Eleni Calenos – soprano
Greek soprano Eleni Calenos, is capturing admiration from critics and audiences for the clarity, warmth and beauty of her voice, and for her dignified characterizations. Of her performance as Tosca, Opera News said: “Eleni Calenos gave a performance for the ages, both vocally and dramatically”, and The Wall Street Journal: “The real standout, however, was soprano Eleni Calenos’ searing performance as Tosca–passionate, mercurial, heart-on-the-sleeve, with all the necessary vocal range, stamina and fire.” In Madama Butterfly, the Houston Press said: “The phenomenon was the Cio-Cio San of Greek soprano Eleni Calenos, whose nuanced characterization was a true wonder to hear. She sailed through her dramatic arias as if buoyed by the stirring music.”
In the 2019-2020 season she will be appearing as Mimi in La Bohème with the Cleveland Opera Theater, as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Opera Santa Barbara, as Liu in Turandot with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, and will return to Glyndebourne for next fall’s tour as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly.
This season, Ms. Calenos appeared as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Eptapyrgion Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece, as Mimi in La Bohème with Opera Santa Barbara, and as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Shreveport Opera. She was recently the soprano soloist in the Maria Callas gala anniversary concert with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra of Greece, in her native city, and covered the role of Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly at the Glyndebourne Festival. In the fall of 2017, she had her debut in Germany with the Wiesbaden Staatstheater as Saida in the world premiere of the opera Schönerland by Søren Nils Eichberg. Other recent appearances include Giorgetta in Il Tabarro and the title role in Suor Angelica (Opera Delaware & Opera Company of Middlebury), Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly (Annapolis Opera & Ash Lawn Opera), Tosca (Opera Idaho & LOFT Opera), Mimi in La Bohème (Shreveport Opera & Palm Beach Opera), Desdemona in Otello (Phoenicia International Festival), Micaëla in Carmen (Palm Beach Opera), a New Year’s Opera Gala at Athens’ Megaron Concert Hall with the Athens State Symphony Orchestra of Greece, Mimi in La Bohème and an Opera in the Park concert (Madison Opera), the role of L’Infante in Le Cid (Odyssey Opera), and Liù in Turandot (Opera Company of Middlebury).
In past seasons, ms. Calenos performed Silvia in Mascagni’s Zanetto (Odyssey Opera), Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Palm Beach Opera), Lia in Debussy’s L’ Enfant Prodigue (Metro Chamber Orchestra of NY), Liù in Turandot (Shreveport Opera & Boston Chorus Pro Musica), Micaëla in Carmen (Opera Idaho), Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro (Tulsa Opera & Austin Opera), Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly (Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Idaho, Shreveport Opera, Mississippi Opera, & Opera in the Heights), Nedda in I Pagliacci (Shreveport Opera), Gilda in Rigoletto (Sarasota Opera), Hanna Glawari in Die lustige Witwe (Zomeropera, Belgium), Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Valencienne in The Merry Widow (Utah Festival Opera), Mimi in La Bohème (Opera Idaho), Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (Shreveport Opera), Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte (Barbados Music Festival), Medora in Il Corsaro (Hellenic Music Foundation, NY), Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and the title role of Suor Angelica with Boston University’s Opera Institute, as well as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Martina Arroyo Foundation. Of her performance, The New York Times said, “Eleni Calenos sang with a strong, clear soprano and was persuasive as a suffering yet haughty Donna Elvira.”As a concert/recital soloist, Ms. Calenos has performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Missa Solemnis (Queens College Choral Society, NY), Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Queens College Choral Society), Verdi’s Messa da Requiem (Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, Queens College’s Choral Society, Penn State University, Masterworks Chorale, Boston University Symphony at Boston Symphony Hall), Respighi’s Lauda per la Natività del Signore and Vivaldi’s Gloria (Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra), and Libby Larsen’s cycle Try me, Good King (National Opera Center, NY). She was also the soprano soloist in The Bells by Rachmaninov, and in Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms (Lancaster Symphony Orchestra). In the summer of 2013, ms. Calenos appeared at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center as the soloist in J.Rutter’s Magnificat. Her concert repertoire also includes Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder (Cambridge Symphony Orchestra), Poulenc’s Gloria, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Nielsen’s Hymnus Amoris and the title role in Händel’s oratorio Theodora (Hudson Valley Singers). Eleni participated in the Meyerbeer Retrospective concert with Mo Eve Queler with Opera Orchestra of New York, and appeared as the principal soloist with Greek composer A. Paraskevas at Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (Distinguished Concerts International New York).
Her recordings include Mascagni’s Zanetto with Odyssey Opera of Boston, and George Tsontakis’ Mirologhia, which was released on the KOCH International Classics label with the Albany Symphony Orchestra..
Ms. Calenos boasts a long list of awards including the Gerda Lissner Foundation award (2010), and the “Judges Award” from the Connecticut Opera Guild Competition (2009). She also won the Audience Favorite award at the Irma Cooper Competition in Columbus, Ohio (2008), the Schyler Foundation “Career Bridges” Award (2006-2008). She was a finalist of the Oratorio Society of NY competition (2010), the Renata Tebaldi International Vocal Competition in San Marino (2009), and the Concurso del Canto de Bilbao (2008). She was one of the Young American Artists of Glimmerglass in 2010, and a participant of the Martina Arroyo Foundation program “Prelude to Performance” in 2006.
Eleni was a member of Boston University’s Opera Institute between the years 2006 and 2008, and holds a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Queens College in New York, as well as a Diploma in Violoncello Performance form the Municipal Conservatory of Thessaloniki, Greece.