Elizabeth Llewellyn

Elizabeth Llewellyn

"...a voice of pure operatic joy. Her soprano timbre, rich, powerful and faintly smoky, was irresistibly seductive and multi-layered"

(La Rondine debut, WhatsOnStage, June 2017)

Representation: General Management

Photo: Shirley Suarez


British soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn has established herself firmly as a Puccinian of note, this season singing her seventh Puccini role in nine years – Manon Lescaut. Following her operatic debut at English National Opera in 2010 Elizabeth was named “best newcomer in opera”, and has since distinguished herself as a notable lyrico-spinto soprano on the international stage, having performed principal roles at Seattle Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Bergen National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Theater Magdeburg, and Opera Holland Park.

Full Biography

London-born Elizabeth studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Opera Studio, supported by the Peter Moores Foundation. After completing the ENO Opera Works training programme, she created the role of Ludovina in the premiere of Glyndebourne Festival’s new opera The Yellow Sofa.

Elizabeth made her operatic debut as Mimì in Jonathan Miller’s production of La Bohème at the English National Opera in London (which led to her being named as “Best newcomer in opera in 2010” by The Telegraph). The following year, Elizabeth caused a sensation when she returned to the ENO when she jumped-in on opening night as the Countess in their new production of The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Fiona Shaw, a role which earned her uniformly glowing reviews.

Recently, Elizabeth has established herself as a notable lyrico spinto soprano, singing the title role in Puccini’s Tosca, and the role of Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin for Theater Magdeburg, Germany. Elizabeth was also nominated for “Singer of the Year 2013” in OpernWelt magazine for her portrayal of Amelia in Simon Boccangera (for which she stepped in to sing the role again with Sir Mark Elder/Hallé Orchestra). Elizabeth sang the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Giorgetta Il Tabarro for the Royal Danish Opera, and recently returned there to make her acclaimed debut in the title role of Madama Butterfly.

Other roles include Magda de Civry La Rondine (Opera Holland Park); Fiordiligi Così fan tutte (Theater Magdeburg; Opera Holland Park), Contessa Le Nozze di Figaro (ENO; Opera Holland Park); Governess The Turn of the Screw (Arcola Theatre); Donna Elvira Don Giovanni (Theater Magdeburg; Bergen National Opera); Bess Porgy and Bess (Royal Danish Opera; Seattle Opera); title role in The Merry Widow (Cape Town Opera); title role in The Iris Murder (Hebrides Ensemble).

As well as a successful Rosenblatt Recital, Elizabeth’s concert appearances have included a Gala Concert with Joseph Calleja recorded for Classic FM, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Verdi’s Requiem, Britten’s War Requiem, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with Ryan Wigglesworth, and a live performance of Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder on BBC Radio 3 with Donald Runnicles/BBCSSO. Recently, Elizabeth has recorded Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony with BBCSO, and the role of Eigen in Elgar’s Caractacus for Hyperion, both under the baton of Martyn Brabbins.

Elizabeth won the inaugural Voice of Black Opera Competition / Sir Willard White Award in 2009, and she was the opera nominee for the prestigious Breakthrough Award at the 2013 Times/Sky Arts Southbank Awards.

Recent engagements include Elizabeth’s US debut with Seattle Opera as Bess Porgy and Bess, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (title role) at Opera Holland Park and Margherita/Elena in Boito’s Mefistofele with Chelsea Opera Group.

In the 2019/20 season Elizabeth makes her Metropolitan Opera debut as Bess Porgy and Bess, and her role debut as Aida in Bielefeld.  On the concert platform she sings Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Richard Farnes and Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and Grant Llewellyn.

Artist websitewww.elizabethllewellyn.com

Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version. Email: Evie Parker


Manon Lescaut: Opera Holland Park

May 28th, 2019

Soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn debuts new Puccini role

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UK Summer Opera 2019

May 20th, 2019

Hazard Chase artists in this year’s summer opera festivals.

