Faculty artist-in-residence Cyndia Sieden and visiting artist Deanne Meek lead students from the UW Vocal Performance Program in presenting songs and scenes of the American Experience, including highlights from the American Songbook, and both classic and contemporary operatic repertoire. With stage direction by Deanne Meek.
Deanne Meek, stage direction
Lauded as a “splendid mezzo-soprano” by the Wall Street Journal, Deanne Meek has performed leading roles at home and abroad to critical acclaim. A native of the Pacific Northwest, she began her career as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanna for Dublin Grand Opera, Ireland, followed by seasons with New York City Opera in such roles as Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Cherubino in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel.
Subsequent New York appearances included debut solo performances with the Metropolitan Opera in productions of Mozart’s Idomeneo, Madama Butterfly, Parsifaland Rusalka. Equally comfortable in the baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary repertoire, the mezzo continues to sing principle roles with many of the great opera companies throughout the world, including Washington Opera, Dallas Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera National du Rhin in Strasbourg, Madrid’s Teatro Real, and in Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon. Under the direction of acclaimed director Sir David McVicar, Deanne’s British debut performance in the role of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier for Opera North was praised as “breathtaking” by Opera Magazine, and her interpretation of Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina for English National Opera shortly thereafter received equally strong praise. In another signature role, the mezzo’s performances as Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream have brought her to further collaborations with Sir McVicar for La Monnaie in Brussels, and under the direction of Robert Carson, to the Opera de Lyon in France, Teatro alla Scala, Milan, and from the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, in a performance that can be seen on Virgin Classics DVD.
A champion of new music, the mezzo is frequently heard with the 21st Century Consort at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C, where she recently premiered and recorded Algebra of Night, a new song cycle for mezzo and chamber ensemble by composer Eugene O’Brien. In New York she has also premiered songs by composer Sheila Silver under the title Beauty Intolerable at Symphony Space, and in the Northwest, has performed composer Jake Heggie’s song cycle Camille Claudel: Into the Fire with the Methow Valley Chamber Music festival. Deanne has also curated and performed several recitals in conjunction with exhibits at the Frye Art Museum. She can be heard in both DVD and Audio format under the BBC, Virgin, PS Classics and Telarc labels.
Ms. Meek is a graduate of Whitman College and of the Peabody Institute of Music, Johns Hopkins, and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. She is an AmSat certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and Associate Teacher of the Fitzmaurice Voicework, and has trained extensively in New York City with the Ping Chong and SITI acting companies. She has been a visiting artist with the University of Washington School of Music since 2016, where she gives vocal master classes, directs, and teaches both movement and acting technique to opera singers. In addition to directing Ravel’s L’enfant et le Sortiléges for the University of Washington School of Music Opera Workshop, upcoming 2018 engagements for the mezzo-soprano include return performances with the Frye Art Museum, the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, and her company debut performance with Des Moines Metro Opera in Jonathan Dove’s opera Flight.
American soprano Cyndia Sieden moves easily among the Baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary repertoires to worldwide acclaim. In addition, her performances and recordings of his works affirm her status as one of the sovereign Mozart interpreters of the present day.
Highlights of 2011 included performances in Morton Feldman's monodrama Neither for New York City Opera, Ariadne in Wolfgang Rihm's Dionysos at the Netherlands Opera and Soprano I in Luigi Nono's Prometeo at the Salzburg and Berlin Festivals. In contrast to these knotty modern works, she returned to Blondchen in Mozart's Abduction with Frans Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and on tour throughout Holland.
Sieden has starred at most of the world's great opera houses, including the Munich Bayerische Staatsoper, the New York Met, Paris's Opéra Bastille, the Wiener Staatsoper, Barcelona's Gran Teatre de Liceu, Brussels's La Monnaie, and London's Covent Garden and English National, as well as in Beijing and Australia. Her highly-praised Metropolitan Opera debut was as Berg's Lulu, and her success quickly led to reengagement in 2008 for Die Zauberflöte's Queen of the Night, one of her signature roles.
She is a brilliantly idiomatic interpreter of the works of Richard Strauss. She frequently performs Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos (Munich, Japan, Vienna), as well as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier (Paris Châtelet) and Aminta in Die schweigsame Frau (Palermo and Munich).
Her performances in the high-flying role of Ariel in the premiere of Thomas Adès's The Tempest at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, ignited rave reviews and an astonished public. She has garnered equal enthusiasm and devotion for her Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, all over the world. Other specialties are Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein's Candide, and the operas of Handel.
Sieden is much in demand for Orff's Carmina Burana, the oratorios and masses of Handel, Mozart, and Haydn, and works of Bach, Strauss and Mahler. She has sung with many of the most renowned symphony orchestras in the world, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival. In addition, her Lieder recitals are always highly-anticipated events.
Cyndia Sieden was born in California, USA, and received her first vocal instruction there. The significant milestone in her studies was work with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in master classes in Carmel Valley, CA in 1982. Schwarzkopf then invited Sieden to become her private student, and also to work with her in master classes at the 1983 Salzburg Mozarteum. Sieden sang in the culminating concert/competition and won first place, the springboard for her first professional engagements.
In 1984, Cyndia Sieden made her European debut in Il Barbiere at the Bavarian State Opera; her American debut also took place in 1984, in La Fille du Regiment, in Tampa, Florida.