About me

American Soprano, Kara Shay Thomson has proven herself a versatile and essential artist on the operatic and concert stages.

From the first phrases sung by Kara Shay Thomson, a compelling American soprano with a plush, vibrant, powerful voice, you do not know whether to pity or fear her... Ms. Thomson was marvelous.
  - The New York Times

'Vissi d'arte' began as a plaintive, quiet act of desperation and grew to an ardent, fervent plea that was both luminous and luxurious in sound, while maintaining the nuanced vocalism of a true diva. In fact, there wasn't a moment in the evening when Thomson came even close to over-singing or pushing. Her enormous voice resonated throughout the house yet she never abused her abilities and, by passionate restraint, was able to build a character who was, in every sense, a Great Woman."
  - Longboat Observer

Dramatic soprano Kara Shay Thomson has built her career creating characters that push the limits both musically and dramatically. Ms. Thomson’s Virginia Opera debut as Agathe continues her desire to tackle challenging repertoire while creating characters of great depth which have become the hallmarks of her career.

Ms. Thomson’s 2016-17 engagements include joining Lyric Opera of Chicago for its production of Berlioz’ Les Troyens, the New Year’s Gala with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Tosca with Intermountain Opera. In the 2015-16 season she made her Utah Opera debut as Tosca, and returned to Sarasota Opera as Leonore in Fidelio.

Her recent engagements include Tosca with Sarasota Opera, Kentucky Opera, Dayton Opera, Atlanta Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Portland Opera, and Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle with New Millenium Orchestra of Chicago and Opera Omaha. Ms. Thomson also gained critical acclaim for her portrayal of Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul for Florida Grand Opera.

Other recent successes include performing The Woman in Schoenberg’s Erwartung with New York City Opera; Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana with Kentucky Opera, the title role in Barber’s Vanessa with Sarasota Opera; Lenore in Fidelio with Kentucky Opera and Sarasota Opera; Sieglinde in Act I of Die Walkure with Dayton Opera; Zemfira in Rachmaninoff’s Aleko with Cincinnati May Festival; The Marschallin in excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier with Quad City Symphony; and Marietta in Die tote Stadt with Washington, DC’s Summer Opera Theatre Company.

Concert highlights include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with National Chorale at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall; soloist in Dvořák’s Te Deum and a recital with Cincinnati May Festival; Rachmaninoff’s The Bells at Ravinia Festival under James Conlon; Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with Amherst Symphony; and a concert engagements with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati and Washington, DC.

Kara Shay Thomson's engagements in the 2017-18 season include her return to Dayton Opera as Magda Sorel, and as Turandot in her first performance of the role; Tosca with Arizona Opera; and her return to Sarasota Opera as Marta in Eugen d'Albert's Tiefland.


Lyric Opera of Chicago
Les Troyens / Cassandre (c)

November 13m, 17m, 21, 26, 2016

December 3, 2016

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
New Year's Eve: American Vistas / Soloist

December 31, 2016

Virginia Opera
Der Freischütz / Agathe

January 27, 29, 31, 2017

February 4, 5, 17, 19 2017

Intermountain Opera
Tosca / Floria Tosca

May 12, 14m 2017

Dayton Opera
The Consul / Magda Sorel

October 20, 22m 2017

Dayton Opera
Turandot / Princess Turandot

May 18, 20m 2018