Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Soprano Nadine Sierra Releases MADE FOR OPERA

This marks the singer's second solo album.

Soprano Nadine Sierra Releases MADE FOR OPERA

Nadine Sierra's childhood intuition - that she was born to sing opera - has proved correct in every way and is reflected in the title of her second solo album, Made for Opera, out today on Deutsche Grammophon. The dramatic presence, searing passion and technical brilliance for which the American lyric soprano regularly scores rave reviews are captured in this new album, which trains the spotlight on three of the most demanding roles in the repertoire - Verdi's Violetta, Donizetti's Lucia and Gounod's Juliette.

Recorded with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai and Capella Cracoviensis under Riccardo Frizza, the album not only reflects Nadine Sierra's command of bel canto technique and rich range of vocal colors, but also documents her insights into the psychology of the ill-starred heroines of La traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor and Roméo et Juliette.

Violetta, Lucia and Juliette are destroyed by the social conventions of their day and the impossibility of choosing their own destiny. This has a personal resonance for Sierra, whose grandmother was a talented singer, but was prevented by her family from pursuing a professional career as an opera singer. Like most women of her background and generation, she was expected to be a respectable housewife and nothing more.

The soprano gives credit to her mother for remembering the sacrifices her own mother had been forced to make and so giving her all the support she needed as she set out on her artistic journey.

"What was impossible for my grandmother was made possible for me. It's a journey that's allowed me to be seen, to be heard and to design my artistic aspirations for an even bigger goal than what I've already achieved - passing on the courage that I, as a modern-day woman, can give with the utmost strength to any young woman wanting to reach the highest star," says Sierra. "I'd like to believe that sharing my family story will give some inspiration to others. And that it may help them to fulfill their destiny and realize that they too can be 'made for' anything."

Her new album opens with the Parisian courtesan Violetta Valéry considering whether she should choose love for the romantic Alfredo Germont over her cherished freedom. The role grows in drama and texture as the opera unfolds, and Sierra captures every nuance of Verdi's vocal writing. Her chosen sequence of arias ends with the dying Violetta's heart-breaking "Addio, del passato bei sogni ridenti," in which she bids farewell to her past dreams and laments Alfredo's absence.

Sierra's sensational representation of Lucia builds from the innocence of a young girl in love, if haunted by a past murder ("Ancor non giunse ... Quando, rapito in estasi"), to the rapture, despair and confusion of the famous "mad scene" from the final act of Donizetti's opera: "Oh, giusto cielo! ... Il dolce suono." The soprano's recent performance of the role at Barcelona's Liceu was hailed by the critics, Seen and Heard International summing it up as "an indisputable triumph."

The album's third heroine, Juliette, falls victim to the feud between her family and that of her lover, Roméo. Gounod's five-act opera, based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, includes the waltz song "Je veux vivre," one of the great showpiece arias for coloratura soprano, and the emotionally complex "Amour, ranime mon courage," Again, Sierra brings her wide-ranging talent to this demanding role, with intricate vocal fireworks in the former, passion, and drama in the latter.

"All three of these roles set big challenges for the voice," she explains, "but those challenges are there to bring each woman to life. I think their stories touch listeners today just as much and perhaps even more today than they did when they were new to the stage over 150 years ago."

The making of this album also owes a great deal to three real-life inspirational women: Teresa Stratas and Renata Scotto, the stars of the very first production she saw at the age of ten - Zeffirelli's La Bohème - on a video her mother had borrowed from their local library, and Marilyn Horne, who became her mentor a few years later. "I learned from these exceptional women," recalls Sierra, "that I needed to have all that it took - the dedication, hardship, sacrifice, perseverance, patience and pure devotion - to be 'made for opera'."

Nadine Sierra is set to perform Lucia in three productions of Lucia di Lammermoor this season. Her run in the role began on January 15, 2022 with the first of six performances at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. She travels to the Bayerische Staatsoper in March for the latest revival of Barbara Wysocka's critically acclaimed production, before heading to New York in April to star in the Metropolitan Opera's brand new staging of Donizetti's masterwork by in-demand Australian theater and film director Simon Stone.

Review: Botstein and ASO Bring Strauss’s Seldom-Heard DAPHNE to Carnegie Hall Photo
It’s hard to compete with yourself — especially the ‘you’ that was at the height of your powers. I think that’s part of the problem with the place that Richard Strauss’s DAPHNE holds in the composer’s canon. Often referred to as a second- (or even third-) tier work, it has much to offer and enjoy, as the performance by the American Symphony Orchestra under Leon Botstein at Carnegie Hall the other night proved quite well.

Cincinnati Opera and CCM to Workshop Two Operas-in-Progress This Spring Photo
Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) have announced the next events in their joint program, Opera Fusion: New Works.

Madison Opera Presents THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO This April Photo
Madison Opera concludes its mainstage season with its first production in over a decade of Mozart's classic The Marriage of Figaro. Performances are Friday, April 28 at 8pm and Sunday, April 30 at 2:30pm in Overture Hall at the Overture Center for the Arts.

VIDEO: Strausss DER ROSENKAVALIER Returns to The Met Opera Photo
Watch video from Lise Davidsen, a leading international soprano who has been lauded for her recent Met performances in Strauss's Elektra and Ariadne auf Naxos and Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, returns to the Met stage for Strauss's grand comedy Der Rosenkavalier, singing the Marschallin for the first time in a seven-performance run from March 27 to April 20.

More Hot Stories For You

THE ARTWORK OF THE FUTURE World Premiere Opera To Run At Fresh Squeezed Opera, May 13-19THE ARTWORK OF THE FUTURE World Premiere Opera To Run At Fresh Squeezed Opera, May 13-19
February 28, 2023

A new opera by composer Eric Moe and librettist Rob Handel, The Artwork of the Future, will have its world premiere in a production by Fresh Squeezed Opera in five performances at HERE Performing Arts Center in SoHo on May 13, 14, 16, 18, and 19, 2023. The 70-minute work, scored for four singers and instrumental septet, is a lighthearted science-fiction opera that looks at the purpose of art in challenging times through the lens of comedy.

OPERA America Awards Opera Grants For Women Stage Directors And ConductorsOPERA America Awards Opera Grants For Women Stage Directors And Conductors
February 22, 2023

OPERA America has announced the first-round recipients of the 2023 Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors. 

Opera Saratoga Names New General And Artistic Director Mary BirnbaumOpera Saratoga Names New General And Artistic Director Mary Birnbaum
February 13, 2023

Opera Saratoga's board of directors has announced that Mary Birnbaum has been named the company's new general and artistic director. She succeeds former General and Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson, whose eight year tenure concluded at the end of the 2022 season. Birnbaum is the tenth general director in the Opera Saratoga's celebrated history.

OPERA America Awards The 2023 IDEA Opera Residencies To Three New-To-Opera Creators Of ColorOPERA America Awards The 2023 IDEA Opera Residencies To Three New-To-Opera Creators Of Color
February 6, 2023

OPERA America has announced the recipients of the 2023 IDEA Opera Residencies program (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access), an initiative that provides New York City-based composers and librettists of color an opportunity to explore opera as an expressive medium.

Works & Process at The Guggenheim Presents CHAMPION, An Opera By Terence BlanchardWorks & Process at The Guggenheim Presents CHAMPION, An Opera By Terence Blanchard
February 6, 2023

Works & Process at the Guggenheim presents Champion-an opera by Terence Blanchard, with a libretto by Michael Cristofer-featuring performances by members of the cast and a moderated discussion about the work's forthcoming company premiere at the Metropolitan Opera.