Chrystal E. Williams, mezzo-soprano

Chrystal E. Williams

Mezzo-soprano Chrystal E. Williams has been described by critics as “strong and so assured,” “lithely negotiating the coloratura demands before descending into a robust low register,” and “poised, polished, in complete command of the vocal calisthenics.” She is the 2020 Musical Fund Society Award winner and winner of Astral’s 2014 National Auditions.

Ms. Williams made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the fall of 2019, as Maketaten in Philip Glass’s Akhnaten. Her 2019-2020 season also included the role of Stewardess in Minnesota Opera’s production of Jonathan Dove’s Flight, performances with New York’s On Site Opera, performances as soloist in Bernstein’s Songfest with the Seattle Symphony, a Southern-U.S. tour as soloist in George Crumb’s The River of Life with Orchestra 2001, and recitals in Michigan, Idaho, and Pennsylvania. Recently, Ms. Williams returned to Birmingham Opera Company (U.K.) as Katerina in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and sings under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (U.K.). She also revisits the role of Rebecca in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD for Atlanta Opera, a role she created for Opera Philadelphia and has also revisited with Arizona Opera, at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and in a co-production with Hackney Empire and English National Opera. She also gave her Merkin Concert Hall recital debut in May 2019.

Beyond the opera stage, Ms. Williams is a passionate advocate of music as a means to foster unity, understanding, and peace. The upcoming season sees the launch of “Forrópera”, which she co-created with duo partner, Brazilian accordionist Felipe Hostins. Forró, meaning “for all”, combines elements of classical music with traditional Brazilian folk music. The Chrystal E. Williams Scholarship was founded by Ms. Williams in 2004, to help students wishing to pursue a career in the performing arts, and is funded in part by her concert, “An Evening with Chrystal E.,” held annually in Norfolk, Virginia.

Ms. Williams is a graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts, where she earned an Artist Diploma in Opera Performance. She 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.