Internationally-renowned Metropolitan Opera star Victoria Livengood is a GRAMMY-nominated mezzo-soprano that has been hailed by audiences and critics worldwide for her multi-faceted and powerhouse performances in a remarkably varied repertoire. From the opera stage to the concert stage, critics have lauded her poignant interpretations of a gallery of characters, and describe her "rich, ruby-red voice" as "liquid silk." Victoria has been acclaimed by the New York Times as "naturally seductive and vocally alluring." Opera News raved that "her singing and acting radiate intensity," the German press declared her "the ideal Carmen of our time," the Italian press proclaimed that "the power of her voice could straighten the Tower of Pisa," the Boston Phoenix Magazine compared her acting to Joan Crawford and her singing to Maria Callas and the Buenos Aires Herald named her "one of the leading singer-actresses of her generation."
The Thomasville, North Carolina native skyrocketed onto the opera scene in 1985 as a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and went on to make her mark on the opera world with her critically-acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 1991 as Laura in Luisa Miller under James Levine's baton. Since then she has become best known for her dynamic portrayals in well over 120 performances with this prestigious company and has established herself as a 'house favorite.' She reached yet another career milestone when she triumphed in the title role of Carmen at the Met, fulfilling a life-long dream to perform the role opposite Placido Domingo. One critic stated, "No previous Met Carmen has approached Livengood's passionate acting and powerful vocalism." The role of Carmen rapidly became her signature role and she performed the multi-faceted gypsy more than 250 times worldwide. Her other acclaimed Met roles have included Herodias in Salome, Giulietta in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Queen Isabella in The Voyage, Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino, Madame Larina in Eugene Onegin, Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, Margret in Wozzeck, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Waltraute in Die Walkure, Sonyetka in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk as well as Helene in the company's premiere of War and Peace followed by Akrosimova in the same production, both of which were under the baton of Valery Gergiev. Her most recent performances at the Met were last season, as the Fortune Teller in Arabella. Furthermore, she has been heard on numerous "Live from the Met" international radio broadcasts.
Victoria's enormous versatility has allowed her to sing over 80 different roles with opera companies throughout Europe, South America, Canada, Asia and the United States. Her illustrious European debut took place in 1991 in Idomeneo followed by La clemenza di Tito with L'Opera de Nice. Other international credits include the title role in the world premiere of La Senorita Cristina for the Teatro Real in Madrid, La Fille du Regiment and Cavalleria Rusticana with the Liceu in Barcelona, Elektra in Las Palmas, Carmen and Rigoletto with Opera der Stadt Koln, Il Trovatore and Elektra in Taipei, Taiwan, Oedipus Rex at the Salzburg Festival and The Consul, War and Peace, Lohengrin and the title role in The Medium all at Italy's Spoleto Festival under the direction of her close friend and collaborator, Gian Carlo Menotti. She also made her debut at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires in Menotti's The Consul once again under the composer's direction followed up by The Rake's Progress and has sung Les contes d'Hoffmann, Die Fledermaus and La Fille du Regiment, all in Santiago, Chile. Her Monte Carlo Opera debut was in the title role of The Medium under the direction of Francis Menotti. Canada has seen her in The Rake's Progress in Vancouver, in Carmen, Rigoletto and The Turn of the Screw at the Edmonton Opera, in Falstaff at Calgary, and as Dalila in an operatic gala for L'Opera de Montreal.
Nevertheless, it is in America that this Dixie Diva has spent the bulk of her career that spans over 30 years. Besides her frequent performances at the Metropolitan Opera, the mezzo made a highly successful debut with the New York City Opera in Mark Adamo's Lysistrata following her Houston Grand Opera debut in the world premiere of the same production. Other productions for the New York City Opera include Bernstein's A Quiet Place. She has sung in Elektra and A Streetcar Named Desire with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Falstaff and Jenufa with the San Francisco Opera, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Ghosts of Versailles with the LA Opera, Boris Godunov, Les contes d'Hoffmann, La Fille du Regiment and Le Nozze di Figaro, all for Washington Opera, Arabella for the Santa Fe Opera, Werther at Seattle Opera, the American premiere of The Passenger as well as Lysistrata, Rigoletto and Otello all for the Houston Grand Opera, Carmen and Il Trovatore for Portland Opera, Carmen for San Diego Opera, Samson et Dalila and Les contes d'Hoffmann at Baltimore Opera, Hamlet, The Medium and The Consul for Florida Grand Opera, Salome for Utah Opera, the American premiere of Beauty and the Beast for Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Inspector with the Boston Lyric Opera, Carmen, Samson et Dalila, Hansel and Gretel and Les contes d'Hoffmann for Cleveland Opera, The Marriage of Figaro for the Atlanta Opera, Carmen with Palm Beach Opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites and Il Trovatore for Fort Worth Opera, Noah's Flood and The Magic Flute for New Orleans Opera, Cosi fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Dialogues of the Carmelites and The Mikado, all at Hawaii Opera Theater, Il Trovatore for Anchorage Opera in Alaska, Il Trovatore for Chautauqua Opera, Carmen and Eugene Onegin for Opera Carolina, both Carmen and Samson et Dalila at Opera Company of North Carolina in Raleigh, Vanessa as well as The Ballad of Baby Doe for the Central City Opera and the title role in The Medium for the Seagle Music Colony and the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice. She also sang the role of Julia Child in the one act opera Bon Appetite for the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival.
