"...(more of her, please)." - Washington Post
Mezzo-soprano Kristen Choi has been hailed by Opera News as a “powerhouse in the making” for her portrayal of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. Her 2019-2020 schedule included two house debuts in this signature role with performances at Opera Omaha and Opera Philadelphia (COVID19). Recent engagements also included a role and house debut with Opera Maine as the Third Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute, as well as, the creation of the title role in a brand-new production of Murasaki's Moon, a completely new work in partnership with On Site Opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2020, Ms. Choi was slated to reprise the role of Lady Thiang in The King and I for her company debut at Piedmont Opera, make her Michigan Opera Theater debut reprising Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and return to Opera Omaha as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (COVID19). During the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Choi will make her Dallas Opera debut as the Stewardess in Flight, her Opera Philadelphia debut in digital commission by Rene Orth and Maddalena in Rigoletto, a return to Washington National Opera as Phoung Tran in a workshop of The Rift by Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang, her Dayton Philharmonic debut as the alto soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and her HALO debut as Annina in La traviata. In the fall of 2022, she returns to Opera Philadelphia in a project TBA and in 2023, she makes her Michigan Opera Theatre debut, rejoins Opera Omaha, and will return to Opera Philadelphia in a role TBA in 2024.
Ms. Choi began her 2018-2019 season on tour with the Lincoln Center Broadway Production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I as an ensemble member and Lady Thiang understudy. After six months with Lincoln Center she performed consecutive Suzukis, first with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and then with Virginia Opera. Her time in Virginia also included a role debut as Hiroko Kobayashi in Jack Perla's An American Dream.
The 2017-2018 season was a banner year for Ms. Choi. Highlights included her Kennedy Center debut where she made a lauded reprisal of her signature role in Jun Kaneko's production of Madame Butterfly at Washington National Opera. It also featured her first foray into the European market, where she performed Paquette in Bernstein's Candide with the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and the Opéra National de Bordeaux. New roles entered into her repertoire included Hermia in Virginia Opera's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Ruth Sherwood in Bernstein's Wonderful Town with the Seattle Symphony. She also made a return to Santa Fe Opera as an apprentice, where she performed in the ensemble of the world premiere of Mason Bates's Opera, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.
Engagements in the 2015-2016 season included Cherubino in Sarasota Opera's Le nozze di Figaro and Paquette in Glimmerglass Opera's stunning production of Bernstein's Candide, directed by Francesca Zambello. The summer marked her first stint with Santa Fe Opera, where she made her house debut singing the role of Wowkle in Puccini's La fanciulla del West. In the 2013-2014 season Ms. Choi was an emerging artist with Virginia Opera where she sang the role of the Third Spirit in The Magic Flute, and covered the roles of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and Meg Page in Falstaff. That summer she portrayed the independent heroine, Jo, from one of the most beloved stories in American literature, Little Women at Opera North. She also grew her pedigree in the realm of musical theatre with a staggering eighty-five performances of Lady Thiang in Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I.
Previously Ms. Choi completed an apprenticeship with Sarasota Opera where she had the distinct honor of performing original, pre-revised music from Verdi's Falstaff, as the character of Meg Page, in Sarasota Opera's “Verdi's Times” concert. Other past work includes numerous runs as the quintessential mezzo seductress Carmen, singing the arias and scenes with full orchestration. Additional roles include: Dorabella (Così fan tutte) with Pacific Opera Project, Zerlina (Don Giovanni) with West Bay Opera, St. Teresa II (Four Saints in Three Acts) with Opera Parallèle in San Francisco, Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) with BASOTI (Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute), the Old Prioress (Dialogues of the Carmelites) and Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Awards and honors include: Lotte Lenya Competition Semi-finalist, San Diego Metropolitan National Council District, encouragement award from the MONC Regionals, Career Bridges Grant, Jensen Foundation Finalist, scholarship with the Pasadena Opera Guild and East Bay Opera League in Oakland, California. Ms. Choi placed first in the vocal category of the Coeur d'Alene Young Artist Competition and is the recipient of the Lisa Kavelage award from the Henry and Maria Holt Competition. In 2010 she won third place in the Y.E.S. Foundation for the arts competition in San Francisco, California. Ms. Choi has also performed several concerts as a mezzo-soloist including a performance with the Y.M.F orchestra of Mahler's Rückert Lieder. A native of California, Ms. Choi holds a master's degree of music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.