Madison Opera Demonstrates Exactly What Great Opera Is All About
Madison Magazine | By Greg Hettmansberger
If you’ve never been sure that you really ever understood what opera is all about, all you need to do is get to the Overture Center Sunday afternoon and watch Madison Opera present Puccini’s Tosca, and at the final curtain you’ll know exactly what all the shouting is about. Chances are pretty good you’ll even let loose with a “bravo” or two, because nearly everyone involved in this riveting production deserves one. In fact, the only problem in writing this review is the risk of omitting a contribution worth singling out. Let’s start with the easy stuff: the gorgeous sets and costumes come courtesy of Seattle Opera, which means that Madison has a company healthy enough to invest in that kind of rental, and enjoys a space like Overture Hall in which to employ them. The heart of the matter though, is singing; if you don’t have persuasive voices, the prettiest stage and the greatest orchestra are crippled. No worries: Melody Moore in the title role delivers on all the hype that resulted when she stepped in as Tosca on opening night (beginning with Act 2 no less!) at the San Francisco Opera almost exactly one year ago. That central act contains the diva’s “big hit,” “Vissi d’arte,” and Moore reaped as prolonged an ovation Friday night as I’ve heard at Madison Opera. But better still was her ability to deliver two kinds of chemistry: the jealously unstable but passionate love for Cavaradossi, and the flip side, a skin-crawling revulsion for Scarpia, as dark a villain as inhabits the operatic hall of shame.
Melody Moore made her debut singing the title role in San Francisco Opera’s Tosca, replacing Angela Gheorghiu (who had fallen ill) after intermission. Ms. Moore left an incredible impression on audiences and critics alike:
“Moore embarked on every understudy’s dream, or nightmare, with ease and assurance. Her great aria, “Vissi d’arte” (I lived for art), came soon enough, and long, thunderous applause reflected appreciation and relief.”
Janos Gereben – San Francisco Examiner
“Moore’s “Vissi d’arte” . . . was as beautifully vocalized as it was touching
. . . it was greeted by a huge ovation of appreciation and support from music lovers who have come to love one of our many hometown Merola and Adler Fellows made good. Moore, whose performance as Susan Rescorla was the highlight of the SFO premiere of Heart of a Soldier, has always excelled in expressing hurt, tenderness, and vulnerability. Given the opportunity, as in her big aria and the passages that followed, she presented a side of Tosca too rarely seen.”
Jason Victor Serinus – San Francisco Classical Voice
“The title role, fittingly, is a tour de force, and it is impossible to imagine it better performed than it was by Melody Moore. Moore’s sound is dark and passionate . . . As an actress, Moore shifted seamlessly among the lonely, fragile woman, the public Régine (“in character” even as she is interviewed), and the diva ablaze with art’s sacred fire.”
Marion Lignana Rosenberg – The Classical Review
“As Mme. Saint Laurent, Melody Moore inhabited this character so well, her every thought was visible in her face and body. Her rich soprano became more and more beguiling as the opera progressed. When she made her final momentous decision, she was devastating.”
Joel Benjamin – TheaterScene.net
“ . . . Moore is a dynamic singer — delicate and powerful as needed.”
Joe Dziemianowicz – New York Daily News
“The role sits nicely in the lyrical middle of Melody Moore’s clear, penetrating voice.”
Zachary Woolfe – New York Times
Melody Moore will sing the role of Régine Saint Laurent in the U.S. premiere of Wainwright’s love letter to opera, Prima Donna, with New York City Opera. The cast features Kathryn Guthrie Demos as Marie, Randal Turner as Philippe, and Taylor Stayton as André Le Tourner, in a production directed by Tim Albery.
The Works & Process preview at the Guggenheim can be viewed here, and performances take place February 18-25 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Opens on February 18, 2012
“Perhaps the opera’s most touching episode is the love duet for Rescorla and Greer [with] (the gloriously alert and bright-toned soprano Melody Moore).”
Joshua Kosman – SFGate
“Melody Moore was an eager Susan.”
Heidi Waleson – Wall Street Journal
“Melody Moore was equally inspired as Susan Rescorla, making this middle-aged romance both touching charming, and almost unbearably poignant in light of the abrupt tragic end that we know is coming.”
Lawrence A. Johnson – The Classical Review
“Melody Moore deployed a lithe, silvery soprano as Susan.”
Georgia Rowe – OPERA NEWS
Ms. Moore will debut the role of Susan Rescorla in the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ opera Heart of a Soldier, commissioned by the San Francisco Opera. This new work is based on the novel of the same name by James B. Stewart, and tells the story of Rick Rescorla, a Vietnam veteran who died while leading the evacuation almost all of the Morgan Stanley employees when the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11.
Melody sings the role of Mr. Rescorla’s wife, and is joined by a world-class cast, including baritone Thomas Hampson as Rick, and tenor William Burden as Daniel J. Hill, Rick’s fellow soldier and best friend. Patrick Summers, San Francisco Opera’s Principal Guest Conductor and Music Director of the Houston Grand Opera, leads the San Francisco Opera in these performances, which are directed by Francesca Zambello.