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[audio:http://www.uzanartists.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Nicole-Birkland-Condotta-ellera-in-ceppi-from-Il-Trovatore.mp3]

“Condotta ell’era in ceppi,” Verdi’s Il trovatore

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Tchaikovsky’s Net, tol’ko tot kto znal

“Condotta ell’era in ceppi,” Verdi’s Il trovatore

Tchaikovsky’s Net, tol’ko tot kto znal

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Nicole Birkland

Mezzo-Soprano

Noted as having a voice of “dark, focused fury,” Nicole Birkland is captivating audiences with her “lush mezzo” and bewitching portrayals of opera’s most famous mezzo-soprano roles. This season, she will be performing the role of Mary in Der fliegende Holländer with Opera San José and returning to San Francisco Opera to portray the 3rd Maidservant in Elektra and Schwertleite in their production of Der Ring des Nibelungen. Birkland joined the esteemed roster of The Metropolitan Opera for productions of Dimitri Shostakovich’s contemporary masterpiece Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk, Jacques Offenbach’s complex favorite Les contes d’Hoffmann, and Igor Stravinsky’s operatic adaptation of The Rake’s Progress, in which she covered Stephanie Blythe’s Baba the Turk. She later returned to the Metropolitan for productions of Die Zauberflöte and Der fliegende Holländer. She also recently sang in Francesca Zambello’s production of Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen with Washington National Opera and reprised her role as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at Fargo Moorhead Opera.

Sep
2017

Sep-09
to
Sep-27
Elektra
3rd Maidservant
San Francisco Opera
San Francisco, CA
Feb
2018

Feb-10
to
Feb-25
Der fliegende Holländer
Mary
Opera San Jose
San Jose, CA
Jun
2018

Jun-12
to
Jul-01
Ring Cycle
Schwertleite
San Francisco Opera
San Francisco, CA
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…a torrent of glorious and passionate singing…
Il trovatore “Opera San Jose’s ‘Il trovatore’ features Nicole Birkland, a tour de force in opening night cast…A resident artist this season, Birkland sings the signature role of Azucena, the wronged and vengeful Gypsy woman…after watching Birkland’s hair-raising performance Saturday — opening night for “Trovatore” at the California Theatre — one understands the buildup. Birkland was a tour de force. It was as if the valve had been opened on a fire hydrant, releasing a torrent of glorious and passionate singing. Birkland rose above the rest of the cast, most notably in Act II’s famous Gypsy camp scene, where Azucena sings two celebrated numbers: “Stride la vampa” (“The blaze is crackling”) and “Condotta ell’era in ceppi” (“She was led in chains”)… The plot has its absurdities, but the music is spectacular: Verdi in flight. As was Birkland, arriving on stage with clenched fists and contorted face, a vision of pent-up fury. Her voice was richly and darkly colored throughout its considerable range, from rock-solid bottom to flutelike top. Immersed in the role, she didn’t project her voice so much as propel it, building to this climax: “My son, my son, I burned my son” This was a true, dramatic mezzo performance by Birkland, an emerging singer who deserves to be widely heard.”San Jose Mercury News 
…showed off her full, dramatic voice…
 Madama Butterfly “As Suzuki, Butterfly’s maid, mezzo-soprano Nicole Birkland once again showed off her dark, full dramatic voice, and waited, appropriately, until that agonizing last act to sing with the uninhibited power she so readily can summon. The company is lucky to have her.”  San Jose Mercury News 
…rich color…
 Verdi Requiem – “…mezzo-soprano Nicole Birkland’s rich color was especially apparent in the “Liber Scriptus.” – Journal & Courier 
…energetic and impassioned performance…
 Albert Herring “Standouts in the rest of the cast included mezzo-soprano Nicole Birkland, giving an energetic and impassioned performance as Lady Billows’ housekeeper and confederate Florence Pike.”– San Francisco Chronicle 
…sumptuous tonal harvest…
 Verdi Requiem  “The four soloists — faced with the daunting task of battling extremes in their vocal ranges while, sometimes, also having to match and master the choral competition in fortissimo mode — deserve special commendation…Nicole Birkland, with a sumptuous tonal harvest from top to bottom — were outstanding.” – Herald Times 

Noted as having a voice of “dark, focused fury,” Nicole Birkland is captivating audiences with her “lush mezzo” and bewitching portrayals of opera’s most famous mezzo-soprano roles. This season, she will be performing the role of Mary in Der fliegende Holländer with Opera San José and returning to San Francisco Opera to portray the 3rd Maidservant in Elektra and Schwertleite in their production of Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Birkland joined the esteemed roster of The Metropolitan Opera for productions of Dimitri Shostakovich’s contemporary masterpiece Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk, Jacques Offenbach’s complex favorite Les contes d’Hoffmann, and Igor Stravinsky’s operatic adaptation of The Rake’s Progress, in which she covered Stephanie Blythe’s Baba the Turk. She later returned to the Metropolitan for productions of Die Zauberflöte and Der fliegende Holländer. She also recently sang in Francesca Zambello’s production of Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen with Washington National Opera and reprised her role as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at Fargo Moorhead Opera.

Ms. Birkland, a favorite at Opera San José, appeared as Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Gertrud in Hänsel und Gretel, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, La Principessa in Suor Angelica, and Azucena in Il trovatore, where the San José Mercury hailed: “Birkland was a tour de force. It was as if the valve had been opened on a fire hydrant, releasing a torrent of glorious and passionate singing. Birkland rose above the rest of the cast… Her voice was richly and darkly colored throughout its considerable range, from rock-solid bottom to flutelike top. Immersed in the role, she didn’t project her voice so much as propel it, building to this climax… This was a true, dramatic mezzo performance by Birkland, an emerging singer who deserves to be widely heard.”

She made her San Francisco Opera début as 3rd Secretary in Nixon in China, where a critic exclaimed Birkland was “wonderful in [her] rendition of Adams’s score, conveying a physical and aural sense of claustrophobia and adoration…” From her performance in Albert Herring at San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Chronicle touted: “Standouts in the rest of the cast included mezzo-soprano Nicole Birkland, giving an energetic and impassioned performance as Lady Billows’ housekeeper and confederate Florence Pike.” She was also complimented for her “rich color” as the mezzo soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra of Manila and the Bach Chorale Singers of Lafayette, Indiana.

Nicole’s additional repertoire includes the title role in Rape of Lucretia, Amneris in Aïda, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera, Dalila in Samson et Dalila, and Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde. Ms. Birkland worked in some of the finest training programs including Chautauqua Opera, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Sarasota Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera.

Ms. Birkland holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Northern Iowa, and a Performance Diploma from Indiana University.  Ms. Birkland’s vocal studies include time in the studios of renowned teachers such as Dolora Zajick, Carol Vaness, Carlos Montané and Jean McDonald.

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