American lyric soprano Elyse Anne Kakacek is making her mark with her "unexpectedly deep and honey-colored soprano" (Parterre Box) in opera, oratorio and contemporary music. She has been acclaimed as a "stand out performer" (Opera News) with "delicious sultriness of voice (and) smoldering lyricism" (Operawire).
In the 2019/2020 season, Ms. Kakacek will appear as the Soprano Soloist for the Mozart Alleluia and Barber Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Modus Opera and Orchestra in Long Island City. She will also be singing the soprano solos for Purcell's Come ye sons of art with the early music group Baroquelyn. Shortly after she will revisit Zerlina in Bronx Opera's production of Don Giovanni. In the spring, Elyse will create the role of Cora II in Fresh Squeezed Opera's world premiere of Self Defined Circuits.
Earlier in the season, Ms. Kakacek sang as a guest artist and ally at Theaster Gates' Black Artist Retreat at the Park Avenue Armory. She later rejoined the visionary artist in Munich for his The Black Chapel installation at the infamous Haus der Kunst. Elyse created the title role of Princess Maleine at the prestigious La Mama Experimental Theatre in NYC for dell'Arte Opera Ensemble's first commission. She was described as "captivating as she floated her voice into the heavens with a feathery tone" (Operawire). Ms. Kakacek appeared as the Soprano 1 soloist for Mozart's Great Mass in C minor with the Long Island Symphonic Association. Elyse was also the soprano soloist in Franz Liszt's Sainte Cecile Legende for a promenade concert at the David A. Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center as a part of the Hungarian State Opera's residency in New York.
"There is a crystalline quality to Kakacek's voice" (The Rehearsal Studio) on her first album, Untethered, which has been featured on radio stations across the country including WFMT (National and Chicago), in- flight entertainment, and as a part of WCNY Classic FM's Feminine Fusion. "Kakacek is exposed–her voice untethered.", said (Operawire), "(she) sets her smoldering lyricism into flame". Untethered is available on all downloadable platforms.
An advocate for new music, Elyse has worked closely with composers such as Whitney George, Aaron Siegel, Jason Cady, Cristina Lord, Matthew Welch, Gianluca Verlingieri, Balint Karosi, Felix Jarrar and Valerie Saalbach. Elyse made her Carnegie Hall (Weill) debut interpreting the new works of composer Georgia Shreve with the Manhattan Contemporary Ensemble, and later recorded these works for Ms. Shreve at the legendary Avatar Studios.
Elyse has sung lead roles for multiple world premieres including: her venue debut at National Sawdust in Brooklyn creating all seven soprano roles for Experiments in Opera's premiere of And Here We Are, six different lead soprano roles for Experiments in Opera's production of Flash Operas (20-minute operas based on the short stories of writers from The New Yorker and Saturday Night Live), and the role of Karen in Verlingierei's The Courtship (Boston and NYC), among others.
Equally in love with traditional repertoire, other career highlights include: Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Dafne in L'Euridice, Micaela in Carmen, Nedda in I Pagliacci, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Despina in Così fan tutte, Norina in Don Pasquale, Musetta in La Bohème, Flora in The Turn of the Screw, Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia, Clorinda in La Cenerentola and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte.
Ms. Kakacek has performed as a soprano soloist in churches across New York City, in works including Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Bach's St. John Passion, The Coffee Cantata, BWV 151 and BWV 127. She has also appeared as the soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah with numerous orchestras in the US and as the soloist in Beethoven's Choral Fantasy for the International Beethoven Festival in Chicago.
Elyse was the First Prize winner for The North International Music Competition, the winner of The Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship in their 31st annual competition, and 2nd Prize Winner for the Lyra New York 2019 Mozart Oratorio Competition. She was also a recipient of the The Lynne Harvey Foundation Scholarship in Honor of Her Sister, Virginia Maier from the Musician's Club of Women. Ms. Kakacek advanced as a New York Regional Finalist for Lyra New York's Traditional Opera international competition, Talents of the World, Inc.'s international competition, the Premiere Opera Competition and the Kosciuszko Foundation's Marcella Sembrich Competition. She has participated as a Grand Finalist in competitions such as The Elaine Malbin and Mario Lanza Vocal Competition (NYC), The American Prize Competition, The Harold Haugh Vocal Competition (Michigan) and OperaIdol (Chicago).