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New signing: Elizabeth Llewellyn

September 13th, 2018

British soprano joins the Hazard Chase vocal roster

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Puccini MANON LESCAUT (Opera Holland Park)

“she relaxed and released a wonderfully expressive and dramatic flood of glorious colour, the wait was proven more than worthwhile. In fact, the slight frailty at the start was not inapt, capturing as it did some of the innocence of the young Manon […] and the blossoming of Llewellyn’s soprano in the final two Acts communicated the maturity and growth borne of Manon’s experiences. Llewellyn exploited the full range of her soprano, including a rich chest voice, encompassing a vast emotional spectrum and sensitively capturing Manon’s femininity. As Manon finds herself at the limits of her resilience, so Llewellyn pushed her soprano to its limits, though never sacrificing her creamily smooth legato, with compelling power and effect. As her voice recovers fully, Llewellyn’s performance will be a persuasive reason to see this production.”
Claire Seymour, Opera Today (June 2019)

“Elizabeth Llewellyn has an exciting voice for Puccini, silvery and vital. […] The final act brought more power, and a tantalising glimpse of what this fine singer might offer later in the run.”
Erica Jeal, The Guardian (June 2019)

“Llewellyn […] gives full rein to her powerful soprano that never loses the crucial fragility it requires to illustrate Manon’s disastrous decision making.”
Gary Naylor, Broadway World, (June 2019)

“The redeeming feature of the evening was Elizabeth Llewellyn’s kittenish Manon, sung with a stylistic delicacy and refinement of phrasing otherwise entirely absent from a lamentable misfire of a performance that I will now do my utmost to forget.”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph (June 2019)

“Treading a careful vocal line following her recovery from a throat infection, Llewellyn nevertheless established that her peaches-and-cream soprano and generous phrasing are ideal casting.”
George Hall, Financial Times (June 2019)

“it’s a terrific instrument, brightly coloured, expressive and rich. […] the voice seemed in near pristine condition. Llewellyn is one of those performers so naturally elegant on stage that she imbues her heroines with a certain noble grace, even as she is lined up in Act 3 as a sex slave.”
Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack (June 2019)

“Star quality comes at last with the elegant and slightly sphinx-like presence of Llewellyn’s Manon”
David Nice, The Arts Desk (June 2019)

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Boito MEFISTOFELE (Chelsea Opera Group)

“Soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn sang the double role of Margherita and Elena, bringing an ideal combination of power and lyrical flexibility to the roles. Her Margherita was beautifully sung with a convincing and touching naivety, yet expansive in the more lyrical moments and with a surprising strength when she denies Faust just before her death. By contrast, Llewellyn’s Elena was wonderfully radiant and rightly seductive.”
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill (March 2019)

“Elizabeth Llewellyn, playing both Margherita and Elena, was marginally more suited to the latter, though her singing had great beauty and poise.”
Tim Ashley, The Guardian (March 2019)

“Elizabeth Llewellyn was at her radiant best in her two incarnations as Margherita and Elena, differentiating the two beautifully. As Margherita in love she unleashed waves of powerful velvety sound but then found exactly the right sense of pathos and stillness as she is imprisoned and seeks salvation. As Elena she was full of dangerous allure. The wide-eyed faces of the Capital Arts Children’s Choir (a distinct asset to the evening) marvelling at it was a delight!”
Alexander Campbell, Classical Source (March 2019)

“She commanded the attention of all in the Queen Elizabeth Hall during the Act 3 prison scene, her soprano falling with a slight duskiness and rising with a rapturous sheen, the projection easy and the phrasing beguiling. […] she spun an exquisite, gentle pianissimo; and, when she prayed to God for salvation and rejecting Faust, her dying phrases conveyed every drop of emotional intensity.”
Claire Seymour, Opera Today (March 2019)

