British dramatic soprano Elisabeth Meister is an alumna of the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Since her graduation she has performed to great acclaim the title roles of Aïda and Lucrezia Borgia and Elisabeth in Tannhäuser.
British dramatic soprano Elisabeth Meister is an alumna of the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Since her graduation she has performed on the stages of Royal Opera House, Lyric Opera Chicago and Teatro Municipal de Santiago and most recently she made a sensational debut at La Monnaie, when she was called at very short notice to step in and sing the titile role of Lucrezia Borgia:
“Meister’s command was so total and so overwhelming that there was an audible sense of electricity in the house, as she detonated one explosive high note after another, but then suddently displayed staggering agility, stunning breath control, hushed and beautiful pianissimos and every other vocal weapon in her considerable arsenal.”
Anthony Lias, Opera Britannia, March 2013
Recent operatic engagements include Pale Lady The Gambler, Fox The Cunning Little Vixen, High Priestess Aïda, Costanza L’isola Disabitata, First Lady Die Zauberflöte and Dama Macbeth, all for Royal Opera House, where she also covered the title roles in Der Rosenkavalier, Aïda and Anna Nicole, as well as Polina The Gambler and Ellen Orford Peter Grimes. She performed to great acclaim the titles roles of Aïda and Lucrezia Borgia for Teatro Municipal de Santiago and sang First Lady Die Zauberflöte and covered the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos for Chicago Lyric Opera.
A well‐established concert artist, her repertoire includes Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Dvořák Stabat Mater, Elgar Caractacus, The Dream of Gerontius and The Kingdom, Mahler Eighth Symphony, Mendelssohn Elijah, Mozart C Minor Mass and Requiem, Orff Carmina Burana, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle and Stabat Mater, Tippett A Child of our Time, Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony and Verdi Requiem, among many other works.
Most recently, Elisabeth Meister has made her debut at the Royal Festival Hall with a premiere of Torsten Rasch’s song cycle Mein Herz Brennt, with René Pape and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
As a recitalist, she has performed Britten’s Cabaret Songs, Grieg’s Opus 48, Strauss’ Opus 48, Ebel’s As I Walk From Her Grave (world premiere), Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, Csanyi‐Wills’ The Last Letter (world premiere) and Berg’s Sieben Frühe Lieder.
Engagements in the 2012-13 season include her role debut as Elisabeth Tannhäuser for Teatro Municipal de Santiago and returns to the Royal Opera House as Helmwige, Third Norn and cover Sieglinde in the revival of Keith Warner’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, as Ker The Minotaur and covering Susan Bullock in the title role of Britten’s Gloriana. On the concert platform, she performs at the Royal Opera House’s Extraordinary Gala marking the Queen’s Jubilee alongside Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu and Bryn Terfel and makes her Carnegie Hall debut with performances of Beethoven Symphony No.9 and Missa Solemnis as part of a US tour with the Monteverdi Choir and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique under Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Other highlights include a performance of Beethoven Symphony No.9 conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth at the St Endellion Easter Festival and a recital appereance during the London Song Festival.
Elisabeth Meister is represented by Intermusica.
March 2013 / 507 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
Lora in Wagner Die Feen / Chelsea Opera Group
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London / cond. Dominic Wheeler
“As the princess Lora, the British dramatic soprano Elisabeth Meister proved a singer of astonishing power, authority and force of personality. We were as entranced as by Weber's Agathe; and when she breaks out in rapture, she surely is Agathe.
In a cast of almost universal individual talent, brilliant, searing, immensely appealing, it was Meister who most stood out. Her driving coloratura was out of this world. Lora's arias are perhaps bigger than those of Senta, Elsa or Elisabeth. Meister's 'Kleinmütige! Warum sogleich verzagen?' initiates a pair of long recitatives, or ariosi, of immense compulsion and imagination.”
