History repeating

Five years after Thomas Adès’ The Tempest made its debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, his latest opera The Exterminating Angel also made its US and Metropolitan Opera premiere. And once again, I covered the high (even higher!) soprano role. At least this time my character is definably female. And no flying.

(Definitely not a boy)

It has been really special to be back at the Met. In this business it’s nice to be asked back to a house for many reasons: professionally, it shows they liked your work the first time, (and looks good on the c.v.,) and personally, you are on familiar territory (you already know your way around the city and the theatre, and all the good/cheap places for lunch) and, even more importantly, you probably have made a few friends there and you get a chance to catch up with them.

All those factors were magnified in this situation: I lived in New York for a while shortly after finishing my Master’s degree, and my digs were exactly 1 block from my old apartment; I’m working on (yet another) contemporary opera, which is my favourite thing to do; and…it has a HUGE cast (21 principal roles) so that’s a LOT of new friends (and quite a few ‘old’ ones, too!)

I say ‘history repeating’ for other reasons, too: The Exterminating Angel is surreal, and involves guests at a dinner party becoming trapped in a room, with several ‘deja vu’ moments; and this really feels like history in the making, with a composer conducting his own work, in front of sold out crowds, to rave reviews, at an extremely prestigious opera house.

(Showing off)

The Exterminating Angel finished its run the the Met on Tuesday, and I am back home in time for Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for? Time spent catching up with friends, showing off my sons to my Met ‘family’ (and for both of them having the chance to see an opera at the Met,) and, most importantly, finally escaping from that mysterious room!


Oh, the Glamour!

Anyone labouring under the illusion that opera singers lead a glamorous life need to take a glance at my diary (pictured)…and this was for a pretty good gig, too. The ‘bus’ listed wasn’t for me, it was to remind me that I had enough time to take my (primary school age) son to the school bus stop before heading to Germany (via Taxi/Train/EasyJet/Coach) for a performance the following evening. A leisurely school run…followed by an 8-hour commute to work. 

I once witnessed Jessye Norman arriving at Heathrow with at least 6 porters following with trolley loads of her matching designer luggage. 

Perhaps our friends Renee and Placido have minions to carry their bags (and ferry their children to school) and private jets to convey them to their next engagement: I once witnessed Jessye Norman arriving at Heathrow with at least 6 porters following with trolley loads of her matching designer luggage. So, OK, some megastars have a very glam existence, but the rest of us are saving pennies by using public transport and discount airlines. (An opera singer made some headlines recently by wearing her concert gown on the flight so the airline wouldn’t charge her for excess baggage.) 
Most of us jobbing singers lead fairly ordinary lives, with brief interludes of exquisite abnormality when we get the chance. The glamour is not found in first class travel and designer handbags, but in the music itself, and sometimes, when we are very lucky, amidst beautiful workspaces and famous faces. After all the schlepping and budget airlines, it is pretty wonderful to look up and see this as your ‘office’:

Soprano Laure Meloy has presented ‘The Secret Life of a Diva: the glamorous (!) world of opera’ to community groups, clubs, and at business networking events. Bookings can be made through Femme Lunatique Productions.

It’s Wednesday so I must be in…

Yesterday I started rehearsals at Theater Freiburg for Zaïde/Adama, which opens in June. Beginning a new engagement requires many mental and psychological adjustments: meeting new colleagues, learning staging and choreography, testing your memory/level of preparation, getting lost (er, I mean, exercising one’s navigation skills) in the theatre, etc. 

When it’s also in an unfamiliar city, and in a country where you are not a native speaker of the language, well…

Let’s just say my brain is getting a workout.

And yet, there are compensations too: exploring a new environment, discovering playful public artwork…

…and, of course, the ever-present temptations of shopping…

Schön dich kennenzulernen, Freiburg!


Zaïde/Adama opens on 16 June and runs until 1 July


Backstage at the Royal Opera House, or: Never work with animals or children…

Thomas Adès’ new opera, The Exterminating Angel, has received its British premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to rave reviews. The production famously uses live sheep, a dancer in a bear costume, and a huge ensemble cast, including a role sung by a boy soprano.

I am in the (equally numerous) cover cast, and we have enjoyed watching the process of this complex and exciting piece coming together.

