Hailed as a “rich voiced, expressive mezzo-soprano” by San Francisco Classical Voice, Nina Yoshida Nelsen made her New York City Opera debut with great success as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, conducted by George Manahan.
In the 2021-2022 season Nina Yoshida Nelsen makes her Boston Lyric Opera debut as Mama Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana. She also makes her Bard Opera debut singing Mother Chen in Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier, with performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center. She then returns to Opera Santa Barbara for a double bill of El Amor Brujo and Frugola in Il Tabarro. Nina makes her Chicago Opera Theater debut singing Queen Sophine in Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus. In the spring, she sings mezzo solos in Boston Lyric Opera’s “Uplifting Asian Voices” concert and records Madama Butterfly with the company. She also will sing Mama in Jack Perla’s An American Dream at Kentucky Opera and the Alto Solo in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Rhode Island Philharmonic.
In the 2019-2020 season Nina Yoshida Nelsen made her Portland Opera debut as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. She also performed the world premiere of Blood Moon at Prototype Festival in New York City. Nina returned to Chicago Lyric Opera to cover Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and gigs canceled due to Covid were the Santa Barbara Symphony performances Beethoven’s Mass in C ?and the role of Khanh in Huang Ruo’s Bound at The Juilliard School.
In the 2018-2019 season, Nina made her Lyric Opera Chicago debut as Mama in Jack Perla’s An American Dream. She also reprised the same role at Anchorage Opera. Nina returned to Opera Santa Barbara as Tituba in The Crucible and also sang in their 25th Anniversary Gala concert.
Nina made an important debut at Utah Opera in March of 2009, singing Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. The mezzo-soprano is the recipient of a 2008 Encouragement Award from the Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition. In 2006, Ms. Nelsen was a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She is a 2009 graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, where she studied with Bill Schuman. At AVA, her roles included: Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Smeton in Anna Bolena, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Kabanicha in Katya Kabanova, Annina in La traviata, Larina in Eugene Onegin, and Erika in Vanessa.
Other noteworthy recent engagements include: Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette with Opera New Jersey, Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible with Utah Festival Opera, the title role in Carmen and the role of Antonia’s Mother in Les contes d’Hoffmann with Komische Kammeroper of Munich, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera Santa Barbara.
Nina Yoshida Nelsen spent the 2004-2005 season as an Artist-In-Residence with Orange County Opera, where she performed the role of the Marquise de Berkenfeld in La fille du régiment in their educational outreach program. Ms. Nelsen made her debut with Opera Providence in 2002 as Tisbe in La cenerentola, and subsequently appeared with the company as Dorabella in their English version of Così fan tutte.
Other notable roles include Idamante in Idomeneo, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Lulu in Lukas Foss’The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, all of which she performed with the Opera Institute at Boston University.
In 2005, Ms. Nelsen was a National Finalist in the prestigious Loren L. Zachary Society Vocal Competition, and she was also a National Finalist in the 2006 and 2008 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. In 2004, Ms. Nelsen won first prize in the Performing Arts Foundation Vocal Competition, the Profant Foundation Vocal Competition and the Santa Barbara Foundation Vocal Competition.