Soprano relishes her role at Madison Opera

Opera music

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Lyric Soprano Amanda Majeski interprets the title role of Salomé with the madison opera house this weekend at Overture Hall. Majeski has performed internationally, including at the Met in New York, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, Rome, Madrid, Hong Kong and Paris. Opera News says Majeski has “established herself as an artist of singular finesse and aristocratic energy”.

John Stofflet spoke with Amanda Majeski about the production of Salome, her career and why she chose to make Wisconsin her home.

John Stofflet: Amanda, nice to have you here! Madison Opera’s promotional leaflet on Salome says, “Religion and desire combine in this explosive musical drama featuring an outrageous dance and a shocking kiss.” There’s also a decapitation perfect for Halloween week. Tell us about Salomé by Richard Strauss and why is this production essential?

Amanda Majeski: Oh, the music. Let’s start there. It is some of the most fantastic and brilliant music ever written. I think it expresses the drama of this biblical story that most of us are familiar with. But the music takes it to the next level of drama. Strauss brings it out so brilliantly in his writing. Anyone, even if you’ve never been to an opera in your life, can be moved by this music. And then we have this amazing production that explores the nuances of this story of abuse of power by a young woman, who is trapped in her situation…and the devastating results of that abuse and what comes of it.

Soprano Amanda Majeski as Salome in the Madison <a class=Opera production.” height=”4016″ src=”https://gray-wmtv-prod.cdn.arcpublishing.com/resizer/n4UaGjY7ar8zhB5LEYqCjwBhtfI=/980×0/smart/filters:quality(85)/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/gray/IUPCYWEY6NCOZODFXFDFT4E4Y4.jpg” width=”980″/>
Soprano Amanda Majeski as Salome in the Madison Opera production.(Ross Zentner | Ross Zentner (Madison Opera))

Stofflet: What made a young Amanda say, “I want to be an opera singer?

Majeski: I fell into it, quite honestly. I danced a lot in high school and elementary school. When I auditioned for the musical, I didn’t get in. So I said to my mom, you know I’ve been studying dance for a while, so I think it might be time to take some singing lessons. I found this singing teacher and I had every intention of singing musical theater like Les Mis and Rent, and she released 24 Italian art songs and I thought, what is this? But the more I studied, the more I fell in love with it, the more I thought my voice might be suited for it. So that led me to go on to college and beyond, and the ball just kept rolling from there, and here I am.

Amanda Majeski as Salome(Ross Zentner | Ross Zentner)

Stofflet: Your husband is also an opera singer and has a role in Salomé. Despite the fact that you sing all over the world, you chose to live in Sheboygan. Why Sheboygan?

Majeski: Well, we have family in Sheboygan. I grew up in Gurnee, Illinois, which is not far from the Wisconsin border. So we moved because of family but we’re staying because we just had a great community of neighbors, friends and supporters. It’s just a really nice place to live…not to mention it’s right next to Lake Michigan, so we stay down there and take our dog for a bit of frequent walks.

Stofflet: Explain to those who may have never played in front of a live audience how you feel 5 minutes before the curtain goes up?

Majeski: (laughs, heartily)….Well, I could say that’s exhilarating, because it’s so true. It’s quite exhilarating. It’s also extremely terrifying because there is so much unknown, unexpected. You know, you prepare as much as you can, and you take the time to rehearse and you study and you put all of yourself, and all of your vulnerability into preparing for this performance. So there’s this expectation that you want it to be everything you hope for and that you move people with your performance. There’s this whole rush of anticipation that comes with it. So as long as you make peace with it, it’s fine, but it’s a process.

Amanda Majeski dances the role of Salome in the Madison Opera production of the same name.
Amanda Majeski dances the role of Salome in the Madison Opera production of the same name.(Ross Zentner (Madison Opera))

Stofflet: And you can use that energy in the performance?

Majeski: Absolutely, it goes right into the character.

Amanda Majeski plays the title role of Salome with Madison Opera Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Overture Hall. Click here for ticket information.

Scene from the Madison Opera production of Salome
Scene from the Madison Opera production of Salome(Ross Zentner | Ross Zentner (Madison Opera))

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