"Chelsea shone in her portrayal of Zan, growing from a fun-loving girl in the opera’s prologue into an empowered woman in the final scene. Her voice is warm, agile and full, especially in her aria 'What Will it Be for Me?"
— Emily Schweich, DC Metro Theater Arts
Hailed for her "warm, agile and full voice", soprano Chelsea Lehnea is quickly establishing herself as an exciting young artist equally at home on both the concert and opera stage. In the 2019-2020 season, she returned to Bel Cantanti Opera with a role debut as Gilda in Rigoletto as well as make a house debut as Musetta in La bohème with Gulfshore Opera. Due to Covid-19, she will be reprising the role of Musetta with Gulfshort Opera this fall.
A 2016 alumna of the Santa Fe Opera's Apprentice Singer Program, Ms. Lehnea made her Washington National Opera debut as Sister Catherine in Francesca Zambello's 2017 production of Dead Man Walking. In the 2017-2018 season, she joined the roster of Sarasota Opera to both perform Frasquita in Carmen and cover Adalgisa in Norma. She also made her New York debut with her initial exploration of the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor, performing excerpts from the opera under the aegis of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. In the 2018-2019 season, she made company debuts with St. Petersburg Opera (Florida) as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, the Virginia Consort as the soprano soloist for Der Messias, and Bel Cantanti Opera (Washington DC) as Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice. In the summer of 2019, she joined the Merola Opera Program at the San Francisco Opera Center singing Woman at the Bar in the world premiere of If I Were You and excerpts as the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor and as Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda.
In the 2015-2016 season, she completed her tenure with the University of Maryland's Maryland Opera Studio, performing the roles of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Alexandra (Xan) in Regina, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. In the 2014-2015 season, she performed the roles of Ruth in Christopher Patton's A Family Reunion with the Maryland Opera Studio and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Harrower Opera Workshop.
Ms. Lehnea has also appeared in concert as soprano soloist for the Mozart Requiem, Haydn's Missa Brevis in F, the Fauré Requiem, and the Bach Ascension Oratorio BWV 11. She made her international debut in 2012 with the touring chorus Advent Now on their tour of Japan.
Ms. Lehnea is a graduate of the University of Maryland where she earned her Master of Music in Opera Performance and is also a graduate of Lee University where she earned her Bachelor of Music cum laude in Vocal Performance. As a member of the Lee University Opera, she performed such roles as Lucy in The Telephone, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. A highlight of her undergraduate years was her performance as a soloist with the Lee University Festival Choir at the 57th Inauguration of the President of the United States in 2013.
Ms. Lehnea took first place in the 2019 Camille Coloratura Awards as well as place in the 2019 Atlanta District Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions. She has earned encouragement awards from the 2016 George London Foundation Awards Competition and the 2016 Licia Albanese–Puccini Foundation Vocal Competition. She also won an encouragement award from the 2014 Pro–Mozart Society of Atlanta and placed as a finalist for the 2013 Jenny Lind Competition for Sopranos.
She has performed on masterclasses with Martin Katz, Peter Sellars, Tomer Zvulun, Carroll Freeman, Thomas Synofzik, and Dale Warland. She currently studies with Soprano Carmen Balthrop.
A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee,
Ms. Lehnea maintains an active online teaching schedule through Blue Feather Music.
When not in rehearsals, she enjoys hiking Appalachia, experimenting with vegan culinary arts, and cuddling her cat, Shiley.