Francesca Chiejina


"With soprano Francesca Chiejina's celestial voice suspended above the orchestra’s shimmering, mournful music, you might feel as if you’re transcending"

The Guardian

"...even though it’s virtually the first thing we hear, it’s hard to forget the radiance of Francesca Chiejina’s Clara when she delivers her peachy Summertime."

The Times

"Francesca Chiejina produced exquisitely shaped phrases and a luminous sound"

Opera Magazine

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Nigerian-American soprano Francesca Chiejina is a graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where her roles included Countess Ceprano Rigoletto, Lady-in-Waiting Macbeth, Voice from Heaven Don Carlo, and Ines Il trovatore.

This season, Francesca sings the title role in Semele (Blackheath Halls) and performs Strauss Lieder with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera North. She will premiere Odyssey, a new work by Jonathan Dove and will headline the CBSO’s ‘Viennese New Year’ concert.

Recent operatic highlights include High Priestess Aida at Royal Opera House and Lauretta Il Trittico with Scottish Opera Mimì La bohème (Nevill Holt Opera, English Touring Opera); Melissa Amadigi (English Touring Opera); Miss Jessel The Turn of the Screw (OperaGlass Works); the title role in English Touring Opera’s film of Elena Langer and Glyn Maxwell’s Ariadne; Freia RhineGold (Birmingham Opera Company); Anne Trulove The Rake’s Progress (Blackheath Halls Opera); her debut with Capella Cracoviensis as Aldimira Sigismondo; her house and role debut as Clara Porgy and Bess at Grange Park Opera; her debut with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (Serena Porgy and Bess).

On the concert platform, she has recently sung Berg’s Seven Early Songs with the Sinfonia of London and John Wilson at the BBC Proms, Mozart’s Requiem with Crouch End Festival Chorus, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the BBC Philharmonic and with the Royal Northern Sinfonia at the Sage Gateshead; Handel’s Messiah with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall; Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music at the Last Night of the Proms.

Chiejina has participated in masterclasses with Martin Katz, Kamal Khan, Gianna Rolandi, Joyce DiDonato, Brigitte Fassbänder, Edith Wiens and Felicity Lott. Competition successes include reaching the finals of the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup in 2018, the semi-finals in the National Mozart Competition and winning the GSMD English Song Prize, the GSMD Aria Prize, as well as second prize in the Classical Singer Competition. She was also a finalist in the 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Awards.

Chiejina studied at the University of Michigan with Martha Sheil and James Paterson, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Sue McCulloch.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Jonathan Dove's 'Odyssey' World Premiere

Bristol Beacon, January 2024

Francesca Chiejina was not in need of any additional power and impressed inasmuch as the smaller role of The Mother permitted (she bookends the piece, fearing for the welfare of Him and his siblings, whom she has exiled for their safety).

David Karlin, Bachtrack


Rebecca Franks, The Times

'Our Indifferent Century'

Delphian Records, October 2023

Francesca Chiejina has the full measure of the work. She is equally at home in the coloratura of the first verse of ‘Let the florid music praise!’ [On this Island] as she is in the reflective, cantabile second verse. She finds the right tone of irony, and the cheeky, relaxed cabaret/jazzy drawl necessary for the final ‘As it is, plenty’. 

William Hedley, MusicWeb International

Chiejina's and Burch's compelling performance is richly mature and painstakingly coloured . . . [her] luxuriant voice always holds our attention.

Natasha Loges, BBC Music Magazine

'Transfigured' album with Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

Chandos Records, September 2023

Francesco Chiejina’s lustrous soprano brings serious class to Zemlinsky’s Dehmel setting, and also to Alma Mahler’s songs

Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine

Semele (Title Role)

Blackheath Halls, September 2023

Francesca Chiejina has a richer voice than we usually hear in the title role, but nimble enough for the coloratura trials of Act 3, and her peachy, self-adoring and sensuous Semele was a treat.

Hugh Canning, Opera Magazine

Brimming with dramatic power, Francesca Chiejina’s luscious voice is definitely heading for darker roles. But she can also float top notes with delicious purity, and has the agility to pull off the marathon Myself I Shall Adore.

