Grammy Award-nominated soprano Chelsea Basler continues to make her mark in an extensive array of operatic roles due to her unique combination of vocal appeal and artistry. Praised for her "luminous voice" with its "easy soaring range", she has also been noted for her "wonderful acting" and ultimately deemed "simply superb". In the spring of 2019, Ms. Basler appeared with Boston Lyric Opera as Moira for the East Coast premier of Poul Ruders' The Handmaid's Tale and made a company debut with Boston Midsummer Opera as Clorinda in La cenerentola. In the fall of 2019, Ms. Basler will join the Metropolitan Opera roster, covering Pousette in Manon and return to the BLO as Mary Johnson in the New England Premier of Fellow Travelers. 2020 engagements include a staged version of Aida with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, rejoining the Metropolitan Opera to cover Musetta in La bohème, Jordan Hall and Tanglewood performances with Emmanuel Music in Kurt Weill's The Firebrand of Florence, and a fall 2020 debut with Arizona Opera.
Ms. Basler enjoys a particularly strong relationship with Boston Lyric Opera, which she initially joined as an Emerging Artist during the 2013–2014 season. She rejoined the company in the autumn of 2016 when she made her critically acclaimed role debut as Micaëla in
BLO's mounting of the Calixto Bieito production of Carmen as well as Lucy Brown in their 2018 production of The Threepenny Opera. Her other roles with Boston Lyric Opera include Valencienne in The Merry Widow; Zerlina in Don Giovanni; Glasha in Katya Kabanova; Flora/Violetta cover in La traviata; Contessa Ceprano/Gilda cover in Rigoletto, Enrichetta/Elvira cover in I Puritani; Margret in Lizzie Borden, a production which was reprised at the 2014 Tanglewood Festival; Papagena/Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Isolt the Fair in Frank Martin's The Love Potion (Le vin herbé), a portrayal hailed as "lovely, passionate, and clear" by Opera News.
Particularly noted for her interpretation of the title role in Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, Ms. Basler has benefited from the mentorship of the role's creator, the late Phyllis Curtin, and both the coaching and enthusiastic endorsement of Floyd himself. She made her Nashville Opera debut in the role during the spring of 2018 and had her Pasadena Opera debut in the same role in 2016. Additional recent engagements include performing Mozart's Susanna in Opera Saratoga's 2016 production of Le nozze di Figaro and covering Liù in Virginia Opera's 2017 production of Turandot.
Ms. Basler has been engaged in several prestigious young artist residencies, most recently joining Santa Fe Opera as a 2015 Apprentice Artist, covering Arminda in Mozart's rarely performed La finta giardiniera and creating the role of Sara in the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain, a live recording of which was released by Pentatone and was nominated for a Grammy. As a 2013 Apprentice Artist with Opera Saratoga, she performed Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore. In 2012 and 2013, Ms. Basler was a young artist with Sarasota Opera, covering Gilda in Rigoletto and Liù in Turandot in addition to appearing as Guardian of the Dawn in Daron Hagen's Little Nemo in Slumberland and Curley's Wife in Of Mice and Men. As a young artist with Des Moines Metro Opera in 2012, Ms. Basler covered the role of Magda in La rondine.
An accomplished concert and recital performer, Ms. Basler's 2018 and 2019 engagements include debuts with the Omaha Symphony, performing Mendelssohn's Elijah and the Glens Falls Symphony in a concert program including J. S. Bach's Cantata 51 and Mahler's Symphony No. 4. She has appeared multiple times with the Cape Symphony both as soprano soloist for "Opera's Greatest Hits," in collaboration with Boston Lyric Opera, and as soprano soloist for the Mozart Requiem. In recent seasons, her concert repertoire has also included Strauss Lieder, Berg's Lulu Suite, Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Vaughan Williams' Dona nobis pacem, Puccini's Messa di Gloria, Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate, and Handel's Messiah.
Ms. Basler's talents have been recognized throughout the vocal competition circuit. Some of her awards include Second Place for the 2017-2018 American Prize in Vocal Performance (Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award), First Place in the National Opera Association's prestigious Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition, as well as multiple awards from the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Vocal Competition (Shreveport, LA) including Fourth Place along with the Lorena Beasley Mangin Memorial Award (2017) and the Flourney Award (2016). Other competition awards include Boston University's Kahn Award, First Place in the Peter Elvins Vocal Competition, and a grant from the Shoshana Foundation. In 2016 Ms. Basler placed as a semi-finalist in the Brava! Opera Theater and James M. Collier Competition and Second Place winner in the Mildred Miller International Vocal Competition, under the auspices of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Ms. Basler earned her Artist Certificate (Opera Institute) and Master of Music from Boston University and her Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory.
Chelsea can be heard on the following recordings: Jennifer Higdon - Cold Mountain (Pentatone Music, PTC 5186583(2), 2016) Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience (Albany Records, Troy 1241/42, 2010), Gilbert and Sullivan's Hilarious 1887 Gothic Comic Opera: Ruddigore (Albany Records, Troy 1164-65, 2009), Victor Herbert: Mlle. Modist (Albany Records, Troy 1146-47, 2009), Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado (Albany Records, Troy 1070/71 2008), and Jerome Kern: The Cabaret Girl (Albany Records, Troy 1103-04 2008). She also appears in Victor Herbert: Mlle Modiste (DVD, Operetta Foundation, OA 1020, 2009.