Described by the Washington Post as “silvery of voice” and “a showstopper” for her recent performances with Washington National Opera as The Rose in The Little Prince and The Flamingo in the world premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn and Me, soprano Lisa Williamson is a versatile singer who has forged a diverse career that has taken her around the world from Muscat, Oman to the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall to the Indianapolis Brickyard.
In the dynamic 2018-19 season she creates the role of Bessie Coleman, the first black American female pilot, in the world-premiere production of Douglas Buchanan and Caitlin Vincent's Sackler Prize-Winning opera Bessie and Ma, returns to the New Haven Symphony for the stratospheric soprano solos in Carmina Burana, and shows off her comedic timing as Amalia in She Loves Me at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts with UConn Opera. In the 2017-18 season she joined the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Carmina Burana, returned to The Glimmerglass Festival to sing The Rose in The Little Prince and sang title roles in Cendrillon and Suor Angelica at UConn Opera. Other recent highlights include her debut with Portland Opera in a double bill of David Lang's the difficulty of crossing a field and the little match girl passion, singing Virginia Creeper and the soprano soloist, Laurie in The Tender Land with Hartford Opera Theater in partnership with the American School for the Deaf in a production in she also communicated using American Sign Language, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra Pops, Die Fledermaus and La Bohème (Opera Theater of Connecticut), the little match girl passion (The Glimmerglass Festival), The Music Man (Royal Opera House, Muscat in Oman), and Wonderful Town (Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, Italy).
photo by Arielle Doneson
Ms. Williamson is a dedicated recitalist with a passion for American repertoire, from Songbook to art song, with a special emphasis on works by women and African-American composers. She was a Marc and Eva Stern Fellow at the United States’ premiere art song festival, Songfest, where she worked with composers Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, and John Musto, and presented the world premiere of James Primosh’s song “Shadow Memory.” In 2013 she performed in The Song Continues with Marilyn Horne, the Weill Music Institute’s Professional Training Program at Carnegie Hall and in 2017 she curated and presented a solo recital of art song with text by Harlem Renaissance writers at The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale in collaboration with the exhibit, "Gather Out of Star-Dust." Williamson is a founding member of the Bassless Trio, a first-of-its-kind chamber ensemble made up of soprano voice, cello, and saxophone. The group made its debut in 2018, premiering six new works written for them and has performed throughout Connecticut and New York.
From 2005-2010, Ms. Williamson was the vocal soloist with The United States Coast Guard Band. In her more than two hundred performances with the Coast Guard Band she performed in thirty-four states in the U.S. and throughout Japan singing a variety of repertoire from opera arias to the American Songbook, and twice performing the National Anthem at the Indianapolis 500 for live audiences of over 400,000 and millions on television worldwide.
Ms. Williamson holds a Master of Music in voice from the Yale School of Music, a Performer’s Certificate from UConn, a Bachelor of Music in voice performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at UConn. The daughter of premiere military band musicians, Lisa is a native of Alexandria, Virginia. She now makes her home in Connecticut with her husband, Commander Adam Williamson, the director of the United States Coast Guard Band, and their son.