Hailed as a “richly powerful singing actress” (Broadway World), Nina Yoshida Nelsen captivates audiences throughout North America and Europe with her world class voice and magnetic stage presence.
This past season, Ms. Nelsen made her Boston Lyric Opera debut as Mama Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana and her Bard Opera debut singing Mother Chen in Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier, returned to Opera Santa Barbara for a double bill of El Amor Brujo and Frugola in Il Tabarro, and made her Chicago Opera Theater debut singing Queen Sophine in Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus. She also performed in the filmed docu-concert “B” at Boston Lyric Opera, made her Washington National Opera debut as Phoung Tran in the world premiere of The Rift (Ruo/Hwang), sang Mama in Jack Perla’s An American Dream at Kentucky Opera, joined Santa Fe Opera for performances of Huang Ruo's Angel Island and performed as the alto soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Rhode Island Philharmonic. In the 2022-2023 season, Ms. Nelsen will reprise the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Atlanta Opera and New Orleans Opera, perform selections of orchestrated lieder by Alma Mahler with the Toledo Symphony, return to Seattle Opera TBA and join her home company of Opera Santa Barbara as Mama in An American Dream and Fricka in the Dove reduction of Die Walküre.
In 2019-2020, Ms. Nelsen made her Portland Opera debut as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, performed in the world premiere of Blood Moon at Prototype Festival in New York City and returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago to cover Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. Performances canceled due to COVID-19 included a return to the Santa Barbara Symphony to perform Beethoven's Mass in C and a reprisal of the role of Khanh in Huang Ruo's Bound at The Juilliard School.
During the 2018-2019 season, Ms. Nelsen made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Mama in Jack Perla's An American Dream and reprised the same role at Anchorage Opera. She also returned to Opera Santa Barbara as Tituba in The Crucible and sang in their 25th Anniversary Gala concert.
In the 2017-2018 season, Ms. Nelsen returned to Seattle Opera to sing the role of Mama in An American Dream and made a company debut with Manitoba Opera singing Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. She also performed Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer with the Grand Junction and Flagstaff Symphony Orchestras and returned to both the Santa Barbara and Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestras to perform as the alto soloist in Mozart's Requiem.
In 2016-2017, Ms. Nelsen returned to the Santa Barbara Symphony as the alto soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and debuted with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem.
Other notable engagements include Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Utah Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, Sarasota Opera and New York City Opera; Khanh in Bound and Woman in The Memory Stone with Houston Grand Opera; Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall; Handel’s Messiah with Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Santa Barbara Chorale; and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Santa Fe Concert Association, Southwest Florida Symphony and at Carnegie Hall.
An accomplished competitor, Ms. Nelsen has won first prize in the Performing Arts Foundation Vocal Competition, the Profant Foundation Vocal Competition and the Santa Barbara Foundation Vocal Competition. She was also a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a National Finalist in the Loren L. Zachary Society Vocal Competition and the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition.
Ms. Nelsen is a graduate of Boston University and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.