Roderic Dunnett, Daily Classical Music, April 2013
“Lora was sung with great joy and abandon by the… impressive Elisabeth Meister who enhanced even further her burgeoning reputation. Her soprano has a bright sound and fearsome attack… That she also has a good nature was evident from her encouragement and applause for her fellow soprano, Kirstin Sharpin…”
Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard International, March 2013
“…Elisabeth Meister a striking Lora.”
Martin Kettle, Guardian, March 2013
“Elisabeth Meister’s voice and dramatic presence are already the real thing; hers was undoubtedly the star turn of the evening. Not only did her voice stand head and shoulders above the others in ensembles, her dramatic commitment as Lora, Arindal’s sister, could be sensed and indeed seen throughout.”
Mark Berry, Boulezian & Opera Today
, March 2013
“Elisabeth Meister, whom we all know and love, and who was a superlative Lora.”
Doundou Tchil, Classical Iconoclast, March 2013
“…but Elisabeth Meister as Arindal’s sister Lora chimed in strongly, and her solo expressing the brave hope of seeing her brother again drew spontaneous applause. This suddenly moved the performance to a higher level.”
Mark Ronan, Mark Ronan’s Theatre Reviews, March 2013
“Part of the improvement in Act II came about with the introduction of Elisabeth mesiter to proceedings of Arindal’s sister, Lora. Meister just waltzed in and flooded the auditorium with a stream of glorious sound – quite a gleaming, metallic timbre to my ears – and a degree of dramatic commitment which had been previously absent in the performance thus far. Lora only has one significant solo – a rallying cry to the besieged warriors of their kingdom – but the immediate impact that Meister made on the performance either made her colleagues feel more secure or forced them to ‘up their game.’”
Mark Pullinger, Opera Britannia, March 2013
“…Elisabeth Meister an ideal Brünnhilde in the making.”
David Nice, The Arts Desk, March 2013
Lucrezia Borgia in Donizetti Lucrezia Borgia / La Monnaie
cond. Julian Reynolds / dir. Guy Joosten
“Meister’s command was so total and so overwhelming that there was an audible sense of electricity in the house, as she detonated one explosive high note after another, but then suddenly displayed staggering agility, stunning breath control, hushed and beautiful pianissimos and every other vocal weapon in her considerable arsenal. All of this was done from the pit as the performance was acted by Anneleen Jacobs. The audience and I were left speechless at the sheer totality of her achievement and she was greeted at the opera’s end with a roar of approval from an unsuspecting audience. THIS is why we go to the opera; to be thrilled, to be moved and occasionally to witness something even rarer - the birth of a new diva.”
Anthony Lias, Opera Britannia, March 2013
Ker in Birtwistle The Minotaur / Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
cond. Ryan Wigglesworth / dir. Stephen Langridge
“Peculiarly it was Elisabeth Meister’s caterwauling and wing-slapping Ker that was the most impressive of the principal singers”.
Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard International, January 2013
“Elizabeth Meister was allowed to let rip as the head of the Keres, resulting in a spectacular portrait of sheer terror”.
David Karlin, One Stop Arts, January 2013.
“The splendid Elizabeth Meister, who leads a thrilling pack of heart-munching Harpies, is saddled with pretty much the same text each time she appears, while the librettist’s wordy celebration of human viscera (“tripes and lights”) smacks of the synonym dictionary. There were times when it felt like 'Thesaurus and the Minotaur'”.
Mark Valencia, Classical Source, January 2013
Title role in Verdi Aïda / Teatro Municipal de Santiago
“Elisabeth Meister stands out in the title role. Aïda offers a splendid opportunity to display the vocal abilities for a lirico spinto with something of a soprano dramatica, such as messa di voce in her two major arias and two great duets, fiato largo, piano and pianissimo, fortissimo. Meister showed a lyric line with beautiful top notes, suitable qualifications and consistent projection, which gain control from the Nile act onward, making a compelling deliverance in the tomb duet.”
