Chrystal E. Williams
Chrystal E. Williams (she/her/hers)
Acclaimed as “a singer of rare power and clarity” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), Chrystal E. Williams is “a joy to listen to and watch – the complete package” (Bachtrack). The 2020-2021 season saw Ms. Williams make multiple house debuts including Minnesota Opera as the Stewardess in Jonathan Dove’s Flight and Seattle Opera and Pittsburgh Opera as Rebecca Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, a role she created with Opera Philadelphia and has since sung with numerous companies both in the US and UK. She was also slated to premiere the role of Holly in John Glover and Kelley Rourke’s new opera Stay with On Site Opera, debut the role of Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw with IlluminArts and perform as a soloist in both Bernstein’s Songfest with the Seattle Symphony (COVID19) and George Crumb’s The River of Life with Orchestra 2001. Ms. Williams recently made her company and role debut as Carmen with Opera North, joined Opera Delaware/Delaware Symphony Orchestra for a New Year’s Eve Gala (COVID19), joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for the UK premiere of Dett’s The Ordering of Moses, returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Maketaten in Akhnaten, makes her role debut as Fricka in Das Rheingold with Birmingham Opera Company, and made her Bard Summerscape debut as Carlotta in Die Schweigsame Frau. During the 2022-23 season, Ms. Williams returns to the English National Opera to make her mainstage debut as Helen in Tippett’s King Priam(COVID19) and Nefertiti in Akhnaten, makes a company debut at Dayton Opera as Rebecca Parker in Yardbird, returns to On Site Opera as the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and returns to Maryland Opera as Orlofsky in Act 2 of Die Fledermaus.
Ms. Williams made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the fall of 2019 as Maketaten in Philip Glass’ Akhnaten. She has also sung the role of Charlotte in Werther with both Opera Delaware and Baltimore Concert Opera. For the Birmingham Opera Company, she has performed as Katerina in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Dido in Dido and Aeneas and Hannah in Michael Tippett’s The Ice Break under the direction of Graham Vick. She debuted with the Washington National Opera as Elizabeth Keckley/Coretta Scott King in Philip Glass’ Appomattox, created the role of Yvette in the world premiere of Eric Sawyer’s The Garden of Martyrs with Live in Concert, Inc., debuted as Linda in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars with the Glimmerglass Festival, and portrayed Mary/Pearl in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star with On Site Opera. She has also sung Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Sarasota Opera and the Northern Lights Music Festival, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Knoxville Opera, and Olga in Eugene Onegin with the Northern Lights Music Festival.
As a concert soloist, Ms. Williams has appeared with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra (Egypt), Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), Springfield Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Projects, Virginia Symphony, Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, New Jersey Master Chorale and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. She made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut under Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Bach’s Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150.
Ms. Williams’ ingenuity and gifts have been acknowledged by numerous organizations including the Classical Post (Most Innovative Singer-Mezzo-Soprano), the Musical Fund Society (Career Grant Award) and the 2020 International Opera Awards (Young Singer Nominee) among others. She won First Prize and the Audience’s Choice Award at the 2014 Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition in Sweden and was the winner of Astral Artists’ 2014 National Council Auditions.
Ms. Williams was selected to be a Young Artist at The Glimmerglass Festival in the summer of 2012. She is an alumna of the Academy of Vocal Arts and holds a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from the Yale School of Music and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Voice Performance from Carnegie Mellon University. Ms. Williams also founded the Chrystal E. Williams scholarship in 2004 which helps students wishing to pursue careers in the performing arts.