The night was a surprise, with the presence of the American Mezzo-Soprano Michelle DeYoung. I say surprise because frankly I did not expect her to solve Brünnhilde’s demanding final page in Götterdämmerung so well. DeYoung has never sung this complete part and it would seem that she is testing herself little by little.She burst on the scene in the 2nd part with the appearance of a genuine and elegant Valkyrie…It was quite a site to see her face, enjoying and letting herself be imbued with Wagner’s breath. A great artist is measured by their ability to communicate on all levels. DeYoung started saying a lot about her Brünnhilde before singing a single note. When she opened her mouth, she didn’t disappoint, with a demand and vibrancy of Wagners text…
Michelle DeYoung greatly impressed when she appeared in the DSO’s concert performance of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and she impressed all over again as Sieglinde. She is a mezzo-soprano, but this is a role that both mezzos and sopranos sing regularly. As an understudy for an indisposed Lotte Lehmann, the 23-year-old dramatic soprano Astrid Varnay debuted in the role in 1941. Other sopranos famous for the role include Margaret Harshaw and Deborah Voigt. Yet mezzo Christa Ludwig was equally successful in the role. We can add DeYoung to the list of great mezzo Sieglindes. She effortlessly sang the role, with a rich voice of remarkable size. She also conveyed all the drama, in this unstaged version, purely with vocal coloration.
DeYoung was joined by the men of the Opera Australia chorus for the Alto Rhapsody, DeYoung’s mezzo voice mingled with lower strings.. DeYoung sliding gracefully up to lyrical heights above the men’s chorus…
Her transformation from a naive woman passionately in love, to someone broken by the emotional consequences off that love, gave her the opportunity to display the quite remarkable range of expression that her voice is capable of. Electrifying on the high notes, cavernous on the low ones, she offered a variety of vocal colours to match the amazing orchestral ones.
If you weren’t at the Meyerson Symphony Center Friday night, you missed what may have been the most electrifying performance I’ve witnessed in Dallas in 16 years…Michelle DeYoung’s well-appointed mezzo could project wariness, determination and glorious, full-throated ecstasy.
The mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung gave an appropriately dusky account of the “Urlicht” movement, and sang beautifully in the finale.
…Michelle DeYoung made a spectacular impact as Kundry. Strong across her range, her sinuous phrasing, strong dynamic control and appealing tone colors conveyed Kundry’s dual role as siren and penitent.
The American mezzo Michelle DeYoung is an equally experienced Wagnerian, her Kundry marvellously caught and preserved on the Pentatone label. In the flesh she lived up to that promise, embracing the long, legato lines even when all she has are a series of fragmented words. It’s a rich, creamy voice…resonant and thrillingly silvery at the top. Her famous “Ich sah Ihn – Ihn – und – lachte…” (I saw Him, and laughed) was spine-tinglingly good.
“American mezzo soprano Michelle DeYoung was perfect as Kundry, a woman cursed to eternity for laughing at Christ’s crucifixion and an unwilling pawn in Klingsor’s web of intrigue. The pivotal scene where she attempts unsuccessfully to seduce Parsifal was superbly realised, her visceral aria with its dramatic leaps was spine-tingling.”