Maureen McKay - Gretel
HANSEL AND GRETEL ACCLAIM
"Maureen McKay as Gretel and Blythe Gaissert as Hansel believably embodied a couple of rambunctious children, scampering about the stage with enviable energy. They also have voices that easily cut through the often thick orchestration of Humperdinck's score, and that blend beautifully in the duets. McKay's performance of Gretel's song at the opening of Act II, where she happily greets the dawn after the night in the forest, was just about perfect — full of wonder and happiness, warmth and brightness."
"McKay has a lovely clear voice, and her perfect acting really helped make the production."
– Opera Today
"Maureen McKay turned in quite a spunky performance as Lilla. She lavished beautiful phrasing on her lovely (and blessedly still) second act aria, which could have been written for Susanna in “Figaro.”"
– Opera Today
"Soprano Maureen McKay was brilliantly expressive in Simon Sargon’s “Shema” composed to Primo Levi poems."
– Seattle Times
"But the undisputed star of the show was the young soprano Maureen McKay, playing the willful and wily Susanna. Armed with a silvery, precisely aimed voice, natural stage presence and the kind of beautifully detailed acting you don´t see often enough on the operatic stage, McKay turned in a smart, sexy and thoroughly charming performance."
– The Washington Post
"...Maureen McKay shone as Susanna... McKay´s warm, agile soprano and pert spunk were totally satisfactory."
– Seattle Post-Intellegencer
Following performances of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, the Washington Post hailed soprano Maureen McKay as the "undisputed star of the show," and further exclaimed, "Armed with a silvery, precisely aimed voice, natural stage presence and the kind of beautifully detailed acting you don't see often enough on the operatic stage, McKay turned in a smart, sexy and thoroughly charming performance.” In the 2010-11 season, she returns to the Komische Oper Berlin where she will sing her first performances of Blanche in a new production of Dialogues des carmélites directed by Calixto Bieto and returns to the roles of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Norina in Don Pasquale, and Musetta in La bohème. She also joins Portland Opera to reprise Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel and in coming seasons, will join the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Fabio Luisi for Schmidt’s Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln. In the 2009-10 season, she made her debut with the Komische Oper Berlin as Marzelline in Fidelio and Norina in Don Pasquale, both new productions, returned to the Opera Company of Philadelphia for Eurydice in Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice and joined the Metropolitan Opera roster for Hänsel und Gretel.
Among her previous engagements are Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel with Opera Company of Philadelphia and Tulsa Opera, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Cleveland, Lightfoot McLendon in Cold Sassy Tree with Atlanta Opera, Lilla in Una cosa rara and Elisa in Il re pastore with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Zerlina in Don Giovanni with New Orleans Opera, Despina in Così fan tutte and Caroline Gaines in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner with New York City Opera, Musetta in La bohème with Opera Omaha, and Norina in Don Pasquale with Anchorage Opera. She joined Seiji Ozawa for the Dew Fairy and the Sandman in Hänsel und Gretel in his Ongaku-juku Opera Project throughout Japan and made her debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Papagena in Die Zauberflöte conducted by Leonard Slatkin at the Hollywood Bowl.
The soprano’s concert performances include Mozart’s Requiem and Debussy’s La demoiselle élue with the Utah Symphony, a program of Viennese music by Lehár and Johann Strauss with the Saint Louis Symphony, Carmina Burana with the National Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, and Utah Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under the baton of Gerard Schwarz (to be released on a commercial recording), Grieg’s Peer Gynt with the Oregon Symphony, and Louis Andriessen’s The New Math(s) with the Seattle Chamber Players. With Seattle’s Music of Remembrance, she premiered Lori Laitman’s song cycle I Never Saw Another Butterfly for soprano and clarinet and sang Aninku in Tony Kushner’s adaptation of Hans Krasa’s Brundibár; a recording including both Brundibár and Laitman’s song cycle is available on the Naxos label. She also performed Simon Sargon’s song cycle, Shema, with Music of Remembrance.
A former member of Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program, Maureen McKay was seen as Flora in Britten's The Turn of the Screw and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. As a Filene Young Artist with Wolf Trap Opera Company, McKay was seen in the roles of Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Ismene in Telemann’s Orpheus, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. She earned her Bachelor of Music at Columbus State University in Georgia (summa cum laude) and her Master of Music at The Ohio State University.