We are honored to welcome back renowned Israeli mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani as this fall home season world premiere collaborator. She first shared the stage with LINES Ballet in “Wheel in the Middle of a Field” in 2010 and again in “Constellation” in 2012. Hear her thoughts on joining us once more for this season’s new work, which also welcomes back beloved past dancer Meredith Webster.
“I am a dancer at heart. I started dancing at 5 years old, and when music started to take a big part in my life I had to choose. I was always moving when I sang – and very often in my opera training I was asked to constrain myself and not move so much. It created problems for me early on because I really connected my singing to movement.
Meeting Alonzo was revolutionary because I got permission to move. I don’t shy away from movement anymore, I think it’s part of my expression as a performer.
When I first worked with Alonzo on ‘Wheel in the Middle of a Field’ he didn’t care that we were opera singers and not trained dancers. He expected us to dance as if we were dancers in his company. He said that if we are committed, unapologetic in our movement and expression, we will fit right in.
It was refreshing, revelatory. It felt like we were given wings.
Alonzo King is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, both as a person and as an artist. I’m extremely excited and honored to be working and creating with him and his dancers again. Working with him is very different than working in the Opera world, and it usually brings very different things out of me as a performer. It’s like being given a whole different color palette as a painter.
I think growing up in Israel definitely shaped me as an artist, and as a performer. I’ve learned early on the value of the arts, and how powerful and influential the arts can be. My very first solo, my first experience performing, was at a community memorial service in first grade.
Right from the beginning, music was not entertainment but a tool of expression, of reflecting on the human condition, of dealing with sorrow, of comforting, of hope, of connection to other people.
It sunk in right away – the importance and the power of music, how essential and how necessary it is.”
Israeli mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani has been praised for her “big, voluptuous sound” and “vigorous stage presence” (The San Francisco Chronicle). A 2010 grand finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the recipient of an Adler Fellowship at the San Francisco Opera, she is fast-becoming one of the most sought-after young singers today.
Lahyani’s 2016-2017 season begins as a soloist in a world premiere collaboration with Alonzo King LINES Ballet. She then returns to Seattle Opera as Flora in La Traviata, and as Varvara (role debut) in Janácek’s Katya Kabanova. In the spring, she returns to The Metropolitan Opera as Flora in La Traviata, and Maddalena in Rigoletto. Later in the season, Lahyani joins the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in Mahler Symphony no. 2 under the baton of Christopher Warren-Green.
Last season included performances and covers at the Metropolitan Opera as Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Lola in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, and as a Serving Woman in a highly acclaimed new production of Elektra by legendary director Patrice Chéreau, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, which was seen live in HD around the world. Lahyani also joined both Opera Las Vegas and PORTopera in the title role of Carmen, earning rave reviews for her portrayal of this iconic role.
Lahyani sang over 50 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, making her debut during the 2013-2014 season in Anthony Minghella’s production of Madam Butterfly as the first Israeli born to ever sing on their stage. During that season she also appeared in Massenet’s Werther, and in Dvorak’s Rusalka. During the 2014-2015 season she performed the roles of the Palestinian Woman in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer, Flora in Willy Decker’s iconic production of La Traviata, and Rosette in Manon.
Other recent engagements including her Seattle Opera Debut as Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos, Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with Opera Fairbanks, the title role of Carmen with the Wolf Trap Opera, the Page in Atom Egoyan’s production of Salome with The Canadian Opera Company, Third Lady in The Magic Flute with The Dallas Opera, and Rigoletto in concert with The Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.
Lahyani is an alumna of the prestigious Adler Fellowship of the San Francisco Opera, where she made her debut in 2010 as Wowkle in La Fanciulla del West under conductor Nicola Luisotti. Other roles and productions with the company include Siegrune in Die Walküre, Sister Marta and The Duenna in Cyrano de Bergerac, the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’s Heart of a Soldier, Janácek’s The Makropulos Case, and the title role of Carmen. http://www.mayalahyani.com/