Elisa Sutherland is a mezzo-soprano known for her detailed, stylistic interpretations of both early and new music. This upcoming season, she will perform with Philadelphia's contemporary music choir The Crossing, New York ensembles Ekmeles and TENET, New Chamber Ballet, Grammy-award winning octet Roomful of Teeth, Cleveland's Apollo's Fire, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and her own early and new music sextet, Variant 6. 

Elisa has performed as a soloist with the American Bach Soloists, Apollo Chorus of Chicago, and Quicksilver Baroque, singing Bach's Mass in b minor, Handel's Messiah, and Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri. In the realm of contemporary music, she has premiered works with the Contemporary Music Ensemble at Northwestern University, and performed with the Rowan University Wind Ensemble. She has sung with LyricFest, Philadelphia's premiere art song concert series curated by Laura Ward. In addition to winning the Philadelphia District of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 2015, Elisa is the 2014 winner of the Lynne Harvey Cooper Award, and was the first-place winner of the inaugural Handel Aria Competition at the Madison Early Music Festival in 2013. Recent opera roles include Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Meg in Little Women, Ottavia in L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Nancy in Albert Herring. Elisa is also remembered for her Blazing Saddles - Madeline Kahn impression in a production of Die Fledermaus.

Elisa graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance. She lives in Brooklyn. 

 Photo by Charles Mueller

Photo by Charles Mueller



Performance with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale in 2017:

"Why do I use was the evening’s sole composition with English words; it featured the only solo artist, the splendid mezzo-soprano Elisa Sutherland, in her debut season with the Chorale." - John W Lamber, Classical Voice North America

Baroque Marathon Concert at the American Bach Soloists 2015 Summer Festival:

"Among the vocal soloists, Elisa Sutherland was one of the better performers as she traversed Ich bin vergnugt in meinem Leiden from the cantata for the Sunday after New Year, Ah Gott, wie manches Herzeleid." - Michael Strickland, SFCiviccenter


2015 performance of John Cage's Four Solos for Voice (93-96) with Ekmeles:

"The vocalists here catapulted an onslaught of words and textures from the stage as the lights periodically dimmed and got brighter. They warbled, clucked, croaked, rasped, mumbled, groaned and belted out incongruous snatches of lyrics ... At one point Ms Sutherland squeaked out, “Dandelions make nice candles if they are dried up... make a wish and blow out the candles.” - Rebecca Lentjes, Bachtrack

Regarding Elisa's solo in the Bienen Contemporary and Early Music Choir's 2014 performance of The Little Matchgirl Passion:

"It was painful." - David Lang, composer

From the 2013 Handel Aria Competition: 

"Sutherland's expressive "Dopo notte" from Ariodante was particularly impressive, her melismatic passages exhibiting an obvious ease in phrasing. Her singing range was broad, with very distinct contrasts in timbre between pitches and a distinctively lush tone on lower notes. Sutherland sang each piece with great attention to detail and near-flawless intonation, getting into character while embodying the technical and artistic facets of the music." - Marie Loeffler, The Daily Page

As Nancy in Albert Herring:

"Elisa Sutherland was a poised and affecting Nancy." - Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review