Also in high demand as a concert artist with symphonies around the world, Victoria's credits are no less dazzling, having performed in New York's Carnegie Hall on ten separate occasions. Her frequent performances there have included Verdi's Requiem with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, The Civil Wars by Philip Glass with the American Composers' Orchestra, Del Tredici's Child Alice with the American Symphony Orchestra, Rossini's Ermione with MidAmerica Productions, the North Carolina Symphony's tribute to composer Robert Ward, and most recently opposite Renee
?Fleming in A Streetcar Named Desire. She has sung Alexander Nevsky with The National Symphony at the Kennedy Center and at Italy's Spoleto Festival and Oberon with the Cologne Symphony in Germany. Ms. Livengood has also been featured with the London Symphony and the symphony orchestras of Taipei, Atlanta, Minnesota, Baltimore, San Diego, Honolulu, Memphis, Tucson and Jacksonville. She has been heard with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society in a tribute to mezzo Marilyn Horne, as guest artist at the Rosa Ponselle Centennial Gala, as a featured soloist at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral and at the Cincinnati May Festival under James Conlon's baton. She also sang concert versions of both Dalila and Carmen for Boston's Chorus Pro Musica and The Passenger with Houston Grand Opera as part of the Lincoln Center Music Festival at NYC's armory.
As a devoted recitalist, Ms. Livengood has been hailed as "gold-medal caliber, breathtaking, mesmerizing and emotionally charged" at such venues as the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institute, and New York City's Alice Tully and Avery Fisher halls. She has been heard in concert in Paris, Venice, Verona, Milan, Kiev, Odessa, St. Petersburg and Moscow as well as in the Caribbean on the Queen Elizabeth II, and has performed on numerous occasions as part of the "Meet the Artists" series at Lincoln Center. Victoria made her debut in Kingston, Jamaica, singing a concert for their "Feast of Music" Festival. She also had the honor of singing memorial concerts for her dear friend and mentor, Gian Carlo Menotti, in both Monte Carlo and in Spoleto, Italy for a live television broadcast. She gave the world premiere performance of the Academy Award-winning song "When You Believe" from The Prince of Egypt, for Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Pictures and has performed the National Anthem for the New York Mets' baseball game and for the opening of the North Carolina Senate meetings. She also serenaded world famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti at a dinner in his honor for Opera Company of North Carolina. Furthermore, she has lent her talents in concerts to benefit the Leukemia Society, the Epilepsy Foundation, the homeless shelters of New York and Ohio, various hospital guilds, YMCA associations, the Foundation for Children with Aids and the North Carolina Baptist Children's Homes.
Dr. Livengood holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Masters of Music degree from the Boston Conservatory of Music. Both of her alma maters have honored her with the Distinguished Alumni of the year award and she has also been the guest speaker at the commencement ceremonies for both alma maters. Victoria also holds an honorary doctorate degree from Jacksonville University where she served as an Artist in Residence. The “Dixie Diva” is also an inductee into the North Carolina Musicians Hall of Fame alongside such greats as Andy Griffith, James Taylor, Charlie Daniels and Kate Smith.
“Miss Vickie” (as her students call her) maintains a very busy teaching schedule, alongside her prolific performance schedule. She has a private voice studio in Charlotte, North Carolina as well as in New York City and has a roster of nearly 100 students that she sees between her travels. She has served as the head of the classical music program and master class series at the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival in the Pocono Mountains and this past summer, she joined the voice faculty at the University in Bogata, Colombia, where she offered Master classes and private voice instruction. Victoria is in constant demand for her highly acclaimed Master Classes across the globe and has given master classes at the Boston Conservatory of Music, Temple University, Loyola University, Lamar University, East Carolina University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Greensboro, Central Piedmont Community College, Jacksonville University, and Opera Carolina among many others.
She has served as a judge for many international vocal competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in North Carolina and in Boston, the NATS competition in North Carolina, The Queens Opera competition in NYC and the Washington International Vocal Competition. Victoria also serves on the board of overseers for The Boston Conservatory of Music and serves on the board of the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival.
Her upcoming schedule includes returns to Hawaii Opera Theater as Azucena in Il Trovatore, to the Atlanta Opera for another role debut as Ruth in The Pirate's of Penzance, to the North Carolina Opera as Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin and to the Seattle Opera for another role debut as Kabanicha in Katya Kabanova.
Ms. Livengood's extensive discography includes her GRAMMY-nominated performance with the London Symphony in Edward Thomas' Desire under the Elms as well as the Thomas Pasatieri Songbook and Adler's AIDS Requiem, all for Albany Records. She has recorded Menotti's The Consul and Prokofiev's War and Peace for the Chandos label, both with Richard Hickox conducting as well as EMI's Oberon with Ben Heppner, Deborah Voigt, and conductor James Conlon. Her solo releases include Piercing Eyes for Albany Records as well as four live recital recordings entitled We Gather Together, Simple Gifts, Opening Night and The Secret of Christmas. Her crossover gospel recordings include On Holy Ground and Ten Thousand Joys! Victoria will also be featured in three roles for the LA Opera's recording of The Ghosts of Versailles to be released in the near future.
Having been inspired by her travels around the world, Victoria is also the designer of a line of diva fashion accessories called "Opening Night." She is married to her high school sweetheart, Scott Hester, and the couple resides in Mint Hill, North Carolina.
For more detailed information about the Dixie Diva, Victoria Livengood, please visit her official web site at www.victorialivengood.com.
Revised and Updated: December 6, 2015