David Benedict, The Stage

Francesca Chiejina is vivacious as spirited Semele

Claudia Pritchard, Culture Whisper

A complete musical delight

Robert Thicknesse, Opera Now

Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem / Still Wailing Woman

Alexandra Palace Theatre / July 2023

'[Wailing Woman] gave us our first hearing of Francesca Chiejina, the evening’s exceptional soprano, perfectly summoning up a distillation of sadness and anger.'

'And Ye Now Have no Sorrow was superb: singing from memory, Francesca’s performance was rounded and eloquent: her voice never stressed but passionately expressive.'

David Winskill, HamHigh

Il trittico

Scottish Opera, March 2023

“The only principal to sing in all three operas was Francesca Chiejina, her Young Lover (Tabarro) and her Sister Genovieffa (Angelica) constituting a delicious hors d’oeuvre for a beautifully composed and characterized Lauretta (Schicchi): this soprano has stage presence and a voice of great promise.”

Andrew Clark, Opera

"splendidly characterised by Francesca Chiejina – draws our attention when she goes to the window wanting to see the sun shining on the garden below – and her beautifully sung aria marks her out as a star of the future."

"Amongst the characters, it is the show-stopping aria of Francesca Chiejina as Lauretta (‘O mio babbino caro’) which highlights the talent heard earlier in Suor Angelica."

Gregor Tassie, Seen and Heard International

"Francesca Chiejina was showstopping in Lauretta's “O mio babbino caro”.

David Smythe, bachtrack

"Francesca Chiejina (Lauretta) eschews milking ‘O mio babbino caro’, the best-known song in the evening, and sings with a forthright winsomeness"

Catriona Graham, The Opera Critic

"Il Trittico sports a truly impressive lineup of Scottish Opera debuts, including additional standouts Francesca Chiejina"

Rho Chung, The Skinny

"Francesca Chiejina sings a gorgeously creamy Lauretta."

Simon Thompson, The Times

"a heart-winning Francesca Chiejina, as both sweet ingenue Sister Genovieffa, and Schicchi’s daughter Lauretta complete with a delightful rendition of “O mio babbino caro”

W J Quinn, The Quinntessential Review

Crystal Pite's Light of Passage (Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs)

Royal Opera House, October 2022

With soprano Francesca Chiejina's celestial voice suspended above the orchestra’s shimmering, mournful music, you might feel as if you’re transcending

Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian ★★★★

McNally, clutching a bundled coat in place of a lost child, enacts a heart-rending solo to the Virgin’s lament for her son powerfully sung (from the pit) by American soprano Francesca Chiejina.

Louise Levene, The Financial Times ★★★★

Pite’s choreography is here at its most graceful and gorgeous; Gorecki’s third movement (Francesca Chiejina, the solo soprano) is lamenting but consoling.

Debra Craine, The Times ★★★★★

In 2017, the Canadian created Flight Pattern for the Royal Ballet to the first movement of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs; now she has returned to add Covenant and Passage to the last two movements, responding perfectly to the music (conducted by Zoi Tsokanou and sung, beautifully, by Francesca Chiejina). The three sections are separate but linked by the idea of passage.

Sarah Crompton, The Guardian ★★★★★

Aida (High Priestess)

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, September 2022

Special praise too for the sumptuously sung High Priestess of Francesca Chiejina, a recognisably five-star voice, even if only heard from offstage.

Clive Paget Limelight Magazine

And three cheers for soprano Francesca Chiejina, never visible but singing off-stage with clarity and mystery as the High Priestess. Hear her again when the Royal Ballet dances the new Crystal Pite full-length work in October and November, to Gorecki’s Symphony No 3.

Claudia Pritchard, Culture Whisper

In Sung Sim made his mark as the King, whilst Francesca Chiejina intoned the offstage Priestess’ part to perfection – her silvery voice carrying well into the house.

Keith McDonnell, Music OMH

La bohème (Mimì)

Nevill Holt Opera, June 2022

With her striking vocal quality and personality, Francesca Chiejina’s Mimi was thus placed at the centre of the action. She opened the show, remaining alone on stage for some moments before the action began, clearly ill with the mortal disease that takes her life at the end of the opera’s inescapable emotional trajectory.

George Hall, Opera Now Magazine

Nigerian-American soprano Francesca Chiejina’s is a superior Mimi, soaring above the score.

Lorien Haynes, The Telegraph

Francesca Chiejina has great presence as Mimì with her soprano possessing a very full and rounded tone.

