Anderson gives 19th-Century Opera a Sexy New Twist

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“Massenet wrote this part for Sybil Sanderson, one of the few sopranos of her day that could actually perform the complex material. Melissa Shippen, our current Thais, has proven she is up to the task as well. Whenever the music took her voice to the lower register it was sex served up on a silver spoon.”

“In the scenes where Thais and Athanael are battling for her soul are some of the most impressive from a purely technical point of view. They both reach the extremities of their ranges with ease, their voices soaring around each other as they come together and pull away, each afraid of the other’s influence.”

Sue Small - Addison Independent

Story, staging, singing fuels a hit - Thais Tackles Complexity of Love and Sex in a daring performance

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“Shippen’s acting chops, seductive voice, and soaring high notes….make their doomed love not only urgent and believeable but enviable. You’ll want to be one or the other of them.”

“Shippen, whose spectacular duets with Jeremiah as Athanael are the heart of the show.”

“This Thais has put OCM (Opera Company of Middlebury) on the map and will be remembered for years to come…As Thais enters into pure golden Heaven, she leaves Athanael in his loveless hell and much of the audience in tears.”

David Weinstock - Addison Independent

Sex and redemption in ‘Thaïs’

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“Middlebury’s production, which is set in the 21st century, benefited from two stellar performances. Soprano Melissa Shippen not only made the prostitute Thaïs a sympathetic character, she sang the role brilliantly.”

“Shippen imbued her dramatic voice with emotion, from tender to passionate to reverent beautifully, naturally and convincingly.”

Jim Lowe - The Rutland Herald

2010 Concert
Clarksville Community Concert Association

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"…no electronic event can surpass hearing superb musicians live in concert. Saturday afternoon music lovers were treated to a recital by Clarksville native Melissa Shippen, soprano, and Jennifer McGuire, pianist, in the beautiful and historic sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of Clarksville."

"Each selection was carefully chosen to present the brilliance of Ms. Burrows’ rich high notes to their best advantage. The marvelous acoustics of the church hall resonated the beauty of her voice. Ms. McGuire’s perfect accompaniment gave the soprano a solid palate on which to encompass a wide range of emotions."

"It is rare to attend a free concert in middle Tennessee that features internationally acclaimed musicians of the quality of Ms. Burrows and Ms. McGuire. All music lovers in this area should be watchful for a future concert by either or both of these beautiful and talented young women.

Sue Freeman Culverhouse, 2010

RCA Red Seal CD Review: Vesselina Kasarova- Belle Nuit
Duet Soloist on Title Track
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

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"…a pleasant stroll through the standard repertory. The track that gives the CD its title, the Barcarolle from Hoffmann, goes especially well, with Kasarova joined by Melissa Shippen."

Gramophone Magazine, 2008 Awards Issue

"There’s a seductive lilt to the CD’s title track, ‘Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour’ (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) with Kasarova in duet with Melissa Shippen as the Venetian Courtesan, Giulietta.

BBC Music Magazine 2008

2007 Viotti "Vokal Genial" International Vocal Competition Munich, Germany

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"The winner was the American soprano Melissa Shippen, with a large, bright voice singing Micaela's aria from "Carmen"(Bizet) and Musetta's Waltz from "La Bohème"(Puccini)." (Translation)

Deutsches Musikinformationszentrum, 2007

Production: IL Trittico: Suor Angelica
Deutsche Oper Berlin, Premiere

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" Suor Angelica first…Christina Gallardo-Domas as the title character gave a fine performance. Regarding the role of the nuns, Genovieffa, Melissa Shippen was also good. (This) Puccini, conducted by Maestro Stefano Ranzani, was a beautiful performance."

Hamburg Exblog, 2006

Production: The Bartered Bride
Juilliard Opera Center

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"Soprano Melissa Shippen and tenor Matthew Garrett are the appealing and lyrical romantic leads, Marenka, the bride, and Jenik, the ostensible barterer. Shippen’s heroine is aptly feisty when crossed, but delighted to pull the wool over the eyes of silly Vasek. She has a strong enough instrument to carry off this spinto part, complete with dramatic, disillusioned aria, “How dark the day” (“Ten lásky sen”). The three soprano-tenor collaborations, Shippen’s early love duet and later angry, fiercely Slavic exchange with Garrett’s Jenik and the comic encounter with his half-brother and putative rival, Little’s Vasek, are among the performance’s highlights." 2005, Bruce Michael-Gelbert

"The vocal performance of Marenka, Jenik and Kecal were superb including several duets and even one trio."

Newyorske listy 2005, Josef Schrabal

Production: L'enfant prodigue
Juilliard Opera Center

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"In the often excerpted “Air de Lia” (“L’ année en vain chasse l’année!”), which comes right at the start, Melissa Shippen, as Lia, yearned with intensity for her long-lost son in a soprano with a dark, mezzo-like core. One would like to hear her in other roles as well."

"Mother and son blended voices in a reunion duet as impassioned as any soprano-tenor operatic duet." 2004, Bruce Michael-Gelbert

Production: La Bohème
Wolf-Trap Opera
National Symphony Orchestra

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"As his love interest, Mimi, soprano Melissa Shippen turned in a charmingly understated performance in a difficult role. While Mimi is "Boheme's" female lead, she is also weak and consumptive. (Mimi faints at her very first entrance). Contemporary opera audiences expect more dramatic realism these days, so a modern soprano can scarcely deliver a robust performance yet remain in character. Miss Shippen, however, adjusted thoughtfully to the challenge with a well-supported instrument as adept in solos as it was in her duets with Mr. Valenti."

The Washington Times 2004

"Melissa Shippen played Rodolfo's flame, Mimi, singing with an angelic, hopeful soprano."

The Washington Post 2004, Grace Jean

Production: Dialogues des Carmélites
Palm Beach Opera

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On this production: "I'm (Maestro Julius Rudel) tickled pink about the cast. I think we have two very good Blanches...points to Melissa Shippen, a Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition winner who sang the role of Antonia in last season's The Tales of Hoffmann."

CBS News BNET, Palm Beach Post 2004, Sharon McDaniel

Britten War Requiem
Carnegie Hall – Juilliard Orchestra Concert

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"The soloists, a well-matched group, were…Melissa Kaye Shippen, a dramatic soprano with an attractive, powerful sound."

New York Times 2003, Allan Kozinn

Leontyne Price Masterclass

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"Soprano Melissa Shippen, also accompanied by Michael [Baitzer], performed 'Si, mi chiamano Mimi' from La Bohème, after which [Leontyne Price] applauded and exclaimed, "I liked that! You know why?"

(Here, a conspiratorial twinkle in her eye.) "Because you liked it!"…." Abby, Melissa, and Soo-kyung all responded to Ms. Price's words and energy with ever-increasing tonal and dramatic color, leaving the audience shouting and Ms. Price beaming."

The Juilliard Journal 2003, Camille Zamora

Mahler Symphony No. 2 Resurrection
Carnegie Hall – Juilliard Orchestra Concert

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"The Juilliard Choral Union made a fine impression at it’s a capella entrance in the finale, and soloists Melissa Kaye Shippen (soprano) and Makiko Narume (mezzo soprano) gave a good account of themselves."

New York Times 2001, David Hurwitz

Has Performed in...

  • Carmen
  • The Tender Land
  • L'Enfant Prodigue
  • Faust
  • Cosi fan tutte
  • Dialogues des Carmelites
  • La Boheme
  • and many more...