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Elisa Sunshine

Elisa Sunshine headshot


Celebrated by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “blend of vocal sparkle and theatrical charisma,” California native Elisa Sunshine is a newly minted graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship Program who brings the immediacy of the human experience to life through vocal acrobatics and theatrical dynamism.

In the 2023/24 season, Ms. Sunshine joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago to cover Marie in La fille du régiment. This summer, she joins the Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Program where she sings Annina in La Traviata and covers Sheila in the world premiere of Gregory Spears’ The Righteous. She returned to San Francisco Opera during the centennial season celebration in Die Frau ohne Schatten (Servant 1, Unborn Child 1, and cover of Voice of the Falcon), conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles. In competition, she represented the United States as a participant in the 2023 Queen Sonja Singing Competition in Norway and is a finalist in The Dallas Opera National Vocal Competition.

In recent collaborations with conductor Eun Sun Kim, Sunshine performed excerpts from Lulu, La fille du régiment (Marie), Lucia di Lammermoor, and Ariadne auf Naxos (Zerbinetta) alongside the San Francisco Opera orchestra in “The Future is Now” concert, as well as Annina in a brand new Shawna Lucey production of La Traviata. Additional San Francisco Opera highlights include her debut as the Shepherd boy in Tosca; singing Soeur Anne de la Croix and covering Constance in Olivier Py’s award-winning production of Dialogues des Carmèlites; covering Despina in Così fan tutte, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Amor in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice; and preparing assignments lost to the pandemic, including covering the title role in Handel’s Partenope, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Musetta in La bohème.

Sunshine made her company debut with Pensacola Opera as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, a role she has performed with Portland Opera To Go and as a member of the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center. Additional opera credits include Musetta with MetroWest Opera in an all-female version of Puccini’s iconic opera titled La femme bohème; Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel and Musetta in La bohème with Regina Opera; and Zerbinetta with Harvard’s Lowell House Opera in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

In her debut with the San Francisco Symphony, Sunshine performed Second Fairy in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen. She also performed with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, led by Music Director Richard Egarr.

An avid lover of new works, Sunshine created the role of Selena in Merola Opera Program’s world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s If I Were You, where her “steady, vibrant soprano made the most of her every moment. Ms. Sunshine also mined every bit of drama out of Selena’s revelatory final encounter with Diana” (Opera Today). With the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York City, she performed the role of Elizabeth Christine in Scott Wheeler’s workshop of The Sorrows of Frederick. Sunshine performed the role of Madame White Snake in a workshop of Scott Wheeler’s Naga at New England Conservatory and later covered the role in its world premiere at the Cutler Majestic Theater in collaboration with ArtsEmerson and Beth Morrison Projects.

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