As the title character in the American Premiere of Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio at the Minnesota Opera, Adriana Zabala was recently praised by The Wall Street Journal as showing “tremendous stamina and boy-like flair.” The New York Times hailed her as “a vivid, fearless presence,” and the L.A. Times as “extraordinary” for her portrayal of the Barbarian Girl in the American premiere of Philip Glass’ Waiting for the Barbarians with the Austin Lyric Opera. Ms. Zabala enjoys a vibrant and unique career that includes opera, song repertoire, new works, concert and oratorio. She performs extensively throughout the United States and internationally, and served for five years as Artistic Director of the Southeastern Festival of Song. Last season, Ms. Zabala created the role of Sister James in Minnesota Opera’s world premiere of Doubt, and was seen as Cherubino in Florentine Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro. The 2013-2014 season includes a return to Florentine Opera as Sesto in Giulio Cesare, a reprise of Cherubino with Jacksonville Symphony, and Mahler’s Third Symphony with Quad City Symphony Orchestra. Future seasons include her return to the Jacksonville Symphony, an exciting role debut with Nashville Opera and a world premiere with Minnesota Opera.
Within the last few seasons Ms. Zabala has been seen on the stages of The Seattle Opera, The Minnesota Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, the Wildwood Festival, The Syracuse Opera, the Arizona Opera, the Lyric Opera of San Antonio, Opera Carolina, the Lake George Opera, Opera Pacific and Opera Saratoga. She has also been a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Spokane Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Madison Symphony, the New York Festival of Song, and at the Caramoor International Music Festival with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She has appeared in recital in the Barns at Wolf Trap, The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, The Dallas Museum of Art, Ventford Hall in Lenox, MA, and in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Recent highlights include Ms. Zabala’s European debut under Maestro Lorin Maazel as Mercedes in Carmen at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain, her Carnegie Hall debut on a concert with pianist and composer Gregg Kallor, premiering Exhilaration, Kallor’s settings of nine Emily Dickinson poems, her critically acclaimed portrayal of the Barbarian Girl in the American Premiere of Phillip Glass’ Waiting for the Barbarians with the Austin Lyric Opera, and appearing as the alto soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Bryn Terfel as Elijah.
She also made her Canadian debut with Opera Lyra Ottawa as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, sang the title role in La Cenerentola with the Atlanta Opera, returned to Opera Carolina as Rosina in The Barber of Seville, and celebrated the release and critical success of the compact disc Exhilaration: Dickinson and Yeats Songs. Opera News Online raved “Kallor has found a wonderful exponent in Adriana Zabala, a gifted, agile mezzo-soprano. Kallor knows how to make these words sing, and Zabala gives perfect flight to them. Singing with uncommon clarity and natural beauty, she seems to be deep inside both the poems and Kallor’s musical realizations.”
Recent engagements have included Hansel with Austin Lyric Opera, Dorabella with Opera Saratoga, Rosina with Sugar Creek Symphony and Song, a return engagement to the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Carmen and Salome, under the direction of Zubin Mehta, the role of Isabella Linton in Wuthering Heights with the Minnesota Opera, and a concert of Spanish songs on the Salzburg International Chamber Music series.
Adriana Zabala was born Georgia and raised in Miami, Caracas, Venezuela, and Lake Jackson, Texas. She received her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University, was a Fulbright Scholar in Salzburg, Austria, studying German Lieder at the Mozarteum, and earned her masters degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Ms. Zabala was a Resident Artist for two seasons with the Minnesota Opera, where she performed the roles of Cherubino, Annina, and Rosina, among others. She spent the following season as a Young Artist with the Seattle Opera, singing the title role in La Cenerentola. Ms. Zabala is an alumna of the apprentice programs at the Berkshire Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, Operafestival di Roma, and the Wolf Trap Opera Company. Ms. Zabala lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two daughters