"A vivid, fearless presence..."

The New York Times

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AT A GLANCE

BIOGRAPHICAL 

  • Of Cuban-American heritage, born in Georgia, raised in Miami, Caracas (Venezuela) and Lake Jackson, TX

  • Alumna of Louisiana State University (BME) and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, CCM (MM)

  • Was a Fulbright Scholar at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria

  • Is Associate Professor of Voice at the Yale School of Music

  • Lives in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters, and handsome pup

FUN TO KNOW

  • Fell in love with Mozart at the age of 12, singing at the same time with an alt pop cover band

  • Was a high school percussionist and drum major

  • Attempts to communicate in five languages

  • Is a big fan of tennis, jazz, and art history

  • Granddaughter of a Cuban left handed pitcher who played for the New York Giants

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • More than 50 operatic roles in the U.S. and beyond (7 world premieres & 3 U.S. premieres)

  • European debut as Mercedes in Valencia under both Lorin Maazel and Zubin Mehta

  • Created the role of Sister James in Doubt, with Denyce Graves and Christine Brewer, aired on PBS’ Great Performances

  • World premiere recording of Pauline Viardot’s Le Dernier Sorcier with Jamie Barton, Eric Owens, and Camille Zamora

  • Ongoing performances as Nadia Boulanger in the chamber music play, Nadia

 

BIOGRAPHY

​​Adriana Zabala is acclaimed for operatic, concert and recital performances throughout the U.S. and abroad. The New York Times has hailed her as “a vivid, fearless presence,” and the L.A. Times as “an extraordinary, vibrant mezzo-soprano.” In addition to traditional operatic roles such as Cherubino and Rosina, Ms. Zabala has created characters in distinctive new works such as Sister James in Cuomo and Shanley’s Doubt (recently broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances), Rosie Cheney in Puts and Campbell’s The Manchurian Candidate, Erminella in Musto and Campbell’s Volpone, the title character in Aldridge and Garfein’s Sister Carrie, Manja in Cohen and Brevoort’s Steal a Pencil for Me, and Lucy Talbott in Bolcom and Campbell’s Dinner at Eight.


In U.S. premieres, the mezzo was heard as Amore in L’Albore di Diana, the title role in Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, and received international acclaim for her role in Glass’ Waiting for the Barbarians with Austin Opera. She recently joined Arizona Opera as Paula in Florencia en el Amazonas, reprised the role with both San Diego and Madison Opera, sang Nicklausse in Les Contes D’Hoffmann, also with Madison Opera, and sang the role of Joanna in the revival of Carly Simon’s Romulus Hunt with Nashville Opera. She made her role debut as Mary Johnson in Spears' Fellow Travelers with Minnesota Opera, and reprised the role with Madison Opera. Ms. Zabala made her European operatic debut in Valencia, Spain under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel at the Opera Palau des Arts, and returned the following season for two productions conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta.

She has been a soloist with the New York Festival of Song, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New Jersey Symphony, the Jerusalem Symphony, the Jacksonville Symphony, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Elijah with Bryn Terfel, among others. Recent engagements include Mahler’s Symphony no.2 with The Minnesota Orchestra and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, The Mozart Requiem with both the Florida Bach Festival and the Jacksonville Symphony, the world premiere of Jeffrey Van’s Reaping the Whirlwind with the Susquehanna Valley Chorale, the title role in Annelies, an Anne Frank Oratorio, with both the Minnesota Oratorio Society and at Montclair State University, Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 with Handel & Haydn Society of Boston, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with both the Colorado Symphony and with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In recital, Ms. Zabala has performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Barns at Wolf Trap, with the Source Song Festival, and on the Salzburg International Chamber Music Series, among many others. Her collaboration with composer and pianist Gregg Kallor is highly praised for their recording and performances of his compositions on the CD Exhilaration: Dickinson and Yeats Songs. Zabala and Kallor have performed this program in New York City, Minneapolis, and Salzburg, and on the Tuesday Musical of Akron guest artist series. Additional recent recordings include unpublished songs of Louis Durey, and world premiere recordings of Pauline Viardot’s Le Dernier Sorcier, and song cycles of Dominick Argento. Zabala also plays the title role in the chamber music play, Nadia, about the legendary pedagogue, conductor, and composer Nadia Boulanger.

Upcoming and recent engagements include Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado, the world premiere of Paola Prestini and Mark Campbell’s The Miraculous Adventure of Edward Tulane, Orestes in La Belle Hélène with the Lakes Area Music Festival, Mary in Fellow Travelers with Madison Opera, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw with On Site Opera in New York City, Beethoven’s Mass in C with Phoenix Symphony, and numerous recitals, including with the Cincinnati Song Initiative.

