The Amrican soprano, Nicole Heaston, is a graduate of the University of Akron, Nicole Heaston also holds a Masters Degree in Voice from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. The ARIA, which she won in 2000, is the latest addition to her list of awards and honors, which include: a Jacobson Study Grant and a Career Grant - both from the Richard Tucker Foundation, a Shoshana Foundation Grant, the Robert Weede Corbett Award, the Opera Guild of Dayton Competion, the Opera Columbus Competition, the San Antonio Opera Guild Competition, the Metropolitan Opera Regional Audition- Encouragement Awards, and Houston Grand Opera's Eleanor McCollum Award Competition.
Nicole Heaston is a versatile artist who has quickly come to the attention of the operatic world. Under the direction of Maestro Minkowski in the 1996-1997 season that she sang, and subsequently recorded with Archiv Production Deutsche Gramophon, performances of Gluck's Armide with Les Musiciens du Louvre, and of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's Stabat Mater in Grenoble (France). (Her other collaborations with the Maestro include the roles of Angelo in George Frideric Handel's La Reurrezione, and Belinda and the First Witch Dido and Aeneas.) In the same season she sang her first Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Ismene in Mozart's Mitridate with Wolf Trap Opera, and created the role of Jackie O with Houston Grand Opera (recorded on the Argo label and with 1998 ARIA winner Eric Owens as Aristotle Onassis and fellow ARIA 2000 winner Joyce Di Donato as Princess Grace), a role she sang "with warnth, power and rich color". She made her Houston Grand Opera debut in 1995-1996 as Juliette in Charles Gounod's Romeo et Juliette. She later performed the role of Saint Settlement in Virgil Thomson's Four Saints in Three Acts and Mrs. Hayes in Susannah with the company.
In the current (1999-2000) season, Nicole Heaston performed in Un Ballo en Maschera as Oscar with the San Francisco Opera, a roleshe sang the previous season at Dallas Opera; as soloist in G.F. Handel's Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony; at Houston Grand Opera as Adina in L'elisir d'amore and as Zerlina in Don Giovanni (which she sang a year earlier at Düsseldorf Opera); and in Vienna as Drusilla in Monteverdi's Incoronazione di Poppea which was the vehicle for her 1998-99 season debut with the Festival of Aix-en-Provence. In the same season, she sang (and recorded for Teldec) J.S. Bach's B minor Mass (BWV 232) with Boston Baroque and Mozart's Requiem with the Honolulu Symphony, and appeared in recital at the Kosciuszki Foundation in New York (sponsored by the Marilyn Horne Foundation), in Little Rock (AK), Jacksonville (FL) and Grenoble (France). In the 1997-1998 season, in addition to her role in The Rake's Progress, she opened the season of the Flanders Opera in Belgium as Eve in Haydn's Creation, appeared as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with the Washington Opera, and as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Houston Grand Opera, and sang the soprano solos in G.F. Handel's Messiah with the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, (MI) and appeared in a movie based on the work for which she also recorded the soundtrack under the baton of Marc Minkowski.
Nicole Heaston's continually expanding repertoire also includes Susanne in Schubert's opera Der Graf von Gleichen which she sang in both the work's world premiere performance and recording, Miss Silverpeal in The Impressario, and Anna Gomez in The Consul. On the concert stage, she has sung J.S. Bach's B minor Mass (BWV 232) and St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), Neue Liebeslieder Waltzes, A Song of Thanksgiving and Dona Nobis Pacem by Vaughn Williams, and of course American songs, including gospels and spirituals.