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.