 

Adriana Zabala was born in Georgia and raised in Florida, Venezuela, and Texas. She is an alumna of apprentice programs at Tanglewood, Minnesota Opera, Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Ms. Zabala was an Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Minnesota, where she taught applied voice, graduate vocal literature, and Vive les Arts!, a Global Seminar in Paris. She is currently an Associate Professor of Voice at the Yale School of Music.

 

SELECTED REPERTOIRE

OPERA & MORE

Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro)- Mozart
Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte)- Mozart
Despina (Cosi dan tutte)- Mozart
Zerlina (Don Giovanni)- Mozart
Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia)- Rossini
Angelina (La Cenerentola)- Rossini
Romeo (I capuletti e i Montecchi)- Bellini
Stéphano (Romeo et Juliette)- Gounod
Niklausse (Les contes d’Hoffmann)- Offenbach
Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos)- Strauss
Paula (Florencia en el amazonas)- Catán
Sister Carrie (Sister Carrie)- Aldridge
Lucy Talbott (Dinner at Eight)- Bolcom
Erminella (Volpone)- Musto
Desiree (A Little Night Music)- Sondheim
Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd)- Sondheim
Madeline (Three Decembers)- Heggie

CHAMBER

Chausson Chanson Perpetuelle

Copland In the Beginning
Ravel Chanson madécasses
Ravel Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé
Debussy Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé
Debussy Chansons de Bilitis (arranged for string quartet)
Wolf Italienisches Liederbuch (arranged for string quartet)
Respighi Il Tramonto

CONCERT & ORATORIO

Bach

Mass in B Minor

St. Matthew Passion

St. John Passion

Magnificat

Beethoven

Missa Solemnis

Mass in C

Symphony no. 9

Handel Messiah

Mozart Requiem

Rossini Stabat Mater

Pergolesi Stabat Mater

Mahler Symphony no. 2

Mahler Symphony no. 3

Duruflé Requiem

Falla El sombrero de tres picos

SONG

Lieder:

Wolf, Shubert, C. Schumann, R. Schumann

Mélodie:

Viardot, Faure, Debussy, Hahn, Boulanger, Poulenc

Spanish Song:

Falla, Granados, Rodrigo, Guridi, Turina, Nin, Montsalvatge

Latin American Song: 

Lecuona, Lopez-Buchardo, Ginastera, 

Guastavino, Plaza

English Song:

Purcell, Dowland, Britten, Gurney, Quilter, Finzi

American Song: 

Copland, Rorem, Musto, Kallor, Larsen, Argento

Musical Theater:

Sondheim, Weill, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Bernstein, Porter

 
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TEACHING

Adriana Zabala is an Associate Professor of Voice at Yale University School of Music. Prior to her appointment at Yale, she enjoyed a decade-long tenure at the University of Minnesota. Her students perform and teach throughout the world.

PHILOSOPHY & INSPIRATION

"The art of music is so deep and profound that to approach it very seriously only is not enough…"

 

Through her legendary rigorous teaching, seasoned with joyful energy, Nadia Boulanger transformed her own life and those of her students. I first learned about her as an undergraduate, and her philosophy and approach continue to inspire me as an artist and professor. I believe, as Boulanger espoused, in the power of art to inspire and change communities and individual lives, and in holding myself and the aspiring professionals whom I mentor to exceptional standards. In respect to these values, I strive at the core to honor the humanity in each of us, so that students might proceed with confidence, depth and joy as they realize their creative and professional potential in the world of opera and beyond; and as they, the vanguard, practice, strengthen and transform the power of art for generations to come.

 

"…One must approach music with a serious rigor and, at the same time, with a great, affectionate joy!"
 

Here Boulanger’s imperative deeply resonates with my steadfast dedication to our art and those who are committed to pursuing it in meaningful ways. I love working with singers of many stages, abilities and aspirations. I have grown as a person and as a teaching artist in my ongoing exploration of the innumerable challenges and wonders of professional vocal development. My advocacy and commitment for my students and for our art are unwavering and continue to find nourishment in the studio, in the performance arena and in the world at large. I believe teaching and learning are among the great joys in life, and I am inspired and invigorated to continue the pursuit of both, in our remarkable art, with wonderful colleagues and curious, bright and creative young artists for many years to come.

Copyright 2020 Adriana Zabala. All rights reserved. 

Website by Melissa Zgouridi Studios

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