Elise LaBarge is a classically trained singing actress based in Chicago. She has appeared throughout the country in opera, operetta and musical theatre productions, and on the concert stage. As the middle voice of “The Irving Sisters,” she sings trio music from the 1940’s and ’50s, and has created several sold-out solo French and German cabaret shows. She performs in other ways as a teaching artist for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Old Town School of Folk Music and in her private voice studio.
Elise received a dual Honors BA in Music/French and International Studies from St. Louis University in 2002. In 2006, she completed her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Washington University. She learned spoken French over her year as a Rotary International Exchange Student in Liège, Belgium, and later developed her German skills in Bamberg, Germany at the Treffpunkt Language Institute. Elise taught applied voice at St. Louis University for three semesters before moving to Chicago.
Opera & Musical Theatre
Recent credits include Ms. Andrews in Mary Poppins, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Jane in Babes in Toyland, and the Witch in a student version of Hansel and Gretel. She has appeared in Union Avenue Opera’s summer, concert and fundraising productions since 2001, including Acis and Galatea (Damen/ensemble), Lakmé (Rose), L’elisir d’amore (Giannetta), The Pirates of Penzance (Edith), and Le Nozze di Figaro (Barbarina). Engagements with Muddy River Opera in Quincy, IL include The Marriage of Figaro (Cherubino), The Merry Widow (Valencienne), the world premiere of the musical Abe (Ann Rutledge), L’elisir d’amore (Giannetta) and The Mikado (Peep-Bo). She was First Lady in the St. Louis Symphony’s family version of The Magic Flute, Amaranthe in Chicago Folks Operetta’s English language premiere of Lehar’s Mitislav the Modern, and Adele as a guest artist in Washington University Opera’s production of Die Fledermaus.
In 2010, Elise was a finalist in the International Lotte Lenya Competition in Rochester, New York.
Elise created and performed “1940s Paris: Cabaret Songs from the City of Lights and her Allies” for St. Louis University’s alumni weekend in 2013, and afterwards remounted the solo show for a full audience at Davenport’s in Chicago. After presenting her Kurt Weill cabaret to sold-out houses at the Kranzberg Arts Center, she performed it again at the St. Louis Art Museum as part of it’s “Art After 5″ series. She has presented other solo sets at First Night St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Union Avenue Opera, New Jewish Theatre, Dramatic License Productions, and Casual Cabaret.
Elise additionally works in the early music genre, and studied for 2 weeks at Vancouver Early Music’s Baroque Vocal Programme with Ellen Hargis. She has performed as a soloist with The Kingsbury Ensemble in St. Louis, as well as with the Missouri Women’s Chorus, the St. Louis Women’s Chorale and Union Avenue Christian Church’s Chancel Choir.
She was the Wicked Witch in Variety Children’s Theatre’s production of The Wizard of Oz, Laura in the Glass Menagerie at the Missouri History Museum, and the Prosecuting Attorney in the new musical Unbeatable! Elise joined McLeod Summer Playhouse in its production of Almost, Maine and was the cat in the St. Louis Symphony’s Peter and the Wolf.
Working and Playing in Chicago
She currently teaches private voice lessons in her Logan Square home studio, is a teaching artist for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Old Town School of Folk Music, provides music for wedding ceremonies, parties and church services, sings French and German cabaret music, dances Argentine Tango, entertains children in opera productions, and performs with The Irving Sisters where “everything’s better in threes.”