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Canadian mezzo-soprano Reilly Nelson brings her “distinctly warm and burnished” sound to stages of all sizes in North America and Europe. In the 2020/21 season, Ms. Nelson was a Young Artist with the Glimmerglass Opera, a virtual iteration of the distinguished program that featured working sessions with Isabel Leonard, Francesca Zambello, Eric Owens, and Renée Fleming. In 2021, Ms. Nelson sang Mezzo 2 in the Glimmerglass Festival workshop of The Knock and was slated to sing Caterina in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz at the Tiroler Festspiele Erl (COVID19 – rescheduled to 2022), and Mercédès in Cincinnati Opera’s production of Carmen, (COVID19) before she was slated to join Barbara Hannigan’s Equilibrium Young Artists Programme at the Lunenberg Academy of Music Performance in Nova Scotia (postponed due to COVID19). In the summer of 2021, Ms. Nelson will return to the Glimmerglass Festival to sing Second Lady / Second Spirit in The Magic Flute, and to cover the title role in Songbird, a new English adaptation of La Perichole while singing Mastrilla. Later that summer she will join Barbara Hannigan’s Equilibrium Young Artists Programme at the Lunenberg Academy of Music Performance and in the fall of 2021, she will return to the Lunenberg Academy of Music Performance for a concert of Ana Sokolovic works and makes her Rochester Philharmonic debut as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel.


In her 2019/20 season, Ms. Nelson sang Suzuki in Soo Opera Theater’s production of Madama Butterfly, Stephano in Cincinnati Opera’s Roméo et Juliette, and gave a workshop performance of William Menefield and Sheila Williams’ new opera, Fierce, with Cincinnati Opera’s Opera Fusion New Works. 


Additional recent highlights include the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors and Leah in Enemies, A Love Story, both with Kentucky Opera, and Trouble in Tahiti with Lexington Philharmonic. Her continued relationship with Cincinnati Opera mirrors Ms. Reilly’s consistent balance of traditional and new operatic repertoire, including Flora in La traviata, Lupe Marin in Frida, a workshop performance of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Intimate Apparel, and the U.S. premiere of Julien Bilodeau’s Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera.


In addition to her theatrical work, Ms. Nelson is a seasoned concert artist. Recent credits include Mozart’s Requiem with the Reno Philharmonic, a staged performance of Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf with Cincinnati Chamber Opera and Cincinnati Song Initiative. With Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Ms. Nelson has performed Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and B minor Mass, Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, and cabaret songs of William Bolcom and Kurt Weill.


Ms. Nelson took second prize in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s prestigious Lotte Lenya Competition in 2018, after winning the Carolyn Weber Award in the same competition in 2016. She was the winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Middle/East Tennessee District.


Ms. Nelson was a young artist with The Glimmerglass Festival and Cincinnati Opera, and she was a studio artist at Kentucky Opera in 2019. She has studied at Eastman School of Music, Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and Tanglewood.

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