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.

Michael Tippett's New Year (Jo Ann)

Birmingham Opera Company, July 2024

Francesca Chiejina is heartachingly good as Jo Ann, her radiant soprano strong and sumptuous.

Clive Paget, The Guardian

The Birmingham soloists did the composer proud. Francesca Chiejina had the perfect, soaring lyric soprano for Jo Ann

Hugh Canning's Operalogue

The heart of the show was Chiejina’s Jo Ann – a luminous, intensely touching performance – and her relationship with the time-traveller Pelegrin

Richard Bratby, The Spectator

The main roles are all superbly cast, with Francesca Chiejna outstanding musically and dramatically as Jo Ann

Clare Stevens, The Stage

The clotted text is given power by a strong cast — notably Francesca Chiejina’s Jo Ann

Neil Fisher, The Times

Outstandingly well sung

Nicholas Kenyon, The Telegraph

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 ****

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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