Artist of the Week: Stephanie Blythe
American Mezzo-Soprano Makes History Performing ‘Gianni Schicchi’By Francisco Salazar
This week the San Diego Opera is set to present two of Puccini’s operas from “Il Trittico;” “Gianni Schicchi” and “Suor Angelica.” The event is special as it will see Stephanie Blythe making history by becoming the first mezzo to perform the role of “Gianni Schicchi.”
Blythe is no stranger to the opera “Gianni Schicchi” as she has played the role of Zita to critical acclaim, most notably at the Met. But this time she is singing a role originally written for a bass-baritone. In a recent interview with Blythe, the mezzo said, “I have always had a well-developed low voice, but about five years ago, maybe more, my voice started moving lower and lower, and I’ve worked to develop this lower range. It’s a natural progression because of hormonal changes, and I’ve chosen not to fight it. I chose not to think of my voice as ‘short on top,’ but ‘long on the bottom.’”
It’s not the first time Blythe sings a role created for a traditionally male voice. She first did the Don Jose in “Carmen” at the Chicago Theater Opera and said that she was happy to do something new. “It can’t always be the same, but opera and orchestras are more likely to do recreations of old works,” Blythe stated.
For those not in San Diego for the historical event, the mezzo is set to return to the Metropolitan Opera for the company premiere of “Champion,” which is set to be presented in HD. She is also set to perform the work in Budapest.
If you are interested in discovering Blythe’s art, the mezzo has numerous recordings including “As Long there are Songs” and “The Ring Cycle” from the Met and Seattle Opera.
Here is Blythe performing from “Carmen” and “L’Italiana in Algeri.”
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