Celebrating black artists in opera: Meet Katy’s soprano Nicole Heaston

She deserves a standing ovation!

HOUSTON – Renowned soprano, Nicole Heaston, is one of the most important local voices in opera and a frequent Houston Grand Opera collaborator.

She has performed with prestigious opera companies throughout the world but calls Katy home.

She talked about her stellar career and Giving Voice 2021, a concert celebrating diverse voices.

“It’s a performance that Houston Grand Opera puts on and I’m co-hosting with Larry (Lawrence) Brownlee, that has all African American singers, and we’re singing standards, opera. It’s a beautiful concert,” said Heaston, who has appeared with the San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Washington National Opera; as well as operas in Germany, England, Denmark, and Norway.

Heaston, who has been praised by The New York Times for her “radiant” and “handsomely resonant voice,” reminisced about how she discovered her talent for opera.

“As a young child, I was a singer. My mother was a pianist and I always sang in church. I sang gospel music, I sang spirituals, but once I got into high school, my music teacher said, ‘You’re an opera singer and you’re a soprano,’ because I’ve been singing alto. And I said, ‘Black people don’t sing opera,’ and she said ‘Yes, they do,’’ remembered Heaston.

She then saw pictures of Leontyne Price and William Warfield in her classroom.

“They made me aware, this is what I can be. Once she told me that, I just ran with it,” said Heaston, who mentioned her favorite thing about her phenomenal job.

“I love the fact that I can dress up and be different people and have a good time and give people joy,” she said.

Giving Voice 2021 is available to stream for free on the Houston Grand Opera’s website, now through Feb. 21.

To see Heaston’s complete interview, watch the video above.

To connect with Heaston, click here.

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