May 10, 2021
Spotlight on Amanda Majeski
Amanda Majeski must surely be the only renowned opera singer whose ambition growing up was to be a tap dancer (she can still tap up a storm today). Once she found her true calling, she ascended to the top level with exhilarating rapidity and enviable confidence, becoming one of the most successful and sought-after lyric sopranos of her generation.
Lyric takes great pride in the success of this Illinois native. As a first-year member of the Ryan Opera Center, she was already showing her true potential: under circumstances that would have intimidated even the most experienced singers, she made her Lyric debut as a last-minute substitute singing a formidable role, Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. That triumphant portrayal was the first in a growing gallery of heroines Majeski has made her own on the Lyric stage and internationally. Always singing gloriously, she’s been a captivatingly youthful Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; an imperious Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito, easily commanding that character’s two-and-a-half octave range; a courageous, devastatingly moving Marta in The Passenger; an exquisitely elegant, ultra-feminine Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier; and most recently an intense, fiery Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni.
From the start, every step in Majeski’s preparation for an operatic career fell smoothly into place. She went from her hometown, Gurnee, to Northwestern University, then to Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, Ravinia’s Steans Institute, the young-artist program of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and finally the Ryan Opera Center. Those two seasons at Lyric had barely concluded when Europe beckoned, with a coveted contract for starring roles at Dresden’s venerable Semperoper. And what wonderful roles they were: the title role of Alcina (new production), Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito (new production), Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, and Countess Madeleine in Capriccio.
So many other major houses have been eager to showcase Majeski’s extraordinary vocal and dramatic gifts. She’s a star of the Metropolitan Opera, where she confirmed her stature as one of today’s premier Mozart interpreters in new productions of both The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte (starring as Così’s Fiordiligi, she showed awesome bravery by singing “Per pietà,” her technically and emotionally demanding Act Two aria, while soaring above the stage in a hot-air balloon). Majeski has also formed a particularly close relationship with Oper Frankfurt, which has given her welcome opportunities to prepare new roles, including the Marschallin, Rusalka, and two heroines from operas seldom performed today — the Goose Girl in Humperdinck’s Königskinder (released on CD) and Vreli in Delius’s A Village Romeo and Juliet.
Majeski’s scope as an artist is limitless. She’s excelled in seemingly every style, portraying every kind of character, from a worldly queen (Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, Buenos Aires) to an innocent young girl (Marguerite in Faust, Zürich). She’s enjoyed successes in roles as diverse as Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites (Pittsburgh), Gutrune in Götterdämmerung (Hong Kong Philharmonic, CD), and the title role of Iphigénie en Tauride (Stuttgart).
All of us at Lyric were thrilled to read reports of Majeski’s debut at London’s Royal Opera House in 2019. The occasion was the premiere of an eagerly awaited new production of Janáček’s Katya Kabanova, in which Majeski sang the exceptionally demanding title role for the first time. Her reviews were all raves, including this one from Richard Morrison in The Times:
If there is a more compelling solo performance on the operatic stage this year than Amanda Majeski’s in the title role of Janáček’s opera, I will need a new stock of superlatives. I unhesitatingly say that you are unlikely to encounter a Katya more profoundly acted than by the American soprano, nor more strikingly sung.
Lyric is proud to call Amanda Majeski one of our own, and all of us look forward to watching her continue to spread her wings onstage.
Amanda Majeski can be heard as Countess Almaviva in excerpts from The Marriage of Figaro in “Celebrating Sir Andrew Davis, from Mozart to Stravinsky.”