Geliebter Komm - Wagner's Tannhäuser
Every moon I watch for blood - Ruders' The Handmaid's Tale
“Vocally striking and visually appealing” (New York Times), American mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel consistently “sets the stage ablaze with her vocal and dramatic pyrotechnics” (Houston Chronicle). Since her debut in Seattle Opera’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, her compelling presence paired with “robust tones [which] strike the perfect balance of power and subtlety” (Chronicle) have garnered critical acclaim in diverse repertoire, from Eboli and Carmen to Offred and Jo March.
Engagements in 2022 included Olga Finzi-Contini in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis with New York City Opera, Caroline Herschel in Zaid Jabri’s world premiere of Southern Crossings with Barnard, Death in the east coast premiere of Tom Cipullo's The Parting with Chelsea Opera (Syracuse and NYC), and J.A.C. Redford’s cycle Ordinary Saints with the Gordon College Symphony. Pre-pandemic, Heltzel made her Australian debut as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale in Melbourne, sang Carmen for Wichita Grand Opera, and Maddalena in Rigoletto at Simon Hammerstein’s notorious club The Box in NYC. In 2023 she joined the PROTOTYPE Festival for the world premiere of Here Lies Joy (Roumain/Bamuthi Joseph) and previewed Mark Adamo’s upcoming Sarah in the Theatre with Odyssey Opera for Opera America’s New Works Forum.
After her debut with Seattle Opera, Heltzel returned to the company as Flora in La Traviata, Siegrune in Die Walküre, and covered Paula in Florencia en el Amazonas, Flosshilde in Das Rheingold and Waltraute, Flosshilde and 2nd Norn in Götterdämmerung. A recipient of grants from The Wagner Society of New York, she has also sung Fricka in Minnesota Concert Opera’s Mini-Ring.
Regional role highlights include Eboli in Don Carlo, Carmen, Santuzza and Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Der Komponist and Dryade in Ariadne Auf Naxos, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Maddalena in Rigoletto, Musetta in La Bohème, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, with houses including Indianapolis, Toledo, Tacoma, Syracuse, Amarillo, Wichita, Nevada, Phoenicia and Pacific Northwest.
Among the many 20th and 21st century English language roles Heltzel has performed are Saleswoman in Brokeback Mountain, Trio Alto in Angels in America and the Ugly Duchess in Alice in Wonderland (Chin), all with New York City Opera, Jo in Little Women with Opera on the James, Mary in A Danger To Us All: Typhoid Mary (Kiesewalter/Ziff) at Joe's Pub/The Public Theater, Desirée and Charlotte in A Little Night Music (Syracuse, Phoenicia) and multiple new roles for American Opera Projects, American Lyric Theater and theater company Compagnia de’ Colombari.
Select concert repertoire includes Verdi’s Requiem with Wichita Symphony, Symphony Syracuse, Back Bay Chorale and at Carnegie Hall, Handel’s Messiah with the Seattle Symphony and Norwalk Symphony, Janacek's Glagolitic Mass with the Seattle Symphony; Rossini’s Stabat Mater at Dartmouth College, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Boston Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall and Minot Symphony Orchestra, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder at Gordon College Symphony, Mahler's Das Lied Von Der Erde with Boston Chamber Music Society and Respighi’s Il Tramonto for the Red Rocks Music Festival and String Orchestra of Brooklyn.
After completing studies at the Manhattan School of Music, Heltzel joined the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program. She has been a grant recipient and prizewinner from The Wagner Society of New York, The Liederkranz Foundation, The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Chautauqua Opera, Career Bridges Competition, Presser Foundation, and the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition.