Coloratura hits new high in Ades opera


Yes, that re­ally is a strato­spheric A above high C that Au­drey Luna sings the first time we hear her in “The Ex­ter­mi­nat­ing An­gel.’’

The Amer­i­can coloratura so­prano, one of many stars in the cast of Thomas Ades’ new opera, re­called her re­ac­tion when the com­poser first broke the news of her daunt­ing as­sign­ment.

“He shows me the score, and I say, ‘Does it re­ally have to be the very first thing I sing?’’’ Luna said. “And he goes, ‘Oh, it’s just a laugh, you can do it!’’’

Do it she does, along with many other notes nearly as dizzy­ingly high. (For com­par­i­son’s sake, the high­est note for the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “Magic Flute’’ is an F, two tones be­low A).

Luna’s per­for­mance can be seen and heard when the Metropoli­tan Opera’s pro­duc­tion is broad­cast live in HD to movie the­atres world­wide on Satur­day.

Luna is mak­ing a tiny bit of his­tory with her A. Ac­cord­ing to The New York Times, it’s the first time in the Met’s 134 years that any­one has sung a note that high.

Her char­ac­ter in the opera, adapted from Luis Bunuel’s sur­re­al­is­tic 1962 film of the same name, is opera singer Leti­cia, a guest at a din­ner party given by a wealthy cou­ple who in­vites her back after a per­for­mance. Ades wrote the role with Luna in mind after hear­ing her per­form the role of Ariel in his adap­ta­tion of Shake­speare’s “The Tem­pest’’ at the Met in 2012.

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