Soprano, NY City Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Michigan State University
She has been hailed by The New York Times for her "dark soprano that warms the ear." She made her international debut as Marietta/Marie in Korngold's Die Tote Stadt at the Brisbane (Australia) Biennial. Her successes include Lucrezia Borgia at the Caramoor International Music Festival, Aida with Opera Carolina, as well as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Caramoor, Opera Carolina, and Lake George Opera Festival. Other engagements included Alice Ford opposite the Falstaff of Sherrill Milnes at the New York City Opera, Maddalena in Andréa Chénier, Elsa in Lohengrin, Foreign Princess in Rusalka, and Leonora in Il Trovatore for Seattle Opera, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for New York City Opera, and the title role in Norma for Teatro de Colon, Bogotà. In addition, she has sung leading roles with the San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Washington Opera.
A favorite of American composers, she originated roles in Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place and Hugo Weisgall’s The Gardens of Adonis. Helton appeared to rave reviews as the Fairy Godmother in Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon with Caramoor.
Fall 2005 brought the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s song cycle “and flowers pick themselves” (commissioned for her by the MSU Sesquicentennial Foundation) with the MSU Symphony Orchestra. April 2007 brought her first appearance in the title role of Turandot, also with the MSU Symphony Orchestra. An active concert soloist, in 2006-07 she was heard with the Lansing Symphony in excerpts from Idomeneo and Mozart’s C minor Mass and with the Ann Arbor Symphony in Verdi’s Requiem. Next season she will return to Ann Arbor for excerpts from La Traviata and appear with the Ashland Symphony in Verdi’s Requiem.
Melanie Helton is associate professor of voice (soprano) and director of opera theatre at the Michigan State University College of Music.