Grammy Award-winning American mezzo soprano Tichina Vaughn has established an important presence among the world’s leading opera houses, concert halls and theaters. As an outstanding singing-actress versatile in opera, operetta, musical theater, and jazz, Vaughn continues to gather both popular and critical acclaim. Ms. Vaughn began her operatic career as a member of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Program directly after receiving her bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Ms. Vaughn begins the 2022-2023 season on tour with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra singing multiple roles in Porgy and Bess, led by Alan Gilbert. She then joins the Utah Opera as Mary in Der fliegende Holländer, before debuting with Opéra de Lyon as the Old Lady in Candide. In the spring, she returns to the role of Amneris in Aida with Fort Worth Opera, and closes the season with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Monisha in a new production of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, reimagined by composer Damien Sneed.
Last season featured her return to the Metropolitan Opera for Porgy & Bess, The Hostess of the Inn in Boris Godunov and Serving Woman 1 in Elektra. She also debuted with Boston Lyric Opera as Emelda in Terence Blanchard’s Champion, and in the summer of 2022 she joined the Cincinnati Opera as Amneris in Aida and performed as a soloist on the company’s special Morris Robinson & Friends concert. Additionally she joined the Boston Landmarks Orchestra as soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and the world premiere of Many Mansions by Diane White Clayton.
Highlights of recent seasons include debuts at Theater an der Wien, English National Opera and Dutch National Opera as Maria in Porgy & Bess, and returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Lily in Porgy and Bess, First Maid in Elektra and for Dialogues des Carmélites. She returned to Semperoper Dresden as Herodias in Salome and Brigitta in Die tote Stadt. She was also scheduled to sing Mary in Der fliegende Holländer at Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Mama Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana at Seattle Opera (cancelled due to COVID).
As a visiting artist, Ms. Vaughn made her Italian debut as Azucena in Il Trovatore under the baton of Nicola Luisotti at Teatro Verdi Trieste where she was later heard as Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera, a role she also performed at Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Teatro Massimo Palermo, Teatro delle Muse Ancona, Teatro Verdi Salerno, and Teatro Filarmonico Verona. She became a regular guest at the Arena di Verona where she essayed more than 50 performances of Amneris in Franco Zeffirelli’s Aida as well as several performances of Azucena in Il Trovatore. Further international engagements have included Azucena in Il Trovatore at the Budapest National Opera and Greek National Opera, Amneris in Aida at Opera Hong Kong, Herodias in Salome at Las Palmas Opera, Erda in Der Ring des Nibelungen at Finnish National Opera, Augsburg Opera, and the State Opera Kassel, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera and Venus in Tannhäuser at Hamburg State Opera, Maria in Porgy and Bess at the Bregenz Festival, Mistress Quickly in Falstaff at Korean National Opera, as well as Klytemnestra in Elektra, Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, and Princess Eboli in Don Carlo with Opera Frankfurt.
In North America Ms. Vaughn has appeared as Azucena in Il Trovatore with Sacramento Opera, Amneris in Aida with Michigan Opera Theater, Tulsa Opera, Seattle Opera, and Orange County Opera, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera at San Francisco Opera, and La Frugola in Il Tabarro with Los Angeles Opera.
From 2010 to 2018 Ms. Vaughn was a principal artist with Dresden Semper Opera where she was heard as Azucena in Il Trovatore, Venus in Tannhäuser, Ortrud in Lohengrin, Klytemnestra in Elektra, Eboli in Don Carlo, Prince Orloffsky in Die Fledermaus, Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Grand Vestale in La Vestale, Herodias in Salome, Cornelia in Giulio Cesare, and Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin, among others.
From 1998 to 2006 Tichina Vaughn was a principal artist at the Stuttgart State Opera where she was awarded the title of Kammersängerin for her successes in such roles as Eboli in Don Carlo, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Widow Begbick in Mahagonny, Venus in Tannhäuser, Giulietta in Tales of Hoffmann, Arnalta in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Herodias in Salome, Fricka in Die Walküre, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, and Erda in Siegfried and Das Rheingold.
In addition to her many operatic successes, Tichina Vaughn has performed symphonic concerts, chamber concerts, and recitals in many prestigious concert halls around the world. Featured works include the Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony. Orchestras she has performed with include the Berlin Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra Kennedy Center, Jerusalem Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Stuttgart Philharmonic, and the National Symphony of Ireland.
Her discography includes the Grammy-winning Metropolitan Opera recording of Porgy and Bess, Stuttgart State Theater’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, and her solo portrait CD entitled “Christmas at My House”. Additionally she appears on the release Schwanda the Bagpiper – Live from the Semperoper.
In addition to her title as Kammersängerin, Tichina Vaughn has received many awards and honors during her distinguished career including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Award, the Richard Tucker Foundation Study Grant Award, the Opera Index Vocal Competition Award, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Award, and a Birgit Nilsson Foundation Award. Most recently she was presented the Consul General’s Award for Cultural Diplomacy from the Consulate General in Milan.