Isolde and Sieglinde in Wagnerian Excerpts
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
"But the reason we go to concerts is for the moments when they break through the routine and yield something magical and memorable. And that’s what happened when, after the orchestra had played the “Tristan” prelude, the soprano Heidi Melton got up and began singing the final and most famous aria of a role known as one of the most difficult in the repertoire.
Isolde is hard because you have to make yourself heard over the full orchestra, and lots of singers approach it by simply pumping out sound. Melton, instead, treated it simply like beautiful music, and made the aria work with her voice rather than shoehorning her voice into a conception of what the aria requires. What made her singing wonderful was not volume — though her voice is by no means small — but freshness and feeling. From the moment she opened her mouth, she was artlessly moving, actually communicating what the words meant, so that all of the encrusted expectations around the role fell away to remind you that this scene depicts not a Pinnacle of the Repertory but a woman who is finally reunited with her true love, only to see him dead.
Isolde is probably a stretch for Melton, but Sieglinde in “Die Walkure” is something she’s done often, and in the complete first act of the opera, which formed the second half of the concert, she was vocally and dramatically even more in command.”
-Anne Midgette, Washington Post
“The first impression of Heidi Melton given in the Liebestod was one of a youthful, warm, and focused dramatic soprano…for the role of Sieglinde, Melton exhibited a beautiful richness of tone, well-focused and dramatically apt singing, and a touching vulnerability.”
-Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun