Hungarian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó is highly sought after in both North America and Europe as an artist of supreme musicianship and stagecraft, and has become known for her promotion and performance of contemporary Canadian works. Among her many laudatory reviews, Opera Canada declared her to be an “exceptional talent” after her performance of the title role of Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and after a performance with Tapestry Opera, the music blog, Schmopera wrote that “her instrument is one-of-a-kind and she has cemented herself as a darling of Canadian experimental music and opera…her sensibility and sensitivity to the material is truly inspiring”. In her hometown of Toronto, Canada, she has been nominated twice for a Dora Award for Outstanding Female Performance.
In the 2017-18 season, Krisztina Szabó made her Royal Opera and Netherlands Opera débuts in George Benjamin’s new opera, Lessons in Love and Violence. She also appeared as Angel/Marie in Benjamin’s Written on Skin for both Opera Philadelphia and the Holland Festival. Other highlights include the performance and recording of prestigious Canadian composer, Ana Sokolovic’s Pesma with Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal and the world premiere of Jeffrey Ryan’s Emily Carr in Seven Scenes for Canadian Art Song Project.
Upcoming engagements in the 2018-19 season include being featured performer in Steffani: Drama and Devotion and Händel’s Messiah with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Messiah with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; Stabat Mater (Pergolesi) with Early Music Seattle, George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill with Mahler Chamber Orchestra for Musikfest Berlin, Kopernikus (Claude Vivier) with Against the Grain Theatre (Toronto) and the premiere of a new oratorio by Barbara Croall entitled Mizewe (Everywhere) with Pax Christi Chorale. She will also be singing the world premiere of Canadian composer, Ian Cusson’s Where There’s A Wall with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Canadian premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven for Toronto New Music Projects at the University of Toronto.
Ms. Szabó exemplifies today’s modern singer: she is vocally versatile, possesses excellent stage prowess and paints vivid character portraits on both the opera and concert stages, and is well-known as an interpreter of new music. She sings frequently at the Canadian Opera Company and has been seen in diverse roles, such as singing three leading roles (Thisbe/Arianna/Clorinda) in a triple bill production, Pyramus and Thisbe, Le Pèlerin in L’amour de loin, Idamante (Idomeneo), Musetta (La bohème), The Double-Offred in the Time Before (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Nancy (Albert Herring). In 2006 she helped christen the company’s new opera house in their critically acclaimed Ring Cycle as Wellgunde (Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung), and Siegrune (Die Walküre) and returned to open their 06/7 season in the role of Dorabella (Così fan tutte). Canadian audiences have also seen Ms. Szabó as the tile role in Cenerentola with Edmonton Opera, Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) and Musetta in La bohème with Vancouver Opera, Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) and Meg (Little Women) with Calgary Opera, Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) with L’Opéra de Québec, Edmonton Opera and Calgary Opera, Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte) with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Ruggiero (Alcina) in concert with Les Violons du Roy, Nerone (Agrippina) with L’Opéra de Montréal, and as the title role in Iphigénie en Tauride with Opera Atelier. She has performed and débuted many new works, staged and concert, with Toronto’s Tapestry Opera, Against the Grain Theatre, Soundstreams, Esprit Orchestra, Continuum Music, and Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Outside of Canada, Ms Szabó has performed a wide variety of roles including: Judith (Bluebeard’s Castle) with Colorado Music Festival, Rosalind (The Mines of Sulphur) for the Wexford Festival Opera (company début), Countess (Le nozze di Figaro), Judith (Bluebeard’s Castle) and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) – all with Chicago Opera Theater, Magnolia (Showboat) with L’Opéra National du Rhin, the title role in Charpentier’s Médée with Le Concert Spirituel in Paris, The Queen of the Fairies in Ana Sokolovic’s hilarious opera, The Midnight Court, with Queen of Puddings Music Theatre’s tour to England, Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel), Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) with Stadttheater Klagenfurt, Bianca (Mercadante’s Il giuramento) with Washington Concert Opera, Ljubica (Sokolovic’s Svadba/Wedding) with Opera Philadelphia and Dido (Dido and Aeneas) with Music of the Baroque.
Krisztina Szabó is a frequent performer of recital, concert and chamber repertoire. She has appeared as a soloist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Mozart’s Mass in C Minor), Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (B minor Mass) L’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec (Bach’s Mass in B Minor), Vancouver Bach Choir (John Adams’ El niño), the San Antonio Symphony (Handel’s Messiah), the Talisker Players in Toronto for an evening of chamber music, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Mendelssohn’s Elijah), the Elora Festival Orchestra (Verdi’s Requiem), Les Violons du Roy’s United States tour of (Haydn’s cantata Arianna a Naxos) , the Brooklyn Academy of Music (staged production of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion) and the Oregon Symphony (Mozart Requiem). She has also appeared as soloist with Plural Ensemble in Madrid, Spain, under the baton of renowned composer-conductor, Peter Eötvös.
In recital, she has appeared with Ravinia Festival, Aldeburgh Connection, Music Toronto, Off Centre Music Salon and Music at Sharon. In addition, she has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia, Lanaudière Festival, Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestra London, Toronto Operetta Theatre, Esprit Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Canadian Art Song Project, Festival of the Sound, Grand Teton Festival Soundstreams, Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Waterside Music Festival, Stratford Summer Music Festival and Indian River Festival.
Ms, Szabó has appeared on television featured in CBC’s “Opening Night” in concert with the Canadian Opera Company. On film, she can be seen as Zerlina with Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Don Giovanni Revealed: Leporello’s Revenge, and she can be heard as the voice of Leanne in the new opera movie Burnt Toast. Krisztina Szabo can also be heard as a featured soloist in a recording with the Talisker Players “Where Words and Music Meet“, Musica Leopolis CDs works of Lysenko, Stetsenko, Stepovy and Galicians I (4 different CDs), Singing Somers Theatre (the works of Harry Somers) and Baby Kintyre, a radio opera by Dean Burry.
Ms. Szabó finished her postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England, after completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario studying with Darryl Edwards. She has been the recipient of the Emerging Artist grant from Canada Council and has been honoured by her home town of Mississauga with a star on the Music Walk of Fame in its inaugural year. Krisztina lives in Toronto with her husband, Kristian Clarke and their daughter, Phoibe Clarke. Ms. Szabó is a member of the voice faculty at the University of Toronto.