One highlight has been seeing the animals (real and impersonated) and children rehearsing their roles. The dancer playing the bear had to learn to move in a realistic, bear-like fashion (he does this extremely well), the sheep had to cope with an expanded percussion section playing full volume while a dozen very hungry-looking opera singers go in for the attack (not so successfully, they had to be cut from this scene due to health and safety concerns…sheep doo doo can be slippery), and one of the boy sopranos sang so sweetly, calling for his mother, that I started to feel broody…

The Exterminating Angel is in performance at the Royal Opera House until 8 May 2017.


Happy Holidays 2016

2016: highlights of the year from Femme Lunatique Productions and soprano Laure Meloy
Greetings of the season! All good wishes to you and yours. Thank you for your continued support. Here are a few highlights from 2016:

Kent Women in Business Awards

Femme Lunatique Productions was honoured in the annual Kent Women in Business Awards in March, named as runner-up in the Women in the Arts category.

Carmina Burana, Rochester Cathedral in March and Sussex Chorus in November: 
‘Laure Meloy (soprano), John Pierce (tenor) and Simon Thorpe (bass), raised the roof in a spectacular performance.’

‘Laure Meloy[s]…more ethereal but very taxing solos, particularly ‘Dulcissime’, were beautifully executed.’

The Tempest, Hungarian State Opera
Thomas Adès’ The Tempest made its Hungarian State Opera debut in May, with Laure in an acrobatic performance as Ariel, in an inventive production that was the jewel in the crown of the Shakespeare 400+ season:

‘Soprano Laure Meloy is astounding in her performance as Ariel, a role that’s a brilliant stroke from Adès’ pen…In this production, Ariel is an airborne theremin, a fireball of fioritura and a squeaky Scarbo flitting about on pulleys and wires. Needless to say, she’s a scene stealer.’ – Alexandra Ivanoff, backtrack.com
‘…ma i famosi versi di Ariel “those are pearls that were his eyes”, che nella voce cangiante, e brillante nonché calda, di Laure Meloy, affascinanoquanto la parte nella foresta delle illusioni’

(…in Ariel’s famous lines ‘those are pearls that were his eyes,’ which in the alternately brilliant and warm voice of Laure Meloy, fascinate like a glimpse into an enchanted forest) – Livia Bidoldi, gothicnetwork.org

One Art Premiere and Launch

Elizabeth Bishop’s poem One Art is a tribute to the inevitability of loss. Her poetry is transformed by opera composer Paula Kimper into art songs which, interwoven with Bishop’s letters and life story, create the framework for an opera/cabaret. The songs and their companion CD, which includes art song by Strauss, Debussy and Aubert as well as Kimper’s settings, was launched and the songs made their debut in a performance of the opera/cabaret at Conquest House in Canterbury during the Cantebury Festival in October:

‘The whole evening was wonderful…stunning a capella performance of One Art…The CD is amazing!’

‘A tremendously powerful depiction of a rich and sad life which was beautifully presented.’

‘Spellbinding solo performance by Laure Meloy tonight in Canterbury – songs, poems and letters by Elizabeth Bishop set by Paula M Kimper. It was a privilege to be there.’

CDs and other merchandise can be ordered here: http://www.lauremeloy.co.uk/

 And downloads from: https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lauremeloy3

2017 preview: Pleased to announce that Laure will be making her role and house debut in Zaide/Adama (Mozart with new music by Chaya Czernowin) with Theatre Freiburg in June, as well as tackling the stratospheric role of Letizia in Thomas Adès’ new opera The Exterminating Angel (cover for Royal Opera House Covent Garden in April.)


One Art Launch & Premiere


One Art is ready to Launch!

Life affirming poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, set to music by Paula Kimper, performed by soprano Laure Meloy.

The launch of an art song recording, and the World Premiere of the song set One Art, is presented in a unique opera/cabaret performance illustrating the life and loves of poet Elizabeth Bishop. Please join us for this one-of-a-kind event, and celebrate One Art!

Friday, 21 October 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Conquest House Gallery – Canterbury Festival Umbrella Programme
17 Palace Street, Canterbury CT1 2DZ
Box office: 01227 472953
£13 advance, £15 at the door

A co-production of Femme Lunatique Productions & The Mosaic Cat