Rhiannon Giddens and Cheryse McLeod Lewis have been putting their own unique and elegant spin on the classical vocal duet since 2003. Their incomparable soprano and mezzo-soprano voices entwine to create a seamless and riveting expression of the music they sing. Diverse and eclectic in their duet repertoire, Ms. Giddens and Ms. Lewis enchant listeners with a variety of musical genres from opera, art song and spirituals to jazz, sacred song, and musical theatre. Recognized for their complementary vocal colors and electrifying stage presence, these artists consistently deliver performances that delight audiences of all ages.
RHIANNON GIDDENS is a native of Greensboro, NC and is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory. She has performed the lead role in a number of productions and is praised for her vocal colour and acting talents wherever she goes. "[T]he purity of Giddens' solo a cappella vocal on "Little Margaret" belongs to an era when music was not something to be sold but something from the soul," raved Jeff Tamarkin from the All Music Guide, and Donald Rosenberg from the Cleveland Plain Dealer had this to say: "[Giddens] was a Juliet of unerring musical and thespian gifts...This was a glowing performance." When not performing with Ms. Lewis, Ms. Giddens is a part of the rising string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, recently signed to Nonesuch Records.
CHERYSE MCLEOD LEWIS is an accomplished performer in recital, concert, and opera. Commended for her "stunning vocal power" (Asheville Citizen-Times) and "rich lyric mezzo sound" (Opera News Online), Ms. Lewis has performed principal roles with Asheville Lyric Opera, Connecticut Opera, Greensboro Opera, Houston Ebony Opera, Opera Carolina, The Opera Company of North Carolina, Piedmont Opera, Capitol Opera Raleigh, and Long Leaf Opera. Ms. Lewis is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (BFA in Voice), The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MM in Voice), and The AJ Fletcher Opera Institute of the North Carolina School of the Arts (Professional Artist Certificate). When Ms. Lewis is not singing, she is a private voice teacher, model, actor, and voiceover artist.
“Eleganza is a wonderful expression of beauty, talent, and purpose. Rhiannon and Cheryse deliver the pure essence of what their name stands for through song and leadership. Their presence was commanding, yet inviting. There was a special warmth and genuineness about their performance and presentation.” --William Trice, Instructor of Voice, NC A&T State University, Greensboro, NC
“Eleganza provides a wonderful opportunity to see two young artists at the peak of their craft. The concert provided an excellent combination of technique, musicality, and presence that is hard enough to find in one performer, let alone two. An enjoyable and moving evening of music will be experienced by all.” --Dr. Pete Zambito, Assistant Professor of Music, Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO
“Eleganza’s recital, workshop, and masterclass were a very helpful experience for me. I never thought I’d be able to learn so much in just three days. They were very inspiring and down-to-earth. I look forward to hearing them sing again in the near future!” --Vanessa Ferguson, Voice Performance Major, NC A&T State University, Greensboro, NC
“Our church is still talking about the Eleganza Concert! All who attended were overwhelmed with the musicality and elegance both of these girls possess! They demand the attention of the audience from the minute they walk on the stage and they have an amazing talent for interpretation and expression that is way above this generation!” --James Jones, Music Director, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Greensboro, NC