March 11, 2010 | Nora O'Donnell | Chicago Magazine
This past Tuesday, during the run of the Lyric Opera’s production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, the Northwestern graduate and Gurnee native Amanda Majeski stepped into one of the leading roles as an understudy and wowed the crowd.
Bronchitis stinks. It especially blows (or rather, affects your ability to blow) if you’re an opera singer.
On Tuesday, the German soprano Anne Schwanewilms stepped down from her role as Countess Almaviva in the Lyric’s critically acclaimed revival of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro because of this pesky infection. So the spotlight turned to the understudy, Northwestern grad and first-year Ryan Opera Center member Amanda Majeski, and the nail biting commenced.
Will she crash and burn? Or will a star be born?
Judging by the audience’s rapturous applause, there was no debate: Majeski is a star.
People might remember Majeski from her dynamic performance as Vitella in Chicago Opera Theater’s fantastic modern spin on a lesser-known Mozart opera, La Clemenza di Tito, but Figaro marked her Lyric debut.
In Figaro’s earlier performances, she played a barely-noticed peasant girl, but on Tuesday, Majeski, 25, was instantly Cinderella-fied as the Countess Almaviva.
The Gurnee native’s silvery voice tackled some of the opera’s most difficult passages with a dignified melancholy that matched the role.
After her first aria, my friend poked me and whispered, “She sounds better than Susanna,” referring to the show’s star character, played by the much buzzed about Danielle de Niese. De Niese (even in electric boogaloo–blue eye shadow) is an absolute delight, but on this night, Majeski owned the stage.
She was visibly moved by the audience’s reaction, and the feeling was mutual. It feels great when an underdog’s done good, right?
You can catch Majeski as the Countess on Friday, March 12th before the local darling Nicole Cabell steps in to cover the role.