AZO Cast Members & Creatives
Soprano Laquita Mitchell consistently earns acclaim on eminent international opera and concert stages, leading performances with Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, and Opéra Comique in Paris, New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, among many others.
This season she will perform the role of Countess in The Marriage of Figaro with Toledo Opera, sing in One River, One Land, One People by Hannibal Lokumbe with Maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra, sing with Traverse City Symphony as Bess in Porgy and Bess, with Arizona Opera in a gala concert, and with Sheboygan Symphony’s concert “Passion Part Two: Music from the Heart.” Additionally, she performs in recital annually at Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe.
In her compelling début as Bess in Porgy and Bess with the San Francisco Opera, Opera News said “Laquita Mitchell, in her first outing as Bess, dazzled the SFO [San Francisco Opera] audience with her purity of tone and vivid theatrical presence.” She has since reprised the role with The Atlanta Opera, The Tanglewood Festival, Madison Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Toledo Opera, Springfield Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Sheboygan Symphony, and as the season opener for the Energa Sopot Classic Festival with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally, PBS invited Ms. Mitchell to perform a solo recital including excerpts from Porgy and Bess with pianist Craig Terry for the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles in preparation for the broadcast and DVD release of SFO’s Porgy and Bess.
In recent engagements, she joined Beth Morrison Projects and NPR for a production and recording of David Lang’s The Difficulty of Crossing a Field in the role of Virginia Creeper; performed Strauss’ Four Last Songs in Classical Roots: A Tribute to Jessye Norman with Detroit Symphony Orchestra; sang a special Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert with Philadelphia Orchestra; sang the soprano solo in Verdi’s Requiem at Waterbury Symphony; sang in two recitals with Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, performing works by Samuel Barber, John Carter and Lee Hoiby; sang Elijah with Princeton Music Festival; and was a featured soloist in a Gala Concert with Jerry Steichen and Friends in Tonkawa, OK. She made her début with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin in the 2015 Salute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Girard College and her New York Philharmonic début alongside Eric Owens in In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy.
In her role début as Violetta in La traviata with New York City Opera, she was labeled “extraordinary,” thanks to her “wide expressive range and big-hearted sound that contains just a hint of sexy smokiness. Her “Sempre libera” was enlivened by a rhythmic clarity that made it seem almost danceable.” Other notable appearances include Leonora in Il trovatore in South Carolina as well as with Nashville Opera; the role of Sharon in Terrance McNally’s Master Class at the Kennedy Center; Musetta in La bohème in a return to the Los Angeles Opera; Mimì in La bohème with Cincinnati Opera, and at the Utah Symphony and Opera; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Florentine Opera, Portland Opera, and Opera New Jersey; Clara in Porgy and Bess with Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, Opéra Comique in Paris and on tour in Caen and Granada, Spain; and Micaëla in Carmen with New York City Opera, Opera Pacific, and most recently, Cincinnati Opera, where the Cincinnati Enquirer hailed “Mitchell shone in the role of Micaëla, the peasant girl who loves Don José. She was a natural actress, and sang with expressive beauty whenever she was onstage.”
Also an active concert artist, Ms. Mitchell recently performed Over the Rainbow – an evening honoring Harold Arlen at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Additional performances include Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Louisville Orchestra, a début with the New World Symphony in Alberto Ginastera’s Cantata para la América Mágica, the world première of composer Steven Stucky’s August 4, 1964 with Dallas Symphony Orchestra, her Boston Symphony Orchestra début as the soprano soloist in Wynton Marsalis’ All Rise under the direction of Kurt Masur, and the soprano solo in Tippett’s A Child of our Time with the Washington Chorus at Kennedy Center. She has also performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, the New York Symphonic Ensemble at Alice Tully Hall, and with Branford Marsalis and the Garden State Philharmonic.
Ms. Mitchell is an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, where she performed a variety of roles including stand-out performances in contemporary operas such as Orquidea in Daniel Catán’s Salsipuedes (world première), Myhrrine in Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata (world première), Barena in David Alden’s production of Jenůfa, and The Water in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince (world première) directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Patrick Summers.
Ms. Mitchell was previously a member of the San Francisco Opera’s world-renowned Merola Program. She then joined Wolf Trap Opera in performances as Alice Ford in Antonio Salieri’s Falstaff, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and presented a recital with renowned pianist Steven Blier.
A native of New York City, Ms. Mitchell was a 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Prize Winner, and was awarded a Sara Tucker Award. She was also the First Prize Winner of the Wiener Kammer Oper’s Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition, making her the first American to win this competition in over twenty years. Additionally, Ms. Mitchell was the First Prize Winner of the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers, as well as the winner of the Audience Choice award. Ms. Mitchell holds a Master of Music degree and the Professional Studies Certificate at the Manhattan School of Music, and completed undergraduate studies at Westminster Choir College.