“Elizabeth Llewellyn has a more opulent, softer-grained tone than Bemsch, but soprano and tenor complemented each other beautifully in ‘Lontano, lontano’. Alert to every aspect of the drama, Llewellyn brought wrenching pathos to the role of Margherita and sweeping grandeur Elena (Helen of Troy) in a performance that bodes well for Manon Lescaut at Opera Holland Park.”
Yehuda Shapiro, Opera Magazine (June 2019)

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A Sea Symphony (BBC Symphony Orchestra) [CD – Hyperion]

“Both Elizabeth Llewellyn and Marcus Farnsworth sing with attractively fresh timbre and impeccable enunciation, their memorably unforced contribution reminding me somewhat of Sheila Armstrong and John Carol Case on Adrian Boult’s stereo recording (EMI/Warner, 12/68); listen from 14’37” in the finale (‘O soul thou pleasest me, I thee’) to hear them at their intimate best”
Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone Magazine (October 2018)

“[Llewellyn’s] fine soprano rides the choral waves thrillingly”
Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine (November 2018)

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Cio-Cio San – Madama Butterfly (Royal Danish Opera)

” This was an impressive role debut from Elizabeth Llewellyn. She has clearly worked hard on Butterfly and appears to have internalised the role. She sounded natural in the low tessituras from which the role creeps upwards and had the power to soar above the orchestra in Act II. […] Most impressive in an overall sense was the vocal charisma she brought to the role, even when sentiments were at their darkest.”
Andrew Mellor, Opera Now (July/August 2018)

“Llewellyn’s soprano has wonderful fullness and her all-embracing and sweet Butterfly catches Act 1 in the second and third acts so you feel the heartbreaking longing and the unbearable situation she is in. Elizabeth Llewellyn’s fine interaction with the charismatic mezzo soprano Johanne Bock [as] Suzuki, must be emphasized.”

“…the English soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn sings brilliantly as Cio-Cio San, Madame Butterfly”

“Elizabeth Llewellyn’s portrayal of Cio-Cio San, better known as Madame Butterfly, was exquisite as she conveyed the personal anecdote of this geisha wife through her angelic vocals. Her beautifully layered singing reverberated through the entire room and made a world outside of her perfectly pitched notes seem obsolete.”
The Copenhagen Post

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Magda de Civry – La Rondine (Opera Holland Park), June 2017

 “Elizabeth Llewellyn is a British soprano… whose rich, lyric instrument produced refined tone at every point in her wide range and whose sense of Puccinian style was consistently impressive; she brought to the role of Magda glamour, sophistication and a voice it would be hard to match anywhere in terms of beauty and color.”
Opera News

“The aria, Doretta’s Song, is truly memorable, and especially well sung here by the British soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn, a fine Verdian possessed of a voice that effortlessly fills OHP’s big tent with gloriously unforced sounds.”
Mail on Sunday

“Llewellyn and Lippi soared again in the final duet, and…Llewellyn showed how to make it count with sheer beauty of line and a glorious sheen to the voice. This certainly showed how having a real spinto soprano in the role can count.”
Opera Today

“…Magda’s Chi il bel sogno di Doretta, which Llewellyn sings lusciously with her warm, smoky tone and gleaming high notes…Both leads rise magnificently to their passionate duet in Act III, when it becomes clear that they cannot live together, Llewellyn unleashing her Tosca voice (which she has already shown off in Germany) with plenty of “spinto” blade… A huge OHP hit: Llewellyn is a star.”
The Sunday Times

“To ice the cake in shades of yellow and scarlet, Elizabeth Llewellyn sang Magda with a voice of pure operatic joy. Her soprano timbre, rich, powerful and faintly smoky, was irresistibly seductive and multi-layered, and somehow she found heartbreak in the score’s simplicities. […]Llewellyn is an exceptional artist who oozes star quality and ought to be top of the ‘grab’ list for any half-decent UK casting director, but for some reason isn’t. Don’t miss this too-rare opportunity to hear her: she’s a great singer at the peak of her craft.”
What’s On Stage

“…a voice that threaded its lovely way seamlessly across all of Puccini’s bar-lines, never striking a less than entirely lovely sound: she is a truly special artist.”
Opera magazine

