Position: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice
Employed Since: Fall 2023
B.A., M.M., Pennsylvania State University; D.M.A., Shenandoah University
Soprano Melissa Jean Chávez has been acclaimed by the Washington Post for her “voluptuous voice” and “cooly exemplary production.” DC Metro Arts writes, “as an actress, Chávez commands the stage and uses the tremendous range of her gorgeous soprano to full advantage.” Recent and upcoming roles include Fiordiligi in “Così fan tutte,” Laurie in “Tender Land,” the title role in “Adriana Lecouvreur,” Beatrice in “Beatrice et Benedict,” Maddalena in “Andrea Chenier,” Mother in “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” Carmela in “La Vida Breve,” Donna Anna in “Don Giovanni,” Beatrix in “Les Bavards,” Libby Norton in the premiere of “Norton: A Civil War Opera,” Donna Elivira in “Don Giovanni,” Desdemona in “Otello,” Giorgetta in “Il Tabarro,” Rosalinda in “Die Fledermaus,” Hannah in “The Merry Widow,” Geraldine in “The American Maid,” Adina in “L’Elisir d’amore,” Giulietta in “Les contes d’Hoffmann,” Countess in “Le nozze di Figaro,” Anna Maurrant in “Street Scene” and Helena in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Chávez did her apprenticeship for four years as young artist at the prestigious Castleton Festival, directed by Lorin Maazel where she has covered Britten’s “Les Illuminations” and understudied Desdemona in “Otello,” among other singing opportunities.
Chávez is equally at home on the concert stage. She recently performed as a soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mozart’s “Requiem,” Handel’s “Gloria,” Villa Lobos’s “Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5,” Handel’s “Messiah,” Bach’s “Magnificat,” and in a touring recital of Schubert and Wolf Goethe-Lieder. She will also appear with the United States Army Chorus as a soloist. Additional recent performances include the soprano soloist in Webber’s “Requiem,” Barber’s “Knoxville Summer of 1915,” Copland’s “Old American Songs” and Mahler’s “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” with orchestra. Recent recital venues include The Barns at Rose Hill, Temple Rodef Shalom, Har Shalom Congregation, Indiana University, Shenandoah Conservatory, Bowie Performing Arts Center and Front Royal Presbyterian Church. Chávez is a soprano soloist and music ministry assistant at Front Royal United Methodist Church and performs locally and regionally as a soloist and recitalist.
Chávez is a winner of the 2010 and 2007 Bach-Handel Competition, winner of the 2011, 2010 and 2009 NATS Student Auditions: Advanced College Women Division, a finalist in the Shenandoah Concerto Competition, Philadelphia Lieder Society Competition, Opera at San Nicola Competition, and has received multiple grants for recital performances. In 2011, Chávez was a winner of the Assisi Music Festival Competition and traveled to Assisi, Italy, to perform as a soloist in the Assisi Music Festival.
Chávez has studied with Susanne Mentzer, Debra Lawrence, Aimé Sposato and Richard Kennedy. She has sung in several opera programs, including Repertory Opera Theatre of Washington, D.C., Opera in the Woods, Winchester Opera Project, Summer Opera Theater Company of D.C., Bethesda Summer Music Festival, Crittenden Opera Workshop and the Harrower Summer Opera Workshop.
Chávez studied at both Penn State University and Shenandoah Conservatory. She has been selected to present performances at academic conferences, including a performance of Jake Heggie songs at the CMS 2007 National Conference, a recital performance of scenes from Astor Piazzolla’s tango-opera “Maria de Buenos Aires” for the CMS International conference in 2009, and a lecture recital on songs of “Modesta Bor” at the CMS 2011 National Conference.