Cynthia Clayton

Suggested Operatic Repertoire
Review Excerpts

Cynthia Clayton recently enjoyed great critical as well as popular success with her first performances in the title role of Jenufa with Utah Opera. Over the past few seasons, Ms. Clayton made debuts with a number of companies to extraordinary success, including Dallas Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni; Knoxville Opera as Liu in Turandot; Opera Delaware as Nedda in Pagliacci; Central City Opera as Penelope in the North American premiere of Britten’s Gloriana; New York City Opera as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, both Mimi and Musetta in La boheme, and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro; Utah Opera as Mimi; and Orlando Opera as the Countess. She also made a triumphant return to Festival Opera in the title role of Floyd’s Susannah; appeared with San Diego Opera as Mary Willis in Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree, Musetta, and Micaela in Carmen, conducted by Richard Bonynge; and she was Massenet’s Manon for Arizona Opera. In addition, she has sung Violetta in La traviata in Belgium; Madama Butterfly for Anchorage Opera and Fort Worth Opera; Susannah for Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre; Manon Lescaut for Intermountain Opera; Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Mimi, and Nedda, all for Festival Opera. She has appeared both as Micaela and Marguerite in Faust with Cleveland Opera; with Santa Barbara Grand Opera as Mimi; and with the New West Symphony as Violetta.

Future seasons include Mimi in La boheme and Nedda in I Pagliacci for her Houston Grand Opera debut; and a return to Utah Opera for the title role in Tosca.

Ms. Clayton completed a Principal Artist Residency with Opera San Jose, including such roles as Tatyana, Violetta, Fiordiligi, Micaela, Leila in Les Pecheurs de Perles, Donna Elvira, Gilda, Rosina, Mimi, Pamina, the Countess, Cio-Cio San, and the title roles in The Merry Widow and George Roumanis’ Phaedra, the latter of which she performed in the world-premiere stage version as well as in the Emmy-nominated adaptation Ode to Phaedra, made for National Public Television broadcast by KTEH.

Ms. Clayton’s concert performances have included Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem and Solemn Vespers, Brahms’ Requiem, and Debussy’s La Damoiselle Elue. She has won the Grand Prize in the Carmel Music Society’s Voice Competition and third place in the Western Region of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. She has received a role study grant from the Esperia Foundation, was a winner of the Aspen Music Festival Aria Competition, and was a semi-finalist in the prestigious MacAllister Awards. She is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (BA, Music) and the University of Southern California (MM, Vocal Arts). In 2005, Ms. Clayton joined the faculty of the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston as a Professor of Voice.


Suggested Operatic Repertoire

BrittenTurn of the ScrewGoverness
FloydCold Sassy TreeMary Willis/Love Simpson
MozartCosí fan tutteFiordiligi
MozartDon GiovanniDonna Anna/Donna Elvira
MozartLe nozze di FigaroCountess
MozartDie ZauberflötePamina
OffenbachLes contes d'HoffmannAntonia
PucciniLa bohémeMimi/Musetta
PucciniMadama ButterflyCio-Cio San
TchaikovskyEugene OneginTatyana
VerdiFalstaffAlice Ford
VerdiSimon BoccanegraAmelia

Review Excerpts

Lyric Opera of Kansas City – Don Giovanni
“Donna Anna, as sung by Cynthia Clayton, was an aristocratic lady whose smoldering passions were only thinly veiled. Her voice has sufficient weight and dramatic color for this part and she handled its most difficult coloratura passages with ease.”
- Opera Japonica, May 2004

Utah Opera’s La boheme
“Cynthia Clayton, singing the role of Mimi, is terrific. In addition to her beautiful voice, Clayton brings liveliness and spirit to a character who is sometimes portrayed as sickly sweet.”
- Deseret News, January 20, 2003

Festival Opera’s Susannah
“In the title role, Cynthia Clayton gave a performance of heart-breaking tenderness and vitality, using her full-bodied soprano to depict Susannah’s harrowing downfall at the hands of mass righteousness. The melodic phrases of her famous Act 1 aria, ‘Ain’t it a pretty night,’ arched dreamily with the joy of being alive, while the mournful ballad of Act 2… drew a devastating emotional contrast.”
San Francisco Chronicle, August 12, 2002

Central City Opera – Gloriana (North American Premiere)
“Lady Rich was sung by the sure-fire Cynthia Clayton”
Opera, January 2002

“Elizabeth Batton and Cynthia Clayton are fully in command of Ladies Essex and Rich.”
The Daily Camera, July 23, 2001

New York City Opera – La boheme
“The American soprano Cynthia Clayton was a becoming Mimi, by turns shy, sweet and flirtatious… Ms. Clayton has a warm, affecting voice… she phrased with lyrical suppleness, and this was overall a lovely performance.”
The New York Times, October 19, 1999

Cleveland Opera – Faust
“Cynthia Clayton sang one of the best Marguerites I have ever encountered. Vocal clarity with beauty of tone made the Jewel Song into a lyric extravaganza. A feeling of totally elegant charm and control made her performance riveting, a tragic heroine rather than simple village maiden.”
Opera, March 1997

Festival Opera – I Pagliacci
“Cynthia Clayton sang the role of the beautiful actress Nedda with a seductive surety and soaring soprano.”
The Oakland Tribune, July 16, 1997

“Cynthia Clayton’s Nedda boasts a rich, velvety soprano that is perfect for the part. This is a warm, vibrantly sexy Nedda, full of desire for Silvio… Yet she’s touchingly human and given to conflicting emotions, adding depth to the character.” – The Times, July 14, 1997