Opera News wrote of Elizabeth DeShong’s performance as Sesto in the Los Angeles Opera’s production of La Clemenza di Tito: “Elizabeth DeShong took pride of place as Sesto. Completely unrecognizable in her beard and dingy armor, DeShong sang with the range, expressiveness and musical precision that captured the hysterical extremes of her character. Much of Sesto’s music lies in the cellars of DeShong’s mezzo-soprano, where the intensely deep contralto tones she commands contrasted startlingly with the dazzling coloratura runs at the top of her range.”
During the 2019/20 season, Ms. DeShong made her debut with the Melbourne Symphony as Hänsel in concert performances of Hänsel and Gretel and sang Pauline in Pique Dame at Lyric Opera of Chicago — both conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. In addition, Ms. DeShong performed in Sorrows and Solace; a performance of two Bach cantatas with the Haymarket Opera in Chicago. Engagements at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Oper Frankfurt, Cleveland Orchestra, among others, were cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.
Last season, Ms. DeShong performed Adalgisa in Norma with the North Carolina Opera, gave a recital for Vocal Arts, D.C., sang John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with the composer conducting, and was a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the San Francisco and Houston Symphonies,conducted by Jane Glover. Additional highlights were her debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Ariel in Sibelius’ The Tempest, the Philadelphia Orchestra in Rossini’s Stabat Mater, conducted by Yannick Nézet -Séguin, a tour of Europe and the United States with The English Concert in which she portrayed both Juno and Ino in Handel’s Semele, the Verdi Requiem with the Minnesota Orchestra, and Sesto in a new production of La Clemenza di Tito with the Los Angeles Opera. In 2018/19, Ms. DeShong sang Ruggiero in Alcina at Washington National Opera, and Arsace in Semiramide at the Metropolitan Opera. In concert she performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Music of the Baroque, and made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Schubert’s Mass No. 6, and the world premiere of Three Lisel Mueller Settings by Maxwell Raimi, both conducted by Riccardo Muti. On the European platform, Ms.DeShong portrayed Suzuki in a new production of Madama Butterfly at the Glyndebourne Festival, and made her debuts with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and at the Proms in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 (“Jeremiah”), under the direction of Sir Antonio Pappano, and sang Hänsel in a concert version of Hänsel and Gretel conducted by Sir Andrew Davis at the Edinburgh International Festival. Further performances of note include Adalgisa in Norma at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and her Royal Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper debuts as Suzuki. Ms. DeShong has performed extensively throughout the world with such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company, English National Opera, Wiener Staatsoper, Opéra National de Bordeaux, the Glyndebourne Festival, and Aix-en-Provence.
The list of symphony orchestras with whom she has performed includes the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Cincinnati Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, the Royal Flemish Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony, The English Concert, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
Ms. DeShong was the recipient of the Washington National Opera’s “Artist of the Year” award in 2010, as the Composer in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. On DVD, she can be seen as Suzuki in the Royal Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly on Opus Arte, Hermia in the Metropolitan Opera’s pastiche opera The Enchanted Island (Virgin), and as Maffio Orsini in the San Francisco Opera’s production of Lucrezia Borgia (EuroArts Music and Naxos of America). Her recording of Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony under the direction of Sir Andrew Davis was released by Chandos and nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2018.