Noted as having a voice of “dark, focused fury,” American mezzo-soprano Nicole Birkland is captivating audiences with her “lush mezzo” and bewitching portrayals of opera’s most famous mezzo-soprano roles.
This past season, she returned to The Metropolitan Opera for their production of Die Zauberflöte, joined the Springfield Symphony Orchestra for Verdi’s Requiem, and performed the roles of Mama/The China Cup/The Dragonfly in L’enfant et les sortilèges with Pacific Symphony. Other recent engagements include role of Mary in Der fliegende Holländer with Opera San José and a return to San Francisco Opera to portray the Third Maidservant in Elektra. She also covered Erda and the 1st Norn as well as performed Schwertleite in San Francisco’s production of Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Birkland first joined the esteemed roster of The Metropolitan Opera for their production of Dmitri Shostakovich’s contemporary masterpiece Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk, and subsequently returned for Jacques Offenbach’s complex favorite Les contes d’Hoffmann, Mozart’s timeless Die Zauberflöte, and Igor Stravinsky’s operatic adaptation of The Rake’s Progress, in which she covered Stephanie Blythe’s Baba the Turk. Other recent engagements include Francesca Zambello’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen with Washington National Opera and Madama Butterfly at Fargo Moorhead Opera, where she reprised her role as Suzuki.
Ms. Birkland, a favorite at Opera San José, has appeared there as Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Gertrud in Hänsel und Gretel, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, La Principessa in Suor Angelica, and Azucena in Il trovatore, where the San José Mercury hailed: “Birkland was a tour de force. It was as if the valve had been opened on a fire hydrant, releasing a torrent of glorious and passionate singing. Birkland rose above the rest of the cast… Her voice was richly and darkly colored throughout its considerable range, from rock-solid bottom to flutelike top. Immersed in the role, she didn’t project her voice so much as propel it, building to this climax… This was a true, dramatic mezzo performance by Birkland, an emerging singer who deserves to be widely heard.”