Opera's Next Wave
Mezzo-soprano KATE LINDSEY
Kate Lindsey has sensational moves. Never was there a singer less likely to "park and bark" than the Virginia-born mezzo, who creates the physical life of a character with abandon. A born actress, Lindsey vividly captures the adolescent coltishness of Cherubino, the liquid grace of Wellgunde or the robust girlishness of Zerlina. She seems to be incapable of timidity, at least when an opera orchestra is playing: in this past season's holiday revival of Hansel and Gretel at the Met, Lindsey's Hansel charged through the Witch's kitchen at ninety-five miles an hour, gobbling up space like the Tasmanian Devil and snapping into a dance of joy at the finale that was a half-beat away from a Zumba fitness routine.
Like all good athletes — she has been an avid soccer player from the age of five — Lindsey knows the value of well-considered stillness, as witness her fascinating Nicklausse in Bartlett Sher's 2009 staging of Les Contes d'Hoffmann at the Met. Few singers can steal a scene without singing a note, but Lindsey's intense, silent presence in several key Hoffmann scenes was positively larcenous. Dressed in a dark trouser suit and top hat, her hair worn in a lank pageboy and her face starkly pale, Lindsey's Nicklausse had a businesslike androgyny that suggested the young George Sand. In the opening of the Venetian act, Lindsey sang her part of the barcarolle coatless and hatless while buttoning up her vest, leaving little doubt of what had transpired between Nicklausse and Giulietta just before the big tune began. As the barcarolle was ending, Lindsey's Nicklausse reclaimed her coat and hat from the feckless Hoffmann with a pitying glance, the slight swagger of her hips as she turned upstage creating an indelible image of her character's self-satisfaction.
A graduate of Indiana University, Lindsey spent three years in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Met, where she made her company debut in 2005, as Javotte in Manon, the first of her more than eighty performances with the company to date. Her voice is lean and amber-tinted, with the gracefully weighted phrasing of a true Mozart singer. This summer, Lindsey is in Aix-en-Provence to sing Cherubino, a role she has also performed at the Met, at Boston Lyric Opera and at Bayerische Staatsoper. Her favorite Cherubino moment is in the Countess's bedroom, immediately after "Voi che sapete," because "that's when his hormones are really raging."
Lindsey returns to the Met next season for Annio in a revival of La Clemenza di Tito that will be presented as part of The Met: Live in HD series on December 1. Her non-trouser roles include Angelina in La Cenerentola, which she sings at Los Angeles Opera in March; Zerlina, which she sang for her debuts this past season at San Francisco Opera and Covent Garden; Rossini's Rosina; and the title role in Daron Aric Hagen's Amelia, which she created at the work's world premiere at Seattle Opera in 2010.
Lindsey is now moving from strength to strength, with important company and role debuts filling her calendar. What new project is on her horizon? In a review of Lindsey's Kitchen Boy in the Met's 2009 revival of Dvorˇřák's Rusalka, OPERA NEWS critic William R. Braun suggested that she might one day be ideal casting for the central role in the same composer's comedy The Devil and Kate. It sounds like a good idea to us. Is anybody out there listening?
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