NANCY GUSTAFSON has been acclaimed in most of the leading opera houses of the world including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, Milan, the Opéra National, Paris, Chicago Lyric Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburg State Opera, and many others. She has enjoyed an especially close relationship with the Vienna State Opera; in 2001 she was honored there with the title of Kammersängerin. Born in Evanston, Illinois, Gustafson received her Bachelors degree and an Honorary Doctorate from Mount Holyoke College and her Masters in Music from Northwestern University. She was soon appearing in leading opera houses in North America, and made her debut at Chicago Lyric Opera as Marguerite in Faust, at the Metropolitan Opera as Musetta in La bohème, and at the San Francisco Opera in Wagner’s Ring.
Gustafson made her European operatic debut at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris as Rosalinde in Die Fledermausand this was followed by her debuts at the Bavarian State Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in Wagner’s Ring, at the Paris Opéra as Marguerite, at the Teatro alla Scala as Eva in DieMeistersinger, and at the Vienna State Opera as Violetta in La traviata. She returned on numerous occasions to all these theaters and in Vienna was heard in most of the roles in her repertoire, ranging from the title role in Arabellaand Salome in Herodiadeto Ellen Orford in Peter Grimesand several others. Gustafson has also been often identified with the soprano heroines of Janácek’s Jenufaand Katya Kabanova. She first sang Katya at the Glyndebourne Festival under Andrew Davis and then repeated the role in theaters including the Vienna State Opera and Opera National, Paris. She also appeared as Jenufa at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and at the Châtelet under Sir Simon Rattle. The role of Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spadesentered her repertoire at the Glyndebourne Festival. She has also frequently performed at the Hamburg State Opera, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Semper Oper, Dresden.
In recent seasons, Nancy Gustafson has added several dramatic soprano roles to her repertoire. She sang the title role in Strauss’ Salomeat the Teatro alla Scala, Milan in 2007 and later repeated the role at the Vienna State Opera, sang her first Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalierin St. Gallen and then with the Deutsche Oper Berlin and in Tokyo. She also sang Elsa in Lohengrinat the Dallas Opera, Leonore in Fidelioin Bonn, and Schoenberg’s Erwartungat the Chicago Opera Theater. Gustafson also appeared as Tsarina Alexandra in the Los Angeles Opera’s world premiere of Deborah Drattell’s Nicholas and Alexandra opposite Plácido Domingoand under the baton of Maestro Rostropovich. She returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for the world premiere of Lorin Maazel’s opera, 1984, and subsequently performed the work at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and at the Palau de las Arts in Valencia, Spain as well, on all occasions under the musical leadership of the composer himself.
Throughout her career Nancy Gustafson has had the privilege to collaborate with some of the most important conductors of our day such as Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin,Sir Georg Solti, Sir Simon Rattlle, Riccardo Muti, Sir Colin Davis, Christian Thielemann, Christoph von Dohnányi, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Marcello Viotti, and many more. She has appeared internationally in concert and recently won special praise for her interpretations of the Four Last Songs of Strauss and the Final Scene in Salomein concerts with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras under Lorin Maazel.
Her recordings include Das Rheingoldwith Cleveland Orchestra (Decca), Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and La bohème(both for Teldec), Lehár’s Der Tsarevitch and The Land of Smilesfor Telarc, and live recordings of Herodiade( opposite Plácido Domingo ) and Guillaume Tellwith the Vienna State Opera.
Most recently, Miss Gustafson appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic ( Final Scene from Salome ) and at the Koeln Philharmonic ( Cologne, Germany ). She sang the title role of Salome at the Vienna State Opera and with the Arizona Opera, and the role of Ellen Orford with Teatro Regio in Torino, Italy. She was also the Soprano soloist in the 100th Anniversary of Mahler 8th’s Symphony under the baton of Lorin Maazel in Duisburg, Germany.
Miss Gustafson is the General Manager of the Castleton Festival and is Artist in Residence at Northwestern University.