Andrew Yaksic, El Mercurio, November 2011
“The role of Aïda, sung by Elisabeth Meister, was lavish in musicality, showing a line of beautiful and expressive singing, her fortes are powerful, and her pianissimi of great beauty, adding to the above a very convincing performance, aspects that made her widely successful. We will not forget the aria "Ritorna vincitor" where she reflected all the ambiguity of feelings; something similar happened in "O Patria mia", which was very moving; also Act Three, which she showed great ambivalence, and her final scene.”
Gilberto Ponce Vera, visionescriticas.cl, November 2011
Jette Parker Young Artist’s Summer Performance 2011
“Soprano Elisabeth Meister (Lucrezia) and bass Lukas Jakobski (Duke Alfonso) astonished in their highly dramatic scene. Jakobski's effortless bass voice is a wonderful tool and was well matched by Meister’s musicality and technical assurance. Both of these artists would bring quality to any of the world's opera houses.”
Agnes Kory, Musical Criticism, 2011
“This scene was executed superbly well. As Lucrezia, Elisabeth Meister had a thrilling, full-throated delivery of tingle-factor excitement; a glorious voice. The Alfonso of Lukas Jacobski was full of brooding menace, a figure of palpable evil. He could well be a terrific Sparafucile, the assassin in Verdi’s Rigoletto. Like Meister, Jacobski is a fine actor as well as possessing a marvellous voice. They drew sparks off each other in stage and musical chemistry.”
Michael Darvell, Classical Source, 2011
“Elisabeth Meister is a worthy successor [to Joan Sutherland] to sing the Borgia, as her blistering soprano easily scaled the heights of the role, throwing off fiendishly difficult and stentorianly powerful top Cs with nonchalant ease. Her cabaletta “Oh! a te bada, a te stresso pon mente” was a vicious flurry of coloratura, which quite stole the show and took my breath away. Having heard practically every young artist Covent Garden has produced on both the Jette Parker and Albert Vilar programmes, I can sincerely say that I have yet to hear a singer quite so impressive. She is also an adept actress, who inhabits her roles totally, rather than merely applying a veneer of artistic credibility to the surface. This Lucrezia was a dangerous vamp who offered a masterclass in bel canto singing – oh to have heard her sing the “Era desso”. No wonder the Chicago Lyric Opera have snapped her up.”
Antony Lias, Opera Britannia, 2011
“Elisabeth Meister’s Lucrezia stomped about imperiously and embodied well both villainy and motherly concern. Her vocal security and volume were impressive, as was her Alfonso, Lukas Jakobski’s, imposing height and brooding menace. Together Meister and Jakobski showed great stage chemistry.”
Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard International, 2011
“One high point was the tense scene from Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia that opened part two...Elisabeth Meister was a Lucrezia to reckon with – what a commanding figure this fine soprano has become during her Jette Parker years!”
Mark Valencia, Whats on Stage, 2011
Lady-in-waiting in Verdi Macbeth / Royal Opera House
“Elisabeth Meister, a Jette Parker Young Artist, demonstrated an intelligent appreciation of the musical and dramatic demands of the role; she’s an intelligent singer who knows when to bring forth the finer details and when to blend with the ensemble.”
Claire Seymour, Opera Today, Spring 2011
Mahler Symphony No. 8 / Royal Albert Hall
“...the best singer by far was Elisabeth Meister as a radiant Penitent.”
Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard International, May 2011
“Elisabeth Meister’s luxurious and powerful dramatic soprano arched some impressive phrases throughout the cavernous auditorium and clearly relished the challenges of those terrifying top Cs. This is a voice absolutely made for Strauss, as the heft of the voice is never compromised by the timbre...in Meister’s case vocal beauty and refulgence of tone go hand in hand.”
Antony Lias, Opera Britannia, May 2011
“Elisabeth Meister, is a rare combination of pragmatism, serious intent, personal warmth and infectious energy...Meister’s success is obviously a combination of long-term planning, intensive hard work and training.”
Claire Seymour, Opera Today
Haydn L’isola disabitata / Linbruy Studio, Royal Opera House
“Elisabeth Meister ... was, for me, the real find of this production. This is a very special voice which I began to envisage in Wagner and indeed as Turandot. What a privilege to hear a soprano who I hope will be a future star.”
Miranda Jackson, Opera Britannia, October 2010
Jette Parker Young Artist’s Summer Performance 2010
“Elisabeth Meister’s antics as Mariandel made her the centre of attention when she was on stage – and this was repeated every time she was involved in something...she gave a very moving portrayal of Capriccio’s Countess Madeleine throughout the ensuing duel for her affections by way of the debate about what has supremacy in opera, the words or the music...[she] seemed really at home in the piece performing Marietta with all the gawky, laddish, enthusiasm of the up-and-coming TV comedienne Miranda Hart.”
Jim Pritchard, MusicWeb International
Sure on this Shining Night / Dulwich Choral Society
“You assume that you have the measure of her talent, when in fact you have only experienced but a fraction of it...One suspects that there is not another dramatic soprano performing today who has quite such a lustrous, yet ferociously incisive top...It was a prodigious performance that made you want to leap out of your chair screaming bravo...Meister isn’t just a prodigious voice, she is also an excellent communicator of the text and a vivid personality to boot ...”
Antony Lias, Opera Britannia, June 2010
Voice of the High Preistess in Verdi Aïda / Royal Opera House
“...the most consistently musical singing comes from the off-stage Priestess...the ever-excellent Elisabeth Meister.”
Keith McDonnell, Music OMH, Spring 2010
“Elisabeth Meister delivered a magnificently sung High Priestess, producing perhaps the most beautiful and attractive singing of the entire evening...Judging by the size of the instrument and the confidence with which it is used, Aida would certainly be well within her own personal capabilities. And it wouldn’t be the first time a High Priestess went on to sing the lead role.”
Antony Lias, Opera Britannia, Spring 2010
“Elisabeth Meister provided some of the best singing of the evening as High Priestess.”
Dominic McHugh, Musical Criticism, Spring 2010
The Fox in Janáček The Cunning Little Vixen / Royal Opera House
“Elisabeth Meister saved the day and made an auspicious debut as the Fox. She has a bright, laser-like soprano and unlike most mezzos who insist on singing this role, encountered no problems with the high-lying tessitura of the part. She is definitely a name to watch.”
Keith McDonnell, Music OMH, Spring 2010
“Elisabeth Meister, a substitution as the fox, was full of manly swagger enjoyably over-compensating for his shyness around Sharp Ears (and a mix of steel and elegance in Meister’s soprano suggests a big career ahead).”
James Inverne, Gramophone, Spring 2010
“The pressure was on, but stand-in Elisabeth Meister delivered a flawless masterclass in under-study professionalism.”
Dan Keel, News Shopper, Spring 2010
“The entry of the Fox (Elisabeth Meister) at the end of Act Two heralded the fist sign of something special stirring on stage. Remarkably, Meister was a last minute stand-in. Her boyish vitality put the rest of the cast to shame.”
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk, Spring 2010
“Meister sailed through the tessitura which taxes mezzo-sopranos far too unkindly, but which offers the secure soprano some beautiful moments in the upper reaches of the middle register. More importantly, Meister brought personality to the stage. Her tom-boyish Fox bristled with energy and was rewarded by a very enthusiastic reception from the audience. She is a natural stage animal and her debut was undoubtedly an important one.”
Anthony Lias, Opera Britannia, Spring 2010
“At very short notice her understudy Elisabeth Meister was promoted from singing a minor role and it is to the enormous credit of both herself and the professionalism of Covent Garden that she gave an excellently poised and confident performance. Her voice and actions blended in particularly well in the scenes with Emma Matthews as the Vixen.”
William Hartston, Daily Express, Spring 2010
"A terrific supporting cast included notable contributions from Elisabeth Meister, an excellent late substitute as the Fox."
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, Spring 2010
“All praise to understudy Elisabeth Meister for taking over the role of the Fox so admirably at 24 hours’ notice."
