Praised by the Houston Chronicle for her “warm supple soprano” and by the New York Times for her “radiant” and “handsomely resonant voice,” soprano Nicole Heaston has appeared with opera companies throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Semperoper Dresden, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, and the Glyndebourne Festival in England. In the 2020/21 season her close collaboration with Houston Grand Opera continues, as she sings Yolanda Cantrell in Jim Luigs’ reimagined The Impresario and Sir Elton John’s Trainer in David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s chamber opera Vinkensport, co-hosts Giving Voice with Lawrence Brownlee, and presents a recital with Richard Bado as part of the Live from the Cullen recital series, all presented as part of Houston Grand Opera’s re-imagined digital season. Further showcasing her versatility during the last year, she created the Purple Robe Series, featuring songs from a large variety of genres including Opera, R&B, Gospel, Rap, and Musical Theater. The series went viral, especially for its episode honoring Juneteenth featuring Lift Every Voice and Sing as arranged by Roland Carter and performed by a chorus of outstanding Black opera singers. Future seasons include engagements with San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and Norwegian National Opera.
In the 2019/20 season, Heaston appeared in the Memphis Symphony’s opening weekend gala and sang Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro at the San Francisco Opera. In the 2018/19 season, the soprano made three significant role debuts: Mimì in La Bohème at the Houston Grand Opera, Liù in Turandot with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, and the title role in Didone Abbandonata at Theater Basel. She also debuted at the Hamburg State Opera as Countess Almaviva, sang her first Mahler Symphony No. 2 with the Houston Symphony, and appeared in recital at the Wang Center in Naples, Florida. Engagements from the 2017/18 season included the title role in Alcina at Theater Basel, Alice Ford at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, Brahms’ Requiem with the Houston Symphony, and a gala concert at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
In the 2016/17 season, Heaston sang Adina in L’elisir d’amore at the Houston Grand Opera, Haydn’s The Creation with the Houston Symphony (released on the Pentatone label), Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Boston Lyric Opera, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. Engagements for the 2015/16 season included Alice Ford in Falstaff at the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen and Countess Almaviva at Den Norske Opera and the Utah Opera. In the 2014/15 season, she sang Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Houston Grand Opera, the title role in Alcina at the Royal Danish Opera, and was the featured vocal soloist in the Houston Ballet’s staging of Stravinsky’s Les Noces. Her engagements for the 2013/14 season included Alcina at Den Norske Opera, Arminda in La Finta Giardiniera at the Glyndebourne Festival, and the featured soloist in Of Blessed Memory at the Houston Ballet. In the 2011/12 season, Heaston sang Alice Ford in Falstaff with Opera de Lausanne and the title role in L’incoronazione diPoppea at the Semperoper Dresden.
Heaston has established a long-standing relationship with Houston Grand Opera, beginning as a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. Her debut with the company was in the title role of Roméo et Juliette, and she has since been heard as Gilda in Rigoletto, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Pamina in The Magic Flute. Heaston also created the title role in Houston Grand Opera’s world premiere of Jackie O, subsequently recording the opera for the Argo label.
Since her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Ms. Heaston has appeared regularly with the theater, singing Ilia in Mozart’s Idomeneo, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (conducted by James Levine), and Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos. A regular presence in opera houses throughout the United States, Heaston recently sang Musetta in La Bohème with the Fort Worth Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and for her debut with New York City Opera alongside Rolando Villazon (which was recorded and broadcast nationwide). She has performed the role of Oscar in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera with the San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and she has sung Gilda in Rigoletto at the Nashville Opera and Opera Grand Rapids. Heaston made her debut with the Michigan Opera Theatre as Nanetta in Falstaff and has since returned to the company as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. She sang Despina in Così Fan Tutte with the Dallas Opera and made her debut with the Washington National Opera in the role of Pamina. Heaston made her debut at the Glimmerglass Opera in New York as Susanna, performing the same role at the Wolf Trap Opera in Virginia, and sang the role of the Princess in Respighi’s La Bella Dormente nel Bosco at the Spoleto Festival and the 2005 Lincoln Center Festival.
In recent seasons, Heaston made her Italian debut in Adriano in Siria at the Fondazione Pergolesi in Jesi, Italy. She also made her debut at the Los Angeles Opera as Musetta in La Bohème, joined the New Orleans Opera in Rigoletto, and returned to Carnegie Hall for the Marilyn Horne Foundation “The Song Continues” annual recital. Heaston performed in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera de Lille and The Creation at the Teatro Carlo Felice, and she sang Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for her debut at the Glyndebourne Festival and the title role in L’incoronazione di Poppea for her debut at the Semperoper Dresden.
Heaston made her European operatic debut as Anne Truelove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in Montpellier and sang Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. She performed the role of Drusilla in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea for her debuts at the Festival in Aix-en-Provence and at the Vienna Festwochen. She sang the role of Eve in Haydn’s The Creation for the Flanders Opera in Belgium, and sang performances of Gluck’s Armide with Les Musiciens du Louvre under the baton of Marc Minkowski, which was recorded for Archiv Production Deutsche Grammophon. Other collaborations with Maestro Minkowski have included Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in Grenoble, France, and an appearance in William Klein’s motion picture Le Messie, based on Handel’s Messiah, for which she also recorded the soundtrack.