Soprano Laquita Mitchell consistently earns acclaim in eminent opera companies throughout North America and Europe. Already in her young career, she has led performances with the Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Opéra Comique in Paris, among many others.
In her compelling debut as Bess in Porgy and Bess with the San Francisco Opera, Opera News said “Soprano Laquita Mitchell, in her first outing as Bess, dazzled the SFO [San Francisco Opera] audience with her purity of tone and vivid theatrical presence.” She has since reprised the role with New Jersey State Opera, the Atlanta Opera; Madison Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (at both Tanglewood and Symphony Hall), and also the Robert Russell Bennett Porgy and Bess Suite with the Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony, Sheboygan Symphony and with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra in Sopot, Poland.
Hailed in the New York Times for her portrayal of Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata” in New York City Opera’s 2012 season opener said “Ms. Mitchell’s voice is rich, shimmering and sizable, her singing was tender and expressive”. Other notable appearances include Micaela in Carmen at the New York City Opera; Leonora in Il trovatore in South Carolina as well as with Nashville Opera; the role of Sharon in Terrance McNally’s Master Class at the Kennedy Center; Musetta in La bohème in a return to the Los Angeles Opera; Mimì in La bohème with Cincinnati Opera and at the Utah Symphony and Opera; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Florentine Opera, Portland Opera; and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Opera New Jersey.
Also active as a concert artist, Ms. Mitchell most recently performed Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Louisville Orchestra, the world premiere of Steven Stucky’s August 4, 1964 with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Jaap Van Zweden, her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut as the soprano soloist in Wynton Marsalis’ All Rise under Kurt Masur, and the soprano solo in Tippett’s A Child of our Time with the Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center. She has also performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, the New York Symphonic Ensemble at Alice Tully Hall, with Branford Marsalis and the Garden State Philharmonic, and with the New York Festival of Song “Salute to Arlen” concert at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Mitchell made her debut with the New World Symphony in Alberto Ginastera’s: Cantata para la America Magica. Ms. Mitchell returned to the Cincinnati Opera in the role of Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen. She also was featured in the Cincinnati Opera’s Park Concert Gala held at Washington Park in downtown Cincinnati. In the summer of 2014, Ms. Mitchell was asked to give a solo recital with accompanist Craig Terry for the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles, California under the auspices of PBS. Fall of 2014, Ms. Mitchell joined Beth Morrison Projects for David Lang’s The Difficulty of Crossing a Field in the role of Virginia Creeper. Ms. Mitchell recorded The Difficulty of Crossing a Field as well as performed the piece for NPR radio at Roulette performance space. She recently made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin in the 2015 Salute to Dr, Martin Luther King Jr. at Girard College. Ms. Mitchell’s 2015-2016 season begins with an appearance in two recitals with Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, performing works by Samuel Barber, John Carter and Lee Hoiby. Ms. Mitchell made her New York Philharmonic debut this fall of 2015 “In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy“. This special two day event celebrates ground breaking soloists who have influenced generations of singers. She was the soprano soloist in the Brahms Requiem with the Color of Music Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Ms. Mitchell will also sing the soprano solos in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Princeton ProMusica. She then made her official debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin in the world premiere of “One Land, One River, One People” by Hannibal. Ms. Mitchell then made her debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in their Classical Roots Concert Honoring Jessye Norman, conducted by Roderick Cox, singing the Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss. She then sings the role of Bess from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Mitchell’s 2017-2018 season includes a return to the role of Violetta in Verd’s La Traviata at Opera Memphis. She make debut’s with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven: Symphony No.9) and the Allentown Symphony in a salute to Bernstein and Gershwin, and much anticipated debut with the Oratorio Society of New York in the world premiere work “Sanctuary Road” by Paul Moravec. Ms. Mitchell will also create the role of Coretta Scott King in Douglas Tappin’s “I Dream” with Opera Grand Rapids, Toledo Opera, and Opera Carolina.
Ms. Mitchell’s most recent engagements included the title role in Tom Cipullo’s Josephine with Opera Colorado, Bess in Porgy and Bess with Grange Park Opera in the UK, Lithuanian State Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and Baltimore Symphony, and the soprano soloist in Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road with the Columbus Symphony. Right before the Covid-19 Pandemic, Ms. Mitchell made her debut with the Colorado Symphony, in a program of romantic arias for Valentine’s Day. She would go on to rehearse for her debut with the Virginia Opera in the role of Aida, but alas the pandemic disrupted that long awaited debut. During the pandemic, Ms. Mitchell hosted a weekly program focusing on arts in education and activism within the arts. Ms. Mitchell was asked by the Grameen Creative Lab and Yunus Centre to lead a panel discussion in the “2020 Summer of Purpose” in München, Germany focusing on Race in Opera from the male perspective.
In the Fall of 2020, Ms. Mitchell was able to perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer 1915 with Augusta Symphony, and was asked to curate two programs for Opera Colorado Amplified Series -with Rocky Mountain Media PBS. The first program stars Ms. Mitchell in Tom Cipullo’s Josephine, and the second program entitled “The Promise of Living– The African-American Experience through times of Hope and Struggle”. Filmed in January of 2021 will feature Ms. Mitchell, Baritone; N’mon Ford and Conductor; Israel Gursky, and Davis Dance Company. The program will air on March 4, 2021. Ms. Mitchell will sing George Bridgetower’s rarely performed Henry with Orchestra of St. Luke’s as they present Sounds & Stories: Rita Dove along with David Hyde Pierce which will be streamed through their digital program on May 5, 2021. Ms. Mitchell will return to the stage creating the role of Julie in the World Premiere of Grammy Award-Winner Rhiannon Giddens’ and Micheal Abels OMAR with the Spoleto Festival USA summer of 2021. Ms. Mitchell is the soprano soloist for the Pulitzer Prize winning composer Paul Moravec’s oratorio Sanctuary Road which is nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award in the Best Choral Performance Category.
Laquita Mitchell is a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Prize Winner, and was awarded a 2004 Sara Tucker Award. She was also the First Prize Winner of the Wiener Kammer Oper’s 2003 Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition, and the First Prize Winner of the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers, as well as the winner of the Audience Choice award. Ms. Mitchell is an alumna of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and the Houston Grand Opera Studio. She completed her Master’s and the Professional Studies Certificate at the Manhattan School of Music, and completed her Bachelor’s at Westminster Choir College. Ms. Mitchell is the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Young Alumni Award from her alma mater the Manhattan School of Music. In May of 2015 Ms. Mitchell will receive the Alumni Award from her undergrad Westminster Choir College. Ms. Mitchell can be seen in the San Francisco Opera’s DVD of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in the role of Bess.
Ms. Mitchell can be heard as the Soprano Soloist on the Avie Label in Margaret Bonds: The Ballad of the Brown King with The Dessoff Choirs.
Ms. Mitchell can be heard as the Soprano Soloist on the Naxos Label in Paul Moravec’s: Sanctuary Road with the Oratorio Society of New York.