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Ashley Dixon

Meet Ashley Dixon, Mezzo-Soprano

When I started my journey into opera, I couldn’t even give you the name of an aria. I knew I loved to sing and my high school choral director (who was also a voice teacher) noticed that as well. I began taking voice lessons and he opened my eyes to what a career in opera could be. From then on, I never looked back.

I continued my voice studies at LSU and University of Michigan. While at Michigan I met my husband Carlos Santelli, whom I have a feeling you are going to get to know very well. We haven’t gotten to share the stage much but one of the most incredible experiences of my life was standing next to him on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in the national council auditions. Aside from singing, we are the proud parents of a 20 pound Maine Coon (and we have the pictures to prove it!).

In my spare time I like to read, hike and cook. I think if I wasn’t a singer, I would be a chef. I love coming up with new recipes and forcing family and friends into being my guinea pigs. Along with food, I am really into coffee. My husband got me into being a coffee aficionado and whenever we are on singing gigs, we make it a point to visit every local coffee shop in the area.

Ashley Dixon, Opera San José Resident Artist



Mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon, a Grand Finals winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, is quickly establishing herself as one of the most exceptional artists of her generation. Possessing a “robust instrument full of beguiling vocal colors, as well as formidable technical command” (The San Francisco Chronicle), she is at home in a repertoire spanning three centuries. In spring of 2020, Ms. Dixon made her critically acclaimed debut with the Los Angeles Opera, stepping into a run of performances as Sara in Roberto Devereux alongside bel canto veterans Ramon Vargas and Angela Meade. Of these performances, she was praised as having “an exquisite gentleness… Dixon inhabits her persona, remains likable, inured to any judgment. With her melodious and precise voice, Dixon navigates her character’s dilemmas with sure-fire finesse (LA Excites).”

A 2019 alumna of San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship, Ashley Dixon made her SFO mainstage debut in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life as an Angel First Class. During her two-year tenure, she was heard as Mércèdes in Carmen, the Third Wood Sprite in Rusalka, the Italian Singer in Manon Lescaut, and the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel. In “The Future is Now,” the end-of-season concert featuring the Adler Fellows, she performed a duet from Massenet’s Cendrillon and Dopo notte, the glittering final aria from Handel’s Ariodante, which was hailed as a “phenomenal performance” by San Francisco Classical Voice.

Ms. Dixon’s future engagements include performances of Alma Mahler’s Sieben Lieder with the Spokane Symphony, Doris in Elizabeth Cree with West Edge Opera, a return to the Schwabacher recital series in San Francisco, and her debut with Hawaii Opera Theatre.

Ashley Dixon has cultivated a passion for French repertoire ranging from Baroque to Berlioz, with roles including Gluck’s Orphée, Cendrillon, Marguerite (La damnation de Faust) and Carmen. Additional roles in her formidable arsenal include the title roles of Ariodante, Giulio Cesare, and La cenerentola, as well as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Dido in Dido and Aeneas.

As a two-year participant in the Merola Opera Program, Ms. Dixon saw performances as La Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Mrs. Nolan in Menotti’s The Medium, Popova in William Walton’s The Bear, and ended her summer season on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House, singing an aria from Massenet’s Cendrillon as part of the Merola Grand Finale concert.

Additional recent engagements include her debut with Michigan Opera Theatre in Copland’s The Tender Land as Mrs. Splinters, Ravel’s Shéhérazade at the Ravinia Festival, Linda Larsen in the workshop for Laura Kaminsky’s Hometown to the World: Postville with San Francisco’s “Opera for all Voices.” At Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium, she has performed he title role in a concert performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, the mezzo-soprano solo in Mozart’s Requiem, and Schubert’s Ständchen with the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club. Ashley Dixon earned her Bachelor of Music at the Louisiana State University and holds a Master of Music from the University of Michigan, where she performed the title role of Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.