Since her debut as Siegrune and Flosshilde in Seattle Opera’s acclaimed DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, Sarah Heltzel has coupled her “potent star performances” with a “rich, powerhouse voice" in roles from Verdi to Sondheim. Known as a versatile actress, Heltzel's compelling presence and true Zwischenfach voice have garnered critical acclaim for performances as Offred in THE HANDMAID'S TALE (Melbourne, Australia), Eboli in DON CARLO (Wichita Grand Opera), Santuzza in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA (String Orchestra of Brooklyn), Der Komponist in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS (Winter Opera St Louis), Musetta in LA BOHEME (Opera on the James), and CARMEN (Tacoma Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Pacific NW Opera, Newport Music Festival, Western Plains Opera).
"Heltzel sets the stage ablaze with her vocal and dramatic pyrotechnics" Houston Chronicle
Engagements in 2022 included Olga Finzi-Contini in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS with New York City Opera, Caroline Herschel in Zaid Jabri’s world premiere of SOUTHERN CROSSINGS with Barnard, Death in the east coast premiere of Tom Cipullo's THE PARTING with Chelsea Opera (Syracuse and NYC), and J.A.C. Redford’s cycle ORDINARY SAINTS with the Gordon College Symphony. Pre-pandemic, Heltzel made her Australian debut as Offred in THE HANDMAID’S TALE (Ruders) in Melbourne, sang CARMEN for Wichita Grand Opera, and Maddalena in RIGOLETTO at Simon Hammerstein’s notorious club The Box in NYC. In 2023 she has joined Beth Morrison Projects’ PROTOTYPE Festival for the world premiere of HERE LIES JOY (Roumain/Bamuthi Joseph), previewed Mark Adamo’s upcoming SARAH IN THE THEATRE with Odyssey Opera for Opera America’s New Works Forum and sung CARMEN with Western Plains Opera.
After her debut with Seattle Opera, Heltzel returned to the company as Flora in LA TRAVIATA, Siegrune in DIE WALKÜRE, and covered Paula in FLORENCIA EN EL AMAZONAS, Flosshilde in DAS RHEINGOLD and Waltraute, Flosshilde and 2nd Norn in GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG. A recipient of grants from The Wagner Society of New York, she has also sung Fricka in Minnesota Concert Opera’s MINI-RING with Seattle Ring artists Jay Hunter Morris, Richard Paul Fink and Lori Phillips.
Regional role highlights include Eboli in DON CARLO, CARMEN, Santuzza and Lola in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, Azucena in IL TROVATORE, Der Komponist and Dryade in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS; Suzuki in MADAMA BUTTERFLY and Maddalena in RIGOLETTO, Musetta in LA BOHÈME, Donna Elvira in DON GIOVANNI, amd Romeo in I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI, with houses including Indianpolis, Toledo, Tacoma, Syracuse, Amarillo, Wichita, Nevada, Phoenicia and Pacific Northwest.
Among the many 20th and 21st century English language roles Heltzel has performed are Saleswoman in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, Trio Alto in ANGELS IN AMERICA and the Ugly Duchess in ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Chin), all with New York City Opera; Jo in LITTLE WOMEN (Opera on the James), Mary in A DANGER TO US ALL: TYPHOID MARY (Kiesewalter/Ziff) at Joe's Pub/The Public Theater, Desirée and Charlotte in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Syracuse, Phoenicia) and multiple new roles for American Opera Projects, American Lyric Theater, Phoenicia Festival and theater company Compagnia de’ Colombari.
Select concert repertoire includes Verdi’s REQUIEM (Wichita Symphony, Symphony Syracuse, Back Bay Chorale, Carnegie Hall), Handel’s MESSIAH (Seattle Symphony, Norwalk Symphony), Janacek's GLAGOLITIC MASS (Seattle Symphony); Rossini’s STABAT MATER (Dartmouth College), Beethoven’s NINTH SYMPHONY (Boston Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Minot Symphony Orchestra), Wagner’s WESENDONCK LIEDER (Gordon College Symphony), Mahler's DAS LIED VON DER ERDE (Boston Chamber Music Society), and Respighi’s IL TRAMONTO (Red Rocks Music Festival, String Orchestra of Brooklyn).
After completing studies at the Manhattan School of Music, Heltzel joined the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program. She has been a grant recipient and prizewinner from The Wagner Society of New York, The Liederkranz Foundation, The Gerda Lissner Foundation, the Chautauqua Opera, the Career Bridges Competition, the Presser Foundation, and the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition.