Grammy® Award winning soprano Laura Claycomb has firmly established herself as one of the finest operatic coloratura sopranos of her generation, best known for her ethereal high notes, impeccable musicianship, and dramatic stage presence. Ms. Claycomb has appeared repeatedly with the Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Paris Opera, San Francisco Opera, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Théâtre de la Monnaie, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Le Concert d’Astrée, and the Cleveland Orchestra. Further highlights of her varied career range from engagements at the Salzburg Festival and the Lucerne Festival, to the BBC Proms and the title role of Linda di Chamounix at Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
Recently, Ms. Claycomb has expanded her already formidable repertoire while reviving several of her career mainstays. In the 2013-2014 season, she made her Glyndebourne debut as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with music director Vladimir Jurowsky conducting, which was released on DVD/BlueRay. Additionally, she sang her first Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte and Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor with the Bregenz Festival, reprised her Adele in Die Fledermaus at Houston Grand Opera, returned to the Israeli Philharmonic for Carmina Burana and to the San Francisco Symphony for Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (with Tilson Thomas), debuted the role of the Czarina of Shemakha in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel with Bergen Opera with Mikhail Tatarnikov, and returned to the Swedish Radio Orchestra in Lutoslawski’s Chantefleurs et Chantefables with Lionel Bringuier, a cycle she performed with him at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The 2014-2015 season saw her as Amina in La sonnambula at the Bolshoi Theater, Lucia di Lammermoor with New Orleans Opera, and Cunegonde in Candide with the Maggio Musicale in Florence. She also appeared in concert with the Oregon Symphony for Carmina Burana, Mercury Baroque in a performance with David Daniels, and L’orchestra regionale toscana for Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. This 2015 season includes Ophélie in Hamlet with the Moscow State Academic Orchestra, Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Bergen National Opera, her return to the San Francisco Symphony for Strauss’ Brentano Lieder, and a staged Carmina Burana with Teatro Regio di Torino.
Ms. Claycomb began her career as an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera, where she performed over a dozen roles including Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Marie in La fille du régiment. She first captured international attention at the age of 24, when, on short notice, she assumed the role of Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. She has since sung Giulietta with the Bastille Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and the Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchester in Munich. Since her meteoric rise to prominence, Ms. Claycomb has proven herself to be an exceptionally versatile soprano, performing more than 75 roles in dozens of works by composers from Monteverdi to Messiaen.
Recent seasons have seen Ms. Claycomb performing her signature roles of Gilda in Rigoletto with Dallas Opera (earning her the Dallas Opera’s Maria Callas Debut Artist Award) and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Houston Grand Opera, singing the role of Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Grand Théâtre de Genève and with Sebastian Weigle at the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the title role in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor with Pittsburgh Opera and in Tel Aviv with Daniel Oren conducting, Romilda in Handel’s Serse with Houston Grand Opera, the heroines in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann in Moscow, and Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in Lyon, Brussels, and the Opéra National de Paris.
Ms. Claycomb has emerged as a concert repertoire powerhouse, having performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Les Arts Florissants, among those already mentioned. She has tackled soloist roles in Orff’s Carmina burana (National Symphony, LA Philharmonic and Danish Radio Symphony with the late Frühbeck de Burgos), Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and oratorio Christus am Ölberge, the latter with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Ms. Claycomb is among today’s foremost Mahler sopranos, having sung solos in the composer’s Symphonies Nos. 2, 4, and 8 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Maggio Musicale di Firenze and Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, with Tilson-Thomas, Gergiev, Honeck, Inkinen and Abbado/Mattheuz. She appeared to great acclaim in Mahler’s Second Symphony at Carnegie Hall and on European tour with Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFSO. She has been featured on San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas albums of Mahler’s Fourth and Eighth Symphonies; the latter of which was awarded three Grammy® awards in 2009. She also recorded Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra.
High-profile productions starring Ms. Claycomb that led to live recordings include Katharina Thoma’s 2013 Glyndebourne production of Ariadne auf Naxos, Alan Platel and Fabrizio Cassol’s Pitié with Cypres Records, Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini with the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Colin Davis as well as with Roger Norrington and the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, and Robert LePage’s production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in Brussels.
Ms. Claycomb’s extensive recording catalog includes numerous albums of bel canto operas and chamber music with Britain’s Opera Rara label such as Handel’s Arcadian Duets with Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert D’Astrée, Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the London Sinfonietta, Carmina burana with the London Symphony Orchestra and Richard Hickox (Chandos) as well as Fauré’s Requiem with the San Francisco Boy’s Choir and Ian Robertson.
Ms. Claycomb has collaborated with renowned conductors Pierre Boulez, Patrick Summers, Richard Hickox, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Daniel Oren, Pinchas Steinberg, Paavo Järvi, and Sir Colin Davis and has originated many new productions with high-profile stage directors including Peter Sellars, Julie Taymor, Katharina Thoma, James Robinson, and David Alden. Early in her career, she earned the Silver Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Pegasus Prize at Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Operetta Prize at the Belvedere Competition in Vienna, and First Prize in the National Opera Association Competition in the U.S. She has developed a strong interest in the training and nurturing of the next generation of operatic artists and currently serves as consultant for the Bolshoi Young Artist Program, giving master classes there and at the Centre for Operatic Studies in Sulmona, Italy. A native of Texas, Ms. Claycomb now resides with her husband in Italy.