top of page
meet Ariel
Ariel Downs


strikes the right balance of charm, boyishness, and ambiguously implied decadence, particularly in the “Malo” song and the spine-tingle conclusion of Act I.”


-A Fool in the Forest, January 2014

Praised for her “ravishing coloratura” and “vivid” singing, Italian-American soprano Ariel Downs captivates audiences with her adventurous repertoire and magnetic stage presence. As a strong believer in opera as a team sport, she brings her generosity of spirit and playful exploration to every role she sings.


The 2023/24 season brings her house debut with Opera Modesto creating the role of Zamira in the world premiere of Evan Meier's Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant. Later in the season, Ariel returns to Thompson Street Opera to sing Voce 1 in the US premiere of Il nostro posto nel mondo. Recently, she made her Carnegie Hall debut singing selections from Lakmé and Der Rosenkavalier, as well as her role and house debut as Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance) with Heartland Opera Theatre.  


With her strong musicianship and a “mind like a steel trap,” Ariel has become a highly sought-after interpreter of new works. Early in her career, she performed with several companies in Los Angeles such as The Industry and wildUp, with whom she made her LA Phil Green Umbrella concert debut.  She has workshopped and originated several roles including Queen Amarosa (The Bucket), Chrissy (percs.), and Gale (The Nightingale and the Rose). Ariel has sung several productions with Thompson Street Opera, a company focused on programming living composers, including as Calco in The Boy Who Wanted to be a Robot, and as the cover for She in the American premiere of The Kamikaze Mind and Recipe in the stage premiere of Would You Eat Me? Ariel has been an artist fellow with the Cortona Sessions for New Music and New Music on the Point where she premiered numerous art songs and chamber music.  


Within the standard repertoire, her roles include Despina (Cosi fan tutte) and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) with Mid-Ohio Civic Opera, Nannetta (Falstaff) and Annina (La traviata)with Lawrence Opera Theatre, Miss Silverpeal (The Impresario) and Musetta (La bohème) with Midwest Opera Theater, Taumännchen/Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) with the Bar Harbor Music Festival, and Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Serpetta (La finta giardiniera), and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas) with the University of Missouri Kansas City. She has also performed excerpts of Gilda (Rigoletto), Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Blondchen (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), and Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte). 


As a multi-hyphenate artist, Ariel delights in the opportunity to exercise all aspects of her creativity in her work. Aside from her work as an opera singer, Ariel has extensive training in Meisner Acting Technique and Latin Ballroom Dance. She has also worked as a director, assistant director, and producer, most recently as the Producer/Director of a film version of Claude Debussy’s La damoiselle élue. 

Ariel is a recipient of the Koch Cultural Trust Artist Grant, the Sigma Alpha Iota Professional Development Grant, and a two-time recipient of the UMKC Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund. She was a finalist in the 2021 Artist Presentation Society Competition, the 2019 Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and the 2019 University of Missouri Kansas City Concerto Aria Competition.  In 2023, she was named both the Winner and Audience Favorite prizes from the Sinfonietta Bel Canto Competition. 


Ariel received graduate degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Missouri Kansas City under the tutelage of Maria Kanyova. In her spare time, she loves cooking, board games, gardening, and coffee dates with friends.  She resides in Chicago with her partner and her tabby cat Snicklefritz (the real star of the show).

bottom of page