American soprano, sound healer, producer and composer Elyse Anne Kakacek is making her mark with her “unexpectedly deep and honey-colored soprano” (Parterre Box) in opera, oratorio and contemporary music. She has been acclaimed as a “stand out performer” (Opera News) with “delicious sultriness of voice (and) smoldering lyricism” (Operawire).
Elyse is thrilled to return to the stage as Cora in Fresh Squeezed Opera’s world premiere of Self Defined Circuits and as Dorinda in Opera Praktikos’s production of Handel’s Orlando. In addition to her operatic work, Elyse regularly performs her original art pop concept album “Nothing I see means anything” with her crystal singing bowls and percussion at venues around New York City under the moniker Elly Kace.
During the pandemic, Elyse created the role of Emily in the premiere of Daniel Felsenfeld and Be Goodwin’s new opera Exposure hosted by the Cell Theatre in Brooklyn, NY in collaboration with Boston duo Transient Canvas. Elyse also self-released her second album of art song entitled “Formless”- an exploration of loss and faith through Dvorak’s Biblical Songs. Both of her albums- “Untethered” and “Formless” are now internationally acclaimed and on rotation for classical radio stations worldwide including WQXR, WFMT (National and Chicago), KXLU, CapRadio, In-flight Entertainment, and many more. “Inspirational in both interpretation and content, Formless offers a salve for the soul in troubled times such as these” by WGTE Radio.
Ms. Kakacek is also a co-artistic director, performer and producer with Frisson Films, INC, a new nonprofit she co-founded with artistic partner Ryan Rivard, dedicated to the filmed expression of classical music. Frisson’s first project, L’Eraclito amoroso (in which Elyse sings an aria by Barbara Strozzi juxtaposed with pole dancing) has been screened internationally. The company’s annual Frisson Festival will be held virtually this year and feature performances by many visual, dance, and musical artists including Kakacek. Head over to www.frissonfilms.org to learn more.
In the 2019/2020 season, Ms. Kakacek performed as the Soprano Soloist for the Mozart Alleluia and Barber: Knoxville Summer of 1915 with the Modus Opera and Orchestra In NYC, the soprano soloist for Purcell’s Come ye sons of art with Baroquelyn, and Zerlina in Bronx Opera’s production of Don Giovanni. Earlier in the season, Ms. Kakacek sang at Theaster Gates’ Black Artist Retreat at the Park Avenue Armory and later rejoined the visionary artist in Munich for The Black Chapel at Haus der Kunst.
In the 2019/2020 season, Ms. Kakacek performed as the Soprano Soloist for the Mozart Alleluia and Barber: Knoxville Summer of 1915 with the Modus Opera and Orchestra In NYC, the soprano soloist for Purcell’s Come ye sons of art with Baroquelyn, and Zerlina in Bronx Opera’s production of Don Giovanni. Earlier in the season, Ms. Kakacek sang improvisatory solos as a part of Theaster Gates’ Black Artist Retreat at the Park Avenue Armory and later rejoined the visionary artist in Munich for The Black Chapel at Haus der Kunst.
An advocate for new music, Elyse has worked closely with composers such as Whitney George, Aaron Siegel, Jason Cady, Cristina Lord, Matthew Welch, Gianluca Verlingieri, Balint Karosi, Felix Jarrar and Valerie Saalbach. Elyse made her Carnegie Hall (Weill) debut interpreting the new works of composer Georgia Shreve with the Manhattan Contemporary Ensemble, and later recorded these works for Ms. Shreve at the legendary Avatar Studios. Elyse was described as “captivating as she floated her voice into the heavens with a feathery tone” (Operawire) in her creation of the title role of Princess Maleine at La Mama Experimental Theatre in NYC.
Ms. Kakacek has sung lead roles for multiple world premieres including: her venue debut at National Sawdust in Brooklyn creating all seven soprano roles for Experiments in Opera’s premiere of And Here We Are, six different lead soprano roles for Experiments in Opera’s production of Flash Operas (20-minute operas based on the short stories of writers from The New Yorker and Saturday Night Live), and the role of Karen in Verlingierei’s The Courtship (Boston and NYC), among others.
Equally in love with traditional repertoire, other career highlights include: Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Dafne in L’Euridice, Micaela in Carmen, Nedda in I Pagliacci, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Despina in Così fan Tutte, Norina in Don Pasquale, Musetta in La Bohème, Flora in The Turn of the Screw, Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia, Clorinda in La Cenerentola and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte.
Ms. Kakacek has performed as a concert soloist across New York City, including as the Soprano 1 soloist for Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor, the soprano soloist in Franz Liszt’s Sainte Cecile Legende for a promenade concert at the David A. Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Bach’s St. John Passion, The Coffee Cantata, BWV 151 and BWV 127. She has also appeared as the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with numerous orchestras in the US and as the soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy for the International Beethoven Festival in Chicago.
Elyse was the First Prize winner for The North International Music Competition, the winner of The Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship in their 31st annual competition, and 2nd Prize Winner for the Lyra New York 2019 Mozart Oratorio Competition. She was also a recipient of the The Lynne Harvey Foundation Scholarship in Honor of Her Sister, Virginia Maier from the Musician's Club of Women. Ms. Kakacek advanced as a New York Regional Finalist for Lyra New York’s Traditional Opera international competition, Talents of the World, Inc.'s international competition, the Premiere Opera Competition and the Kosciuszko Foundation's Marcella Sembrich Competition. She has participated as a Grand Finalist in competitions such as The Elaine Malbin and Mario Lanza Vocal Competition (NYC), The American Prize Competition, The Harold Haugh Vocal Competition (Michigan) and OperaIdol (Chicago).
Ms. Kakacek has trained as an actor with the Black Box studio in Chicago and The Gately Poole Institute focusing on the Meisner, Stanislavsky and Checkov techniques. She has completed young artist programs including dell’Arte Opera Ensemble (’17, ’18, ’19), Opera Pomme Rouge’s Resident Artist Program (’16-’17), The Amalfi Coast Music Festival, OpTIC, Chicago Summer Opera, and OperaWorks.