Melanie is a lyric soprano based out of New York City. She was delighted to recently make her European debut in a concert tour throughout Poland. This concert highlighted the works of contemporary and traditional musical theater, and she was accompanied by a full symphony orchestra. Additionally, she just recorded her first album, “Broadway After to be released in Poland in March 2012.
Melanie is also extremely proud to have made her Carnegie Hall debut this past December 2011. She recently joined the New York Choral Society which has led to other similar endeavors, with Carnegie Hall being a major highlight. “Everyone always asks, ‘Where is the best place to perform in New York?’ I’ve always heard it was Carnegie Hall, and now I know without a doubt it is true! What a thrill to sing on that stage.” This was one of many concerts performed in New York this season with the New York Choral Society, and Melanie is looking forward to many more.
Music has always been the breath of life for Melanie. From a very young age, everyone around her noticed that she had a special gift, and so she began to cultivate it at the age of 8. She started with piano lessons, and naturally excelled in music. She had a knack for all sides of music and entertaining. “I remember singing along to my tape recorder and imagining that I was on a stage. At night, my parents would tell me to go to sleep, but I just couldn’t turn the music off! I also used to direct my childhood playmates in imaginary garage performances!” At the age of 10, she auditioned for an exclusive group called Marywood College Children’s Choir. Coming from a one-stoplight town, she was up against all the “city” girls of Scranton, PA. She sang her first solo with this group, and from that moment on, she knew she belonged on a stage.
Fast forwarding several years, it was apparent that Melanie was going to have a promising future in music. In high school, she competed statewide at PMEA music festivals and was awarded first place soprano in the entire state–the biggest achievement she’d made up to that point. Soon after, she was admitted into her top choice school, Carnegie Mellon University. While studying at CMU, Melanie managed to sing her way to the top. “I suddenly felt like a tiny fish in a huge ocean, so I knew I had to work my hardest.” She performed in many concerts, but a few of the highlights included the role of “Val” in A Chorus Line, “Nancy” in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, “Second Lady” in scenes from The Magic Flute, soloist in Bach’s Magnificat, and fabulously featured ensemble in Candide.
After graduating with the highest honors, Melanie spent the summer studying opera in Italy. This experience had a great influence on her. “I absolutely fell in love with everything about Italy. The music, the culture, the beautiful terrain, the sun, the food, the people, and of course the wine,” she said with a laugh. “I wanted to stay there and just sing forever.” After spending the rest of the year on a national tour of “Swing! The Musical” she returned to Italy to spend another summer studying and performing. This wonderful experience led her to make her operatic debut as the prize role of “Nannetta” in Falstaff at the Crested Butte Music Festival.
Ironically, after making the big move to New York City she had a series of jobs that took her right back out of the city. She booked the part of lead singer on a luxury cruise line, where she also developed her own one-woman cabaret act. She even had the pleasure to sing back up for Florence Henderson. Traveling the world while singing was an incredible and life-changing experience for Melanie. She was able to ride a camel at the pyramids, see penguins in Antarctica, and swim with sting rays in Bora Bora. Then something began to gently tug her; she knew it was time to come back to New York City.
“In this field, you do not always know what the next step is until you’re about to take a huge jump. I have this incredibly strong faith that each step leads me closer to my ultimate goals,” she said. Now that she is planning to stay in New York, she is exploring the many performing opportunities the city has to offer. “I’m constantly inspired by the world around me, and I feel blessed that I have seen so much.” Instead of finding inspiration at the pyramids, now she now finds it daily in New York City. “If I can make it actually around the world and back again, I can make it here,” said with a huge grin.