Sam Smith, Music OMH ****

Chiejina is an apt performer to assume this intensifying of the traditional, more passive conception of the character; throughout the performance she fulfils all dramatic and vocal requirements.

George Hall, The Stage ****

La bohème (Mimì)

English Touring Opera, February - June 2022

...audiences who catch Francesca Chiejina on the company’s 14-venue tour of England this spring will hear a Mimi as beguiling as any I’ve encountered in recent years. The Nigerian-American phrased exquisitely and used her silvery soprano to explore the character’s vulnerability with an ideal blend of sweetness and melancholy. For a role debut it was enchanting.

Mark Valencia, Opera Magazine

There’s one standout voice, and that is Francesca Chiejina as Mimì. She has a warm, sumptuous tone and plenty of power up top…

Richard Morrison, The Times

Though boasting a sumptuous voice […] Francesca Chiejina is not the sort of soprano who craves being the centre of attention, making her Mimi ideally empathetic. One of the best recent alumnae of Covent Garden’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, she has the power to ride the orchestra where needed.

John Allison, The Telegraph ****

Vocally, Francesca Chiejina outshines all. Her Mìmì has a calm core that is heightened by the boisterous bantering and an inner radiance that can’t be dimmed by sickness or sadness. Sì, mi chiamano Mimì brings a lovely softness into the artists’ attic, and Chiejina and Botelho sing O soave fanciulla with persuasive feeling.

Claire Seymour, The Stage ****

Francesca Chiejina stood out as Mimì in a performance that displayed control over an ample instrument; we were treated to some fine pianissimi as Chiejina filed down her voice to the most delicate of threads and there was plenty of tonal variety to lend real character to her role.

Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack ****

…Chiejina’s voice soars gorgeously; her pathos when disease takes hold is properly heart-rending.

Michael Church, The i *****

As Mimì, Francesca Chiejina displays her wide range: there is light and shade, power and subtlety and a strong sense of acting through the voice.

Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard

The soprano Francesca Chiejina, who plays Mimi, is amazing. Her voice entrances the audience, conveying so clearly the tumultuous emotions of Mimi.

Alanah Hammond, Muse

Francesca Chiejina, making her role debut as Mimi, combined a lovely warm, creamy vocal tone with a sense of reticence but also self-possession. In Act One, she allowed Luciano Botelho's Rodolfo to make the running, but it was a deliberate decision. Their concluding sequence in that act (his aria, her aria, the duet) was beautifully sung, yet also felt quite naturally believable, heightened conversation as it should be.

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill ****1/2

Mimi, whose tiny hand is certainly frozen in the bleak setting of the first act, is movingly sung by Francesca Chiejina, who gradually builds the role until by the end she has totally succeeded in making us feel involved with her fate and that of Rodolpho.

John Groves, London Theatre One *****

Francesca Chiejina’s Mimì was the vocal highlight of the evening and a superlative performance in its own right. She was unerringly precise in intonation and showcased a remarkable range of colors across the voice – not least lower down, with some especially honeyed moments. Soft moments were especially impressive – there is little more exciting than really quiet singing – and could be both glassy and crystalline or tender and silken, depending on the moment. Her very final scene demonstrated an extraordinary level of sustained dynamic control, the volume ebbing and melting away ever so gradually over her final passages. She will surely go from strength-to-strength in this role.

Benjamin Poore, Opera Wire

Francesca Chiejina's Concert Repertoire




Knoxville: Summer of 1915


Seven Early Songs


The Kingdom


Symphony no. 3









Strauss, Richard

Four Last Songs

Vaughan Williams

Serenade to Music



Francesca Chiejina's Opera Repertoire


Miss Jessel, The Turn of the Screw

Brook adapted from Bizet

Micaela, La tragédie de Carmen


Clara, Porgy and Bess 

Serena, Porgy and Bess


Title Role, Semele

Title Role, Alcina

Melissa, Amadigi

Ifigenia, Orestes


Melantho / Love, The Return of Ulysses


Arbate, Mitridate, re di Ponto


Antonia, Les contes d'Hoffmann


MimìLa bohème

Lauretta, Gianni Schicchi


Aldimira, Sigismondo


Ann Trulove, The Rake's Progress


High Priestess, Aida

Countess Ceprano, Rigoletto 

Lady-In-Waiting, Macbeth

Voice from Heaven, Don Carlo

Ines, Il Trovatore


Freia, Das Rheingold

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