About Nicole

Nicole Heinen HeadshotSelect credits: L’incoronazione di Poppea (Valletto/Fortuna, Poppea cover) and Prince of Players (Miss Frayne, Margaret Hughes cover) with Florentine Opera; Elixir of Love (Adina) with Opera for the Young; Transformations (#1), Der Schauspieldirektor (Mademoiselle Silberklang), Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), and Albert Herring (Miss Wordsworth) with University of Wisconsin-Madison; Cendrillon (La Fée) with Halifax Summer Opera Festival.
Awards: IAET Joseph P. Glimco Competition (2019)—Third Place, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2018)—Regional Finalist, Casa Italia Competition (2018)—IAET Award winner.
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison (Master of Music, 2016), Eastman School of Music (Bachelor of Arts, 2014).

Visit Nicole's Website


To Watch

Virtual Sing-In, Part 1

Cocktails, Concerts, and Conversations, Week 2

"Glass Half Empty. Glass Half Full."(Chautauqua Opera Song Cycle)

Week Two Master Class

Opera Invasion 1: Ballads on Balconies, Tour D

Opera Invasion 2: Opera Open Book

Week Six Master Class

Opera Invasion 3: Miller Bell Tower Sing-a-long

Opera Invasion 4: Grand Finale - A Musical Tour of the Institution Grounds

Young Artist Interview

Nicole HeinenQ: What is your hometown?
A: I'm from Monroe, Wisconsin (America's Dairyland) where we celebrate Cheese Days Festival every other year! It's a big deal!

Q: What was the first opera you saw and how old were you?
A: The first opera that I ever saw was a double bill of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and John Blow's Venus and Adonis at Florentine Opera (Milwaukee, WI). I was a senior in high school I believe!

Q: What was the first opera in which you performed?
A: My first opera was Puccini's Turandot as part of the children chorus. My first opera role ever performed was as Hansel in Hansel und Gretel by Humperdinck. 

Q: Opera features some pretty iconic characters. Who is your favorite operatic character and why?
A: I think my favorite character may have to be Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare. I love this character because she goes through the ultimate character journey. She is first presented to us as just a princess but throughout the opera we see her ambitions, taste for justice and how far she is willing to go to get what she wants. I love her because of how strong yet broken she is as a character. It reminds me of myself. 

Q: Who are your opera singing idols?
A: Renata Tebaldi, Diana Damrau, Erin Morley, Rosa Ponselle (her "Pace Pace Mio Dio" is amazing), Fritz Wunderlich, Jussi Björling. 

Q: What do you love most about opera?
A: I love that every time I do a role, aria, trio, it is different. It can be because of different colleagues, staging, personal vocal growth, etc. No matter the amount of times I have done the same production, it is always evolving. That is exciting to never truly know what is going to happen. To "go with the flow" and trust in the work you have done. 

Q: Chautauquans love their ice-cream! What is your favorite flavor?
A: Ice Cream is my favorite dessert of all time! My favorite flavors are coffee and chocolate chip cookie dough.

Photo caption: Nicole Heinen as the Atalanta in Handel's Serse.

Spotify Playlist

Each week, two of our Young Artists will draw inspiration from Chautauqua Institution’s weekly theme and weekly interfaith theme to curate Spotify playlists for your listening pleasure. We hope these playlists provide inspiration, joy, and a chance to engage with these themes in a different way.

For Week Six, Nicole drew inspiration from the theme Rebuilding Public Education

She says:

“There is no going forward without looking backwards. Cheers to the future of education and teaching the historical truth to the youth.”


For Week Four, Nicole drew inspiration from the theme Ethics in a Technologically Transforming World?

She says:

“These songs remind us of the good and the bad of technology and what it has done to the generations present and future. We have somehow managed to lose human connection with the more screen time we eat up. Yet, we have made beautiful and interesting music and life-saving technology. Technology has shown us the good, the bad and the ugly.“