Mezzo-Soprano Susan Nicely is known for her rich voice and vivid characterizations. Her highly acclaimed “lively comic presence” in roles such as Dame Marthe in Faust, Old Lady in Candide, Katasha in The Mikado, and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, as well as dramatic portrayals in roles such as La Principessa in Suor Angelica make this character mezzo an “audience darling,” says the Austin American-Statesman. This season, Ms. Nicely reprises the role of Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera San Antonio and stars in the one-woman opera adapted from a classic Julia Child television broadcast, Bon Appétit, with Opera Carolina.
A house favorite with Dallas Opera, she appeared there as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Annina in La traviata, Hannah in Maria Stuarda, Tisbe in La Cenerentola, the Nurse in Boris Godunov, and, most recently, in a highly-acclaimed performance as Julia Child in Lee Hoiby’s one-woman opera, Bon Appétit!, which she later reprised with Asheville Lyric Opera and in the Bay Chamber Concert series. Of her performance as Julia Child, D Magazine proclaimed: “Mezzo-soprano Susan Nicely…delivered the goods with a gorgeously textured, rich vocal timbre and a perfect touch of slapstick, expanding on and somewhat exaggerating Child’s endearing, always-laughed-off clumsiness.” Ms. Nicely next performed the hit show with Opera Santa Barbara in the fall of 2013. Also a house favorite at the Atlanta Opera, she has seen performances there as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Mary in Der fliegende Holländer, Thelma Predmore in Cold Sassy Tree, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Annina in La traviata.
Ms. Nicely recently reprised her role as Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette in an exciting new co-production with Opera Carolina, Virginia Opera, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, and Lyric Opera Baltimore; she also previously performed the role with the New Orleans Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Opera Grand Rapids. Engagements from the past few seasons also include Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Arizona Opera and the Orlando Philharmonic; Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria rusticana with New York City Opera, Arizona Opera, and Opera Tampa; Katasha in The Mikado with the Indianapolis Opera, Portland Opera, and Shreveport Opera; Emma Jones in Street Scene, Dame Quickly in Falstaff, and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Chautauqua Opera; Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Omaha; The Old Lady in Candide with Austin Lyric Opera; Marquise de Berkenfeld in La fille du régiment with Florentine Opera; the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel with Chicago Opera Theatre; Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore with Opera Cleveland and Arizona Opera; Dame Marthe in Faust with Palm Beach Opera; Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring with Indianapolis Opera; and the roles of Principessa, and Zita in Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi with Opera Carolina and Savannah Music Festival.
Ms. Nicely made her European début in Strasbourg, France in the role of Mary with Opera du Rhine’s production of Der fliegende Holländer and her début in South America as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd with Opera Breve in Caracas, Venezuela. Other acclaimed engagements include Mother Goose in The Rake’s Progress with San Francisco Opera; Mamma Lucia in Cavelleria rusticana, Governess in Pique Dame and Mrs. Ott in Susannah with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Marthe in Faust with Houston Grand Opera; and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Cincinnati Opera.
Orchestral appearances include concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Grant Park Symphony of Chicago, Wheeling Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.