"With its large orchestral and choral forces often operating at high decibels, Cassandra requires solo voices that can cut through... Spinto soprano Elena O'Connor had no such problems, ringing out with a huge top and a strong, verismo-style chest register that offered real dramatic tension."
SOPRANO Elena O'Connor appeared this fall in the role of Clytemnestra in the New York debut of Vittorio Gnecchi's opera Cassandra, presented by Teatro Grattacielo under the baton of conductor Israel Gursky. Praised by Meche Kroop who called her portrayal "stunning," Eli Jacobsen for Gay City News said, "O'Connor's dusky spinto with its scintillating top register proved a knockout." John Yohalem of Parterre Box wrote: "[Elena O’Connor's] luminous soprano gleamed in furious majesty... O’Connor showed us a queen to be reckoned with before Straussian insomnia and guilt ravaged her. The lady sings Tosca, which would be fun to hear."
In the summer of 2016, Ms O'Connor made her debut in the title role of Jon Truitt's production of Tosca at Union Avenue Opera with Stephen Hargreaves conducting, the St Louis Post-Dispatch describing her singing as "astonishing in its intensity and high volume... going from a whisper to an agonized cry without a hint of stress." Chuck Lavazzi of Stage Left called her debut "brilliant," going on to say, "She made me believe Scarpia could be totally captivated by her," whilst the St Louis American called her "a force to be reckoned with onstage."
Ms O’Connor has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Mobile Opera’s Rose Palmai-Tenser Competition, and the Palm Beach Opera International Vocal Competition where she was a prize-winner in two consecutive years. With Maestro Kamal Khan, she toured as the title role in Palm Beach Opera’s production of Robert Chauls’ Alice in Wonderland and also performed concerts throughout South Florida. Additionally, she is a winner of the Aspen Music Festival’s Vocal Concerto Competition. In Aspen, she has been featured as Musetta in La bohème, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Micaela in Carmen, all under the baton of Julius Rudel and the direction of Ed Berkeley.
An art song enthusiast, Ms O’Connor has been a three-time fellow with the University of Miami's Lieder program in Salzburg headed by Lorine Buffington-Summers where, as an honoree of the Schloss Leopoldskron Competition, she was featured in recitals around the city. She was also a participant of the Ravinia Festival’s prestigious Steans Institute Program for Singers under the auspices of James Conlon and Margo Garrett, where she studied and performed works of Schumann, Rachmaninoff and Poulenc with the likes of Pierre Vallet, Malcolm Martineau, and Rudolph Piernay. Also at the invitation of Maestro Conlon, Ms O’Connor was perhaps the youngest ever featured soloist in the long history of the Cincinnati May Festival, where she performed the soprano role in Bach’s Cantata No. 21, Cincinnati’s Enquirer calling her “a young star to watch.”
In 2014, she sang with the Rochester Oratorio Society as the soprano soloist in Poulenc's Gloria with Eric Townell conducting. She also joined the distinguished chorus on their European tour of this work, garnering acclaim in Prague, Krakow and other cities for her performances.
In addition to her work in traditional concert venues, Ms O'Connor has had the pleasure of performing as a guest artist at Turner Broadcasting's Trumpet Awards honoring Clint Eastwood in Las Vegas, where she performed a lauded a cappella rendition of the Negro Spiritual, "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" She also has performed at events for the French Consulate and Fortune Magazine under the auspices of Sing for Hope.
Ms O'Connor has had the pleasure of appearing numerous times with the celebrated Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under the batons of Michael Butterman and Jeff Tyzik, and was among many artists invited to take part in Christopher Seaman's farewell concert, singing Ralph Vaughn Williams' Serenade to Music, recorded on the Harmonia Mundi label. Also in Rochester, she was featured as Musetta in Mercury Opera's production of La bohème with conductor Gerard Floriano. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle hailed her performance, saying, "Elena O'Connor repeatedly brought down the house with her lustrous powerhouse soprano and wonderfully over-the-top theatrics. She has obvious diva credentials." She appeared again with Maestro Floriano in December 2013 as the RPO's guest artist on their winter regional concert tour, performing selections ranging from arias to holiday classics. Most recently, she appeared alongside Mayor Lovely Warren as the RPO's featured guest artist for Rochester's Fourth of July celebration with conductor Ward Stare.
She studies with Constance Fee.