New CD from soprano
Ricky Ian Gordon
Blue Griffin label
MELANIE HELTON is associate professor of voice (soprano) and director of opera theatre at the Michigan State University College of Music. She has been hailed by The New York Times for her “dark soprano that warms the ear.” She made her international debut as Marietta/Marie in Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt at the Brisbane (Australia) Biennial. Her successes include Lucrezia Borgia at the Caramoor International Music Festival, Aida with Opera Carolina, as well as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Caramoor, Opera Carolina, and Lake George Opera Festival. Other engagements included appearing as Alice Ford in Falstaff with Sherrill Milnes at the New York City Opera, Maddalena in Andréa Chénier, Elsa in Lohengrin, Foreign Princess in Rusalka, and Leonora in Il Trovatore for S eattle Opera, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for New York City Opera, and the title role in Norma for Teatro de Colon, Bogotà. In addition, she has sung leading roles with the San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Washington Opera. A favorite of American composers, she originated roles in Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place and Hugo Weisgall’s The Gardens of Adonis. Helton appeared to rave reviews as the Fairy Godmother in Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon with Caramoor. An active concert soloist, in 2006-07 she was heard with the Lansing Symphony in excerpts from Idomeneo and Mozart’s C minor Mass and with the Ann Arbor Symphony in Verdi’s Requiem, returning in 2008 for excerpts from La Traviata. April 2007 was her first appearance in the title role of Turandot, sung in concert with the MSU Symphony Orchestra.As a stage director, Helton has helmed the American premiere of Francisco Conti’s Don Quixote in Sierra Morena, as well as the world premiere of Donizetti’s long-lost French opera, Elisabeth. Most recently, she directed the university premiere of Daniel Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas, with the composer in attendance for the performances.
Fall 2005 brought the world premiere of “and flowers pick themselves” (commissioned for her by the Michigan State University Sesquicentennial Foundation) with the MSU Symphony Orchestra. This recording (underwritten by a generous grant from Michigan State University) is the result of a 25-year friendship with Ricky Ian Gordon, and a collaboration that began in Ricky’s living room when they were both young “starving artists.”