The American coloratura soprano, Elizabeth Futral, was norn in North Carolina and raised in Covington, Louisiana. She earned a bachelorís degree in music performance from Samford University. After studying with Virginia Zeani at Indiana University, she spent two years as an apprentice with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Elizabeth Futral first came to fame in the title role of the 1994 New York City Opera production of Delibesí Lakmé. Edward Rothstein wrote in The New York Times that ďMs Futralís performance was crucial to the success of the evening.... Ms Futral was refined and accurate, hitting her high notes without strain or artifice, giving her vocal acrobatics warmth without ever succumbing to egoism. She was not out to prove anything; the song ['The Bell Song'] was not laden with excessive emotion or elaborate musical gestures: it had the virtues of her performance throughout the evening, offering simplicity, grace and directness.Ē In 1995 she won 2nd Prize in Placido Domingo's Operalia International Opera Competition. Since then she has established herself as one of the major coloratura sopranos in the world today, winning acclaim throughout the USA as well as in Europe, South America, and Japan. She has embraced a diverse repertoire that includes Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Glass, and Previn.
In 1996 Elizabeth Futral was invited to the Rossini Opera Festival to sing the title role in the first production of Rossini's Matilde di Shabran since 1821. Later that year, she sang the role of Catherine in Meyerbeer's L'étoile du nord at the Wexford Festival. In September 1998, she created the role of Stella in the world premiere of André Previnís A Streetcar Named Desire for the San Francisco Opera. In February 2001, she debuted with the Los Angeles Opera as Cleopatra in G.F. Handelís Giulio Cesare. Other roles she has sung for the Los Angeles Opera include Sophie in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier and Violetta in Verdi's La traviata. On January 8, 1999, she made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of Donizettiís Lucia di Lammermoor. In 2003, she sang the role of Princess Eudoxie in the Met's first performances of Halévyís La Juive since 1936. She returned to the Met in December 2006 to star opposite Plácido Domingo and Paul Groves in the world premiere of Tan Dunís The First Emperor. In 2009 she portrayed Laura Jesson in the world premiere of Houston Grand Opera's production of André Previn's Brief Encounter with Nathan Gunn as Alec Harvey.
In the fall of 2005 Elizabeth Futral performed Ricky Ian Gordonís Orpheus and Euridice as part of Great Performers at Lincoln Center. That season also included Adina in L'elisir d'amore for Washington National Opera and Violetta in La Traviata for Los Angeles Opera. Other highlights of past seasons include La traviata with Berlin State Opera; Rigoletto at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; Elvira in I Puritani with the Baltimore Opera; the title role in Daphne with the New York City Opera; Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with Los Angeles Opera; touring to Japan with the Bayerische Staatsoper as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro conducted by Zubin Mehta; the Johannes Brahms Requiem and Krenekís Die Nachtigall with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas; Lucia di Lammermoor with Dallas Opera conducted by Richard Bonynge, and with Teatro Municipal in Santiago; and Curley's Wife in Of Mice and Men with Houston Grand Opera. Recitals have included visits to Chicago, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Los Alamos, NM, and Philadelphia.
Elizabeth Futral began the 2007-2008 season with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Violetta in La Traviata. She also appeared with Pittsburgh Opera, Indianapolis Symphony, and New Orleans Opera for their New Year's Eve gala. She gave a recital at Julliard with Margo Garrett and sing concerts with Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and Long Beach Opera. Later in the season she appeared with San Diego Opera and Fort Worth Opera. This past season she returned to Vancouver Opera for a concert performance of I Puritani, the Metropolitan Opera for the world premiere of Tan Dunís new opera The First Emperor and I Puritani, New York City Opera for Semele, and Baltimore Opera for L'assedio di Corinto. This summer she made her debut in Vienna at the historic Teater an der Wien for Le Nozze di Figaro. The season spanning 2008-2009 found Elizabeth opening Washington National Opera's season as Violetta in La Traviata and visiting Oviedo, Spain to sing Anne Trulove in Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. She sang Violetta at Deutsche Opera Berlin and Thais for Athens Concert Hall in Athens, Greece. Houston Grand Opera premieres Andre Previn's Brief Encounter and Elizabeth with star alongside Nathan Gunn. Washington Concert Opera presented her in a little known Mercadante opera Il Giuramento and she closeed out the season as Violetta for Los Angeles Opera and San Francisco Opera.
Elizabeth Futral's extensive discography includes Meyerbeer's L'Etoile du nord for Marco Polo, Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, and Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges conducted by Maestro Previn for Deutsche Grammophon, and Philip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox for Euphorbia Records. She has recorded Rossini's Otello and Zelmira and Pacini's Carlo di Borgogna for Opera Rara as well as Mozart, The Supreme Decorator for that label, Lucia di Lammermoor and a solo aria recital for Chandos as part of their ďOpera in EnglishĒ series, Hugo Weisgall's Six Characters in Search of an Author (New World), Floyd's Of Mice and Men by Floyd (Albany), Ricky van Gordon's Orpheus & Euridice (Ghostlight). She can also be heard on "Sweethearts", a collection of operetta favorites on Newport Classics. She can be seen as Stella in the video of A Streetcar Named Desire on the Kultur label, and has been featured on Live From Lincoln Center and A&E's Breakfast With the Arts.
Elizabeth Futral and her husband, noted conductor and artistic director of Opera Roanoke Steven White, live in Franklin County, VA, near Roanoke, VA.