Elizabeth DeShong

Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong has earned high praise in both North America and Europe for her “well-cultivated and “big, bright and pleasing voice.” She triumphed in summer 2012 at the Glyndebourne Festival in the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola. The Guardian declared “…this is, quite simply, one of the great operatic performances. It is dominated by DeShong, whose voice combines a contralto opulence with blazing top notes and some of the most staggering coloratura you will ever hear…”


In the current season, DeShong returns to Lyric Opera Chicago where she will be heard as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, a role she performed to great success at the Glyndebourne Festival in 2010. She makes her company debut with Michigan Opera Theatre as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and will be heard with The Cleveland Orchestra in performances of Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. She opened the previous season as Maffio Orsini in Lucrezia Borgia for San Francisco Opera and returned to the Metropolitan Opera where she was heard as Hermia in the new production of The Enchanted Island. Additional performances included Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Veroza Company in Japan and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9with the Akron Symphony.

She began the 2010–2011 season with the New Jersey Symphony and new music director Jacques Lacombe in performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. A graduate of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, she returned to the Lyric stage as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and made her company debut with English National Opera as Maffio Orsini. In the spring, DeShong returned to Toronto, where she was heard in the title role of La Cenerentola and finished the season at the Glyndebourne Festival as Kitchen Boy in Rusalka.

DeShong’s 2009–2010 season opened with her debut for San Francisco Opera as the Page in Salome. She also debuted with Washington National Opera as Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos and returned to the Metropolitan Opera for performances of the High Priestess in Aida. DeShong will perform Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with John Nelson and Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Lisbon, which will later be released on DVD. She makes two further important company debuts this season, performing Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Arizona Opera and concluding her season with performances of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at Santa Fe Opera.

DeShong is a graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she has been heard in several productions including The Barber of Seville (Rosina), Salome (Page), Carmen (Mercédès) and Falstaff (Meg Page). Other recent performance credits include her debut with the Canadian Opera Company as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Meg Page at Opera Company of Philadelphia, Marilyn Klinghoffer in The Death of Klinghoffer (Perelman Theater in Philadelphia), soloist in Manuel de Falla’s El amore brujo (Ravinia Festival with Chicago Youth Symphony), and leading roles in operas of Purcell, Strauss, and Britten. Her debut season at The Metropolitan Opera included productions La Rondine and Rusalka. DeShong has also been a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra in Parsifal (conducted by Pierre Boulez), Debussy’s La damoiselle élue and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9(Blossom Music Festival). She has been heard at Wolf Trap Opera as Komponist and as Ruggiero in Alcina.

DeShong was awarded first prize by the American Opera Society of Chicago and has also received the Union League Competition’s Rose Ann Grundman Award (2006), the Musicians Club of Women’s Edith Newfield Scholarship (2006), the Sullivan Foundation Award (2006), and the 2007 Musicians Club of Women’s Lynne Harvey Scholarship. In 2001, she was Grand Prize Winner of the Tennessee-based Orpheus National Music Competition. She also holds awards from the Dayton Opera Guild, National Association of Teachers of Singing and Opera Columbus. DeShong is an alumna of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music.