VERDI REQUIEM – Heidi Melton Replaces Patricia Racette, Tonight At SF Opera

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Due to illness, soprano Patricia Racette has been forced to withdraw from San Francisco Opera’s Verdi Requiem concert conducted by Music Director Donald Runnicles on Friday, May 29, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the War Memorial Opera House. Soprano Heidi Melton will replace Ms. Racette in this special one-night only concert celebrating the illustrious 17-year tenure of Music Director and Principal Conductor Donald Runnicles.

PATRICIA RACETTE, Soprano

PATRICIA RACETTE, Soprano

Soprano Heidi Melton, a third-year Adler Fellow, was born and raised in Spokane, Washington and was a 2006 participant in the Merola Opera Program. She made her San Francisco Opera debut in 2007 as Marianne in Der Rosenkavalier, sang Diana in Iphigénie en Tauride, and created the role of Mary Todd Lincoln in the world premiere of Philip Glass’s Appomattox. In 2008, Melton made her debut at the Opera National de Bordeaux in the role of Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera.

HEIDI MELTON as Mary Todd Lincoln

HEIDI MELTON as Mary Todd Lincoln

Melton’s 2009 engagements include Elisabeth in Tannhäuser with Opera National de Bordeaux and Chrysothemis in Elektra with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She is also scheduled to perform the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos and Ada in Wagner’s rarely heard Die Feen with Frankfurt Opera, both in 2011. Other operatic roles include the title role of Alcina, Lady Billows (Albert Herring) and Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), all with Curtis Opera Theater. Her oratorio credits include Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater and Schubert’s Mass in A with the Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Melton graduated from Curtis Institute of Music, where she completed her master’s degree, and she holds a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. In 2006, she was a national semi-finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, as well as the winner of the Mario Lanza Competition. In 2007 Melton made her debut with Opera Company of Philadelphia as Gertrude in Hänsel und Gretel. Most recently, she took third place at the prestigious Belvedere International Vocal Competition in Vienna.

GIUSEPPI VERDI & HEIDI MELTON

GIUSEPPI VERDI & HEIDI MELTON

As Maestro Donald Runnicles concludes his remarkable tenure as San Francisco Opera’s music director and principal conductor at the close of the 2008-09 Season, he leads a special concert of Verdi’s Requiem. The roster of soloists includes soprano Heidi Melton, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Stefano Secco, and bass Andrea Silvestrelli. This salute to Donald Runnicles marks a rare occasion when the San Francisco Opera Chorus and Orchestra will be showcased on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House under the baton of their renowned maestro. In a special presentation on stage after the performance, San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley, Chairman of the Board of Directors John Gunn, and President of the San Francisco Opera Association George Hume will present Maestro Runnicles with the San Francisco Opera Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Company to an artistic professional.

DONALD RUNNICLES. Photo, Ken Friedman

DONALD RUNNICLES. Photo, Ken Friedman

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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