This Sunday, May 17th, the VOCE at Pace series will conclude for the 2014-15 season with soprano, Heidi Melton. Called, “the Wagnerian voice we’ve been waiting for since Flagstad and Nilsson,” the young, soprano will show off her incredible musical artistry with a solo recital on the Schimmel stage. I recently had the opportunity to discuss the upcoming recital with Melton herself.
MT: Can you describe your musical background growing up to me? How did this background lead you to your passion for classical music?
HM: I began studying piano at the age of four with my grandma, Frances. We spent every day together practicing and playing duets! I then got involved with children’s choirs and church choirs. When I was fourteen, I started taking private voice lessons with Melissa Percy Drumm. I knew the very first lesson that I wanted to sing for the rest of my life.
MT: The Voce at Pace series is exciting because it’s one of the rare opportunities for New York audiences to experience rising opera stars, such as yourself, in an intimate recital setting. Can you speak about the differences in performing a recital as opposed to playing a part in a fully produced opera?
HM: oh! It’s a completely different experience. In opera, you take on the personality of someone else. You learn to walk and move differently and you use vocal colors that are appropriate to the character. I find recital to be a very personal thing. You still assume different characters for some things, but most of the time you have to rely on your own experiences and feelings rather than a libretto that has been given to you. It is incredibly intimate and very naked but I love the chance to be so close to the audience. It is a very shared experience. With opera, you are part of a story being told, with recital, you and the audience are telling the story together. I absolutely love both and am a very lucky lady to be able to sing both opera and recital.
MT: How does the music in this recital program reflect on who you are as an artist right now?Do you have a favorite piece that you will be singing? Why is it your favorite?
HM: I always try to plan a recital that challenges me vocally and emotionally. This recital has so many amazing pieces and I couldn’t possibly choose a favorite. Each one is my favorite when I am singing it!! They’re all my favorite for different reasons.
MT: In your career so far, is there a favorite role that you have played? Why is that your favorite?
HM: I really can’t say that I have a favorite. I’ve found that each role has come to me exactly when I have needed it to and has taught me wonderful and invaluable things. I would say that I love being able to portray complex women…I don’t do the vanilla characters that well!
MT: During your career, you have performed on so many world renowned stages. Of those venues, do you have a favorite? Why?
HM: I don’t! I am really not good at naming favorites. I have had some very special performances in my career and I have been insanely lucky to be able to perform where I have. The venue definitely makes the evening special, but I have found it to be more of a complete experience. When the Maestro, orchestra, colleagues, venue and production are all special, then it makes for an incredibly special night.
MT: Where do you see yourself as an artist in the next ten years?
HM: I am hoping that in the next ten years, I continue to grow as a vocalist and an artist. I pray I can continue to make wonderful music with amazing colleagues at a high level. This is what I wish to see for myself.
VOCE at Pace: Heidi Melton; Sunday, May 17th at 3:00pm; all tickets $39; Schimmel Center at Pace University; 3 Spruce St, New York, NY, 10038; (212) 346-1715; https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/937433