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, Spring 2010
“Whatever [Charles Mackerras’] secret, his triumph should be shouted from the rooftops, as should that of Elisabeth Meister. She stepped in to sing the Fox at the last minute on Friday and made a great splash with her rich, powerful upper register and swaggering acting.”
Warwick Thompson, Metro, Spring 2010
“There are some vital performances, with Elisabeth Meister stepping up on the first night as cover for the Fox to present it with energy and definition.”
George Hall, The Stage, Spring 2010
“Elisabeth Meister ... proved a winning replacement, moving in her love for the Vixen: an anthropomorphic fantasy, maybe, but an irresistible one.”
Mark Berry, Opera Today, Spring 2010
“Special credit to Elisabeth Meister, who stood in as the Fox at barely a day's notice. She's charismatic, a born actress with genuine presence, particularly as she's very young and still a Jette Parker Young Artist. Definitely a debut to remember.”
Classissima, Spring 2010
Verdi Requiem / Cadogan Hall
“Anja Harteros and Sondra Radvanovsky lead the field today with some exemplary singing, bringing with them a sense of style and Verdian panache. In the not too distant future I feel absolutely certain that Elisabeth Meister will join their company. Although she is currently a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at The Royal Opera, her soprano solo in the Verdi Requiem was amongst the most thrilling performances I have ever heard. In full cry it is a staggering voice. She wielded unyielding power, with a mighty top that ripped through the combined forces of the orchestra and the chorus during the climactic octave assent to a tumultuous high C in the Libera me. Her urgent reading of the score was the perfect fusion of drama and exemplary singing. I was nailed to my seat. But it is not all about blood and thunder with Meister, the notorious pianissimo high B Flat (marked pppp) in the same section was taken with exquisite poise, perfectly placed and delivered with exceptional purity of tone. Meister’s middle register is positively stentorian at full steam, but the top, whilst similarly powerful, is distinguished by its size and beauty. Most dramatic sopranos tend to veer towards either the bright and the penetrating or the ugly and brutal in their upper register, whereas Meister has more in common with the likes of Sutherland at the very top, by producing endless streams of golden, powerful tone. If this is the quality we can expect from her right now as a “young artist” at Covent Garden, the mind boggles at the future possibilities. Catch her whilst you can, because this young soprano is destined for the very top.”
Anthony Lias, Opera Britannia, March 2010
The Truth About Love / Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House
“Meister is bold, ironic and characterful.”
Mark Valencia, Whats on Stage, October 2009
“There was more dramatic spark and invention in soprano Elisabeth Meister’s singing of Britten’s Tell me the truth about love than there had been in the entirety of Rupert Goold’s staging of Turandot down the road - and what a singer she proved to be. She has faultless diction, is a superb actress and despite all three characters looking as they were just making their way home from a particularly uneventful night at the Torture Garden, managed to overcome the Miss Whiplash appearance to show a true sense of vulnerability. Maybe it helped that she was the only one singing in English, but she certainly made a hugely favourable impression.”
Keith McDonnell, Music OMH, October 2009
“One or two of the juxtapositions made one sit up and the big-voice, PVC-clad soprano Elisabeth Meister certainly did, storming through the saga of Johnny.”
Edward Seckerson, Independent, October 2009
“Elisabeth Meister was the runaway success of this show, with a pretty astonishing dramatic soprano, bags of character and one hell of a whistle! It is without exception, the most promising Young Artist I have yet seen. Dressed in PVC and all manner of S&M accoutrements, she was certainly visually very striking, but that was nothing compared to her powerful, incisive and cleaving soprano. Her rendition of the Britten Cabaret Songs was wry, cheeky, despondent and frankly crazy. You can well understand why Johnny kept his distance from this young lady! Her manic Calypso was fast and furious, the very epitome of New York mania, whilst the operatic pastiche from Johnny was delivered with a huge punch to the Linbury audience.”
Anthony Lias, Opera Britannia, October 2009