In addition to her active performance career, Ms. Kakacek is a co-artistic director and founder of Frisson, a collective dedicated to the filmed expression of classical music. Frisson's first project, L'Eraclito amoroso (in which Elyse sings an aria by Barbara Strozzi) has been screened internationally.
Ms. Kakacek has trained as an actor with the Black Box studio in Chicago and The Gately Poole Institute focusing on the Meisner, Stanislavsky and Checkov techniques. She has completed young artist programs including dell'Arte Opera Ensemble ('17, '18, '19), Opera Pomme Rouge's Resident Artist Program ('16-'17), The Amalfi Coast Music Festival, OpTIC, Chicago Summer Opera, and OperaWorks. She holds an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance with a minor in Theatre from DePaul University in her hometown, Chicago.
Behold the Archer's Skill...In the Morning - UNTETHERED
Album contains the world premiere recording of Valerie Saalbach's complete song cycles; Journey of Desire, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, and Catarina de Camoens.
Award winning soprano Elyse Anne Kakacek has joined forces with accompanist Christopher Fecteau to create a recording of American composer Valerie Saalbach's complete song cycles. The album, entitled Untethered, will be released on Matthan Black's True Capture Records label on September 1.
The album celebrates the world premiere recordings and interpretations of Saalbach's complete song cycles by soprano Elyse Anne Kakacek, praised by OperaNews for her "compelling, lyrical singing."
The young American soprano Elyse Anne Kakacek joins FM91: WGTE - Toledo OH to discuss her new album Formless: The Biblical Songs of Antonin Dvořák. Inspirational in both interpretation and content, Formless offers a peaceful meditation on spirituality – and a salve for the soul in troubled times such as these.
Dvořák's Biblical Songs are simple yet powerful settings of ten famous Psalms (in the composer's own English translation), written while he was living in New York (not far from where Elyse herself lives now). As Elyse tells us in this conversation, Dvořák's music not only resonates with her own Czech heritage, but has deeply personal connections as well.
Award winning soprano Elyse Anne Kakacek has joined forces with accompanist Christopher Fecteau to create a recording of American composer Valerie Saalbach's complete song cycles. The True Capture Records release entitled 'Untethered' contains the world premiere recording of Valerie Saalbach's complete song cycles; Journey of Desire, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, and Catarina de Camoens. Kakacek, who has been praised by OperaNews for her "compelling, lyrical singing." noted about the album; "I saw an opportunity to give voice to a living female composer, with feminine centric music and poetry, in this time when our culture is desperately craving healthy femininity. I saw an opportunity to use music to promote social change- which can be a rare thing in classical music."
CS Music loves to spotlight singers, especially when they have a special project they are working on. This edition features; Elyse Anne Kakacek's 'Untethered: The Song Cycles of Valerie Saalbach." Kakacek shared with us all about the project and her unique perspective during the process.
READ THE Q&A
This Sunday will mark the debut of a new record label, True Capture Records. The label is the brainchild of baritone Matthan Ring Black, and he created it to empower emerging talent to create new art.
For this first album Black approached soprano Elyse Anne Kakacek, who has recently been making her mark in opera, oratorio, and contemporary music. Black suggested that Kakacek prepare an album of modern art song for his label. Kakacek, in turn, decided that this album would be devoted to the music of composer Valerie Saalbach, who has, to date, composed three song cycles. This provided sufficient content to fill a CD album, and the result bears the title Untethered.
The good news is that there is a crystalline clarity to Kakacek's voice. Attentive listeners are likely to recognize quickly that two of the Emily Dickinson poems on the album have been set by other composers (Aaron Copland and John Adams) and will probably have no trouble negotiating the delivery of the words. Furthermore, Saalbach clearly knows how to keep the piano from getting in the way of the vocalist; and the chemistry between Kakacek and pianist Christopher Fecteau could not be better.
READ THE FULL Rehearsal Studio REVIEW