Sarah Saturnino loves Wonder Woman. That makes perfect sense, the moment you meet her.
Amazonian in stature, intellect, and talent, Sarah, who is in the last year of her Master’s Degree program at Yale, is in that wonderful place where her formal education is nearly behind her and her professional life is straight ahead. She is approaching this transition with tremendous enthusiasm and an open mind. And why shouldn’t she? There is not much she can’t do.
In her first year, she performed Dorabella in the Yale Opera production of Cosi Fan Tutte at the Schubert and while this year’s pick, Die Zauberflöte, does not offer much for Mezzo-Sopranos beyond the Second Lady, she did get to play the emotionally distraught mother in Hansel and Gretel, and the frazzled composer in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos in the opera scenes performed at Sprague Hall in the early part of the school year. Her portrayal of Sister Prejean in the scenes from Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking was outstanding. People are still talking about it, and one of those people is me. How I would love to have seen Dead Man Walking in its entirety this year.
Sarah’s next move is New York, and I could not be more delighted, since I think it is the perfect place for her diverse set of skills.
Sarah Saturnino/Second Year Recital
Sarah’s recital was at Sprague Hall on a Sunday afternoon at 4:30pm. I could not wait. I planned my whole day around getting to her recital, and was planning on going…at 7:30. When I realized my mistake, I took it well. Screaming, crying, calling myself names for being so stupid as to not check the time. I started throwing shoes on my feet, but as it was around 5:30 when I realized my mistake, her recital was nearly over. I then remembered that I could stream it. I jumped on the stream (which popped up instantly, by the way) just in time to hear the last few notes of her last selection of Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder. Exquisite, by the way.
Sarah gave us Tchaikovsky’s Reconciliation, Dunayevsky songs, Dvorak’s Zigeunermelodien , Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder , and Heggie, Camile Claudel: Into the Fire .
I was completely unfamiliar with the Dunayevsky songs, and to have heard them for the first time through Sarah’s artistry was a gift. These songs, written with a 1930s sense of romanticism, are so romantic, they make you blush. Sarah moved with them and allowed herself to be moved BY them, and then wrapped them in velvet and delivered them to us. The Dvorak was also gorgeous, of course, and although I am not a big fan of the Tchaikovsky songs (sorry Tchaikovsky fans) she did an excellent job with them. I love Rückert-Lieder, and virtually everything Mahler has ever written, so at the end of this section, I pretty much had to be picked up off the floor.
But the HEGGIE!
I was particularly excited about this section after having heard Sarah tackle Heggie’s Dead Man Walking in the Yale Opera scenes. In these beautiful songs, accompanied by an excellent string quartet comprised of Yale students, Sarah delivered in every way. Her timing, her intelligence, her engagement with the lyric, all come together to give us something very special. I am once again kicking myself for having missed this live. But at least there is this:
I mentioned to Sarah that there needs to be a Wonder Woman opera written just for her, and it should be composed by Jake Heggie. She REALLY seemed to like that idea!
If you go to the link above, that will take you to the Heggie section, and from there you can access all the other sections of the recital.