Amanda Majeski is 22 and a rising star in the opera world. Majeski, who is a graduate student at the famed Curtis Institute, is coming to UB for a recital courtesy of the Marilyn Horne Foundation. She will be singing music by Haydn, Rachmaninoff, Richard Strauss, William Bolcom and Ricky Ian Gordon. (The recital takes place at 8 tonight at Lippes Hall in Slee Hall. Admission is $20. For information, call 645-2921.)
We asked Majeski about life in the vocal stratosphere.
>The six Rachmaninoff songs you are singing are in Russian. How difficult is it to learn to sing in Russian?
It's tough! I was lucky enough to sing Tchaikovsky's "Iolanthe" at Curtis last year. I'm pretty familiar with it, but it was really hard to memorize. Also to sing all of the consonants, while keeping the vowels bright and brilliant.
>Strauss' "Cacilie," one of the songs you are singing, is just so sweeping and romantic. What does it feel like to sing something like that?
It's just a big rush of energy, like a waterfall. Such an amazing rush of breath and line, such excitement.
>Is there an opera role you are dying to play?
I would love to play Susannah (in "Susannah") by Carlisle Floyd. That was the first opera I ever saw that I thought, opera can be amazing! Her whole story, her arias are beautiful, her innocence and what happens to her.
>Tell us about an achievement you're proud of.
I just actually finished two performances of Mozart's "Don Giovanni." I was Donna Anna. That was a proud moment. The first one I did was completely separate from the other one. The first one was in August, the second in November. The first one, it was a very traditional production, with very honest emotions coming from Anna toward Octavio. My next director had a completely different idea of the character, how to interpret her. I was just proud of myself, to take that character and reinvent her. I think that's what makes opera so awesome, that ability to see a character in a new light whenever you do it.
>What's Marilyn Horne like?
She knows what she wants, and she's not afraid to tell you what she wants. She's intimidating at first. But she's such a warm and wonderful person, and I love what she's doing for young singers.
-- Mary Kunz Goldman