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Melton Wins George London Award

I am thrilled to report some very high profile recognition just bestowed upon soprano Heidi Melton, whom I’ve touted here before.

She is one of six winners being awarded the prestigious George London Award (that’s a $10,000.00 prize each!). Specifically, she won the Kirsten Flagstad Memorial Award, “for a singer with Wagnerian potential”. And, that she has in spades. By my count, there are at least six former and current San Francisco Opera Merolinis/Adlers on the list.

Photo by Shawn Ehlers (Heidi is fourth from the left.)

Photo by Shawn Ehlers (Heidi is fourth from the left.)

The details are featured in this NY Times article. I was amused by this excerpt from it, and imagine Heidi may have had something to do with it.:
Gilder Lehrman Hall is a beautifully designed and acoustically warm space but a dangerous place for singers with something to prove. Despite its intimate size, some of the women, evidently determined to show that their voices could potentially fill the Metropolitan Opera House, inflicted eardrum-shattering moments on listeners.”

As if this is something to complain about?! This is the kind of voice that the opera world desperately needs now. This sort of sonic thrill is what Dame Jones, Eva Marton and Birgit Nilsson used to offer that we all crave. Yes, it’s important for a singer to be able to gauge the dynamics appropriate for a given venue, but a Wagnerian singer hardly need apologize, when in a competition with the namesake of a Wagnerian great. Opera critics and fans bemoan the lack of true dramatic sopranos on the scene. They should celebrate the assets of those when they do come along. Thankfully, the judges did!

Here are further excerpts:
“Highlights of the afternoon included an expressive rendition of “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka by Amanda Majeski, a soprano; a stellar performance of “Ah, la paterna mano” from Macbeth by Sean Panikkar, a tenor; and “Ritorna vincitor” from Aida sung with dramatic flair by Yannick-Muriel Noah, a soprano.

They were among the six winners of $10,000 George London Awards. The other three were Arthur Espiritu, a tenor; Marjorie Owens, a soprano; and Heidi Melton…

Eight singers were given George London Foundation Encouragement Awards of $1,000 each, including Jordan Bisch, a bass, for his characterful rendition of “La Calunnia” from The Barber of Seville; Layla Claire, a soprano, for a vibrant “Mi tradi” from Don Giovanni; and Michael Anthony McGee, a baritone, for an impassioned rendition of “Aleko’s Cavatina” from Aleko.

Also, Merola/Adler’s own Daveda Karenas (mezzo-soprano), was one of the recipients of the Encouragement Award.

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