with Des Moines Metro Opera. Based on the extraordinary book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking is the first opera from the 21st century to be presented at DMMO. From its shocking beginning to its emotionally searing final scene, this opera changes everyone who encounters it. Its stunning score and intense story combine into a work that "must be reckoned something of a masterpiece – a gripping, enormously skillful marriage of words and music to tell a story of love, suffering and spiritual redemption." - San Francisco Chronicle

Listen to an interview with Sister Helen Prejean and Jake Heggie with excerpts from the opera on Iowa Public Radio

Sister Helen says that this opera allows an audience the rare opportunity to get close to the issues surrounding capital punishment. "Music has a way of bringing us to places in our heart we don't even know we have. And it's done masterfully. I couldn't ask for it to be done better than it's being done." - Sister Helen Prejean

Iowa Public Radio

Published: June 28, 2014