A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Melody Mercredi - Queen Of The Night
Saturday, March 15, 2008

When my granddaughter Rebecca and I watched soprano Melody Mercredi sing at a recent performance of Bruce Reddell's and Bill Reid's The Spirit of Haida Gwaii we could not stop looking at her. Her clear voice and her red Dorothy Grant dress were a striking combination. She wore that dress when I interviewed her and photographed her in my studio in mid- February.

Port Hardy-born Mercredi knew she was going to be singer from the moment she learned to talk. "My mother had a beautiful sweet soprano voice and she played the organ at our church. I sang in the kids'choirs. But it wasn't until I was 14 when I watched Tom Hanks in Philadelphia that I knew I wanted to be an opera singer. I heard Maria Callas sing "La Mamma Morta" from Umberto Giordano's opera Andrea Chenier. It totally moved me. I had to sing like that someday."

Mercredi pursued her musical studies in Capilano College, UBC and the Vancouver Academy of Music. She has been the lead in the touring company of the Vancouver Opera's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. "I sing Queen of the Night, the Second Lady and Papagena with the Vancouver Opera In School Program. I have entertained kids while being in those three different characters in schools all over BC including Haida Gwaii and the reserve at New Aiyansh."

In her ambition to one day sing Juliette in Charles Gounod's Romeo et Juliette Mercredi excecised all options. She will be in the chorus of the Vancouver Opera's forthcoming production of Beethoven's Fidelio(opens March 22 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre). "I admire the principal singers, specially Richard Margison and Robyn Drideger-Klassen whith whom I went to school. For me to be on stage for any role is fullfilling. I love to be in costume. I can be someone else for two hours."

Mercredi's favourite food is cheese. "I am thin not only because of my family genes but because I run. I need to keep extending those long singing breaths in many of those arias. You have to be fit and have stamina to be an opera singer." At first her friends could not believe she was an opera singer. "They thougth I had to be large like Brünhilde to sing opera!"


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