James Gill Photography  Scott Piper and Melody MooreMadison 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.

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“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

“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