“The night belongs, though to Elizabeth Llewellyn as Magda and Matteo Lippi as Ruggero. Llewellyn has a voice like best dark chocolate in the lower register and crystal clear water in the upper. She achieves an impressive variation of tone and packs in huge amounts of immaculately acted emotion. Her reading aloud of the letter from Ruggero’s mother in the third act is a good example of impassioned excitement mixed with horror. It is a very fine performance indeed.”
Lark Reviews

“When are the big international opera houses going to wake up to the great British talent that is Elizabeth Llewellyn? With her opulent soprano – shaded middle register, full bloom at the top, cutting chest voice – she was born to sing Verdi and Puccini, and her stage presence is undeniable from the moment she steps out… our hearts are with her from the start.”
The Artsdesk

“It’s a role that requires wit, grace, elegance and the ability to float seraphically above the stave – all qualities that Llewellyn has in abundance. She plays exquisitely with the phrasing of Magda’s one showpiece aria, “Che il bel sogno di Doretta”, and rises confidently to its moments of climax, but mostly one appreciates the sheer charm and lightness of touch with which she paints the chattier aspects of her music.”
The Telegraph

“Magda is one of Puccini’s top vulnerable heroines, and the role is magnificently sung by Elizabeth Llewellyn, blessed with a voice of sumptuous range, security and fullness; you first hear her generous lower range, which as it expands higher keeps its character and flexibility. Llewellyn also has a powerful presence; she is compelling as the worldly woman taking one last chance at love, and easily strides between archetype and straightforward characterisation. In every respect she rises to the occasion.”
Classical Source

“…yet again Llewellyn…proved what a fabulous Puccini soprano she is.  The voice is a good size with a smoky lower register, a velvety middle of complex depth and a top that opens up magnificently… Her Magda was vulnerable, hopeful and determined just as she should be.”
Opera Traveller

“Elizabeth Llewellyn successfully combines sophistication and sincerity….her voice is ideally warm and lyrical, and easily fills the theatre. Opera Holland Park is lucky to have her.”
Financial Times

“The soloists were led by, and effectively overshadowed by, Elizabeth Llewellyn …She was thrilling, living the role throughout and with full vocal and dynamic range. In act three, Llewellyn and the orchestra conspired to provide moments of magic in her soliloquy as she reminisces; her pitching, too, was noteworthy in its accuracy. Magda’s love scene with Ruggero was one of the evening’s many highlights; she effectively lifted it to another level.”
Seen & Heard International

“Elizabeth Llewellyn is a perfect Magda, warm and lively yet wistful in her Act I soliloquy.”
Mark Ronan

“Singing Magda, Elizabeth Llewellyn has obvious stage presence and the vocal stature to go with it; the bottom of the voice is full and has an appealing spice to it that makes it quite distinctive, while her middle is luxuriously warm….Commitment to the role was absolute, from the grace of her salon presence, through breathless excitement in Bullier’s, to her sacrifice in the third act.”

“Elizabeth Llewellyn gives a stand-out performance as Magda, showing the delicate touches of her range against the power of her top flight displayed through the bigger numbers, making this production worth a visit for her performance alone.”
The Arbiturian

“It is, however, Elizabeth Llewellyn as Magda and Matteo Lippi as Ruggero who make the evening special. Llewellyn has the precision and focus to make her vocal line feel sweet and clean, but her soprano is also blessed with richness and strength that gives both her sound and the character a good deal of weight.”
Music OMH

“As Magda, Llewellyn commands the right blend of wry self-knowledge and creamy expansive tone to cover her character’s transition from bored semi-retired performer to radiant lover and regretful realist. She also finds real warmth and tenderness in the final scenes, which carried across into the arena.”
Live Theatre UK

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Discography & Repertoire

Artist Manager

Sue Nicholls (Cambridge)
01223 706023

Associate Artist Manager

Evie Parker (Cambridge)
01223 706414