Lyric soprano Shelly Traverse recently made headlines for her “standout” performances as Hero in Seattle Opera’s world-premiere version of Berlioz’s Beatrice & Benedict, after stepping into the role at the last-minute. The Seattle Times noted Traverse as the “scene-stealer” of the performance “charm[ing] the audience with her voice and stage presence, both lovely and unaffected”.
This break-out performance is part of a winning season of role and company debuts. In addition to her debut as Hero, Ms. Traverse has upcoming appearances as Valencienne in Lehar’s The Merry Widow in April 2018 at Tacoma Opera followed by Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute at Vashon Opera in May 2018.
As part of Ms. Traverse’s deep and multi-faceted relationship with Seattle Opera, she has been seen as a frequent and important part of the company’s Community Engagement and Education initiatives. In the current season, Ms. Traverse was selected to perform the leading role of Dora in the world-premiere of a shortened, family-friendly version of Lori Laitman’s The Three Feathers currently touring throughout Washington state. Prior to this, Ms. Traverse has been seen in the title role in Janacek’s Katya Kabanova and as Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute in reduced, community-focused versions of Seattle Opera’s productions. In July of 2017, Ms. Traverse was a featured soloist at the company’s SummerFest, an introduction to the upcoming season, singing the beloved arias “Come Scoglio” and “Un Bel Di Vedremo”.
Equally at home on the opera stage as in other genres, Ms. Traverse is a seasoned veteran of both musical theater and operetta. In the Seattle area, Traverse has performed the roles of Johanna in Sweeney Todd with the Renton Civic Theatre and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society and Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music at Second Story Repertory Theatre.
As a founding member of the Living Music Ensemble, Ms. Traverse has shown her entrepreneurial strength as an organizer and consummate performer. Under these auspices, Ms. Traverse has performed in concerts throughout the Pacific Northwest singing works exclusively by living composers. Most recently, she premiered works by Alexandra Bryant. Other concert highlights include the soprano soloist in a staged version of Handel’s Messiah with The Inverse Opera and as a soloist in Sun Valley Opera’s Rising Star Concert in 2016.
Ms. Traverse was a 2009 Studio Artist at Central City Opera. She holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and completed her master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music.