Bios (99/10/31)

‘Adrenaline Diva’ Gives Heavenly Feast on Halloween

Lauren Flanigan in Robert Beaser's Food of Love. Photo courtesy of New York City Opera.Soprano Lauren Flanigan

She’s sung the roles of Lady Macbeth, Queen Elizabeth and Lizzie Borden’s stepmother. The New York Times has compared her to Maria Callas. New York Newsday called her “an adrenaline diva.” New York trumpeted her role last spring as Christine in Richard Strauss’s Intermezzo at New York City Opera as “the operatic performance of the season.”

She is commanding soprano Lauren Flanigan, who made headlines during the Metropolitan Opera’s 1992-93 season by substituting for an ill Aprile Millo in Verdi’s I Lombardi with no stage rehearsal and opposite Luciano Pavarotti, going on to repeat the performance six more times, one of which was televised.

Flanigan will sing Robert Beaser’s The Heavenly Feast at the American Composers Orchestra’s Carnegie Hall concert “Protest” on October 31. She sang Beaser’s The Food of Love (one-third of trilogy Central Park) at Glimmerglass Opera to rave reviews this past summer, a role that she will reprise this fall at New York City Opera.

A champion of contemporary works with a schedule still plenty full of Verdi and Mozart, San Francisco native Flanigan dominates the stage in any role she tackles: Christine in Marvin David Levy’s Mourning Becomes Electra with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw for Seattle and Glimmerglass Operas, The Bride in Judith Wier’s The Vanishing Bridegroom at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the title role of the City Opera world premiere of Hugo Weisgall’s Esther.

Lauren FlaniganMaking her debut at the San Francisco Opera, Flanigan began her relationship with City Opera in 1991, following in the next year with a Metropolitan Opera debut in the world premiere of John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles. In 1996, she debuted at Milan’s La Scala as Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco.

“Anyone who shares a stage with Flanigan runs the risk of seeming insubstantial,” said Newsday‘s Justin Davidson after her Intermezzo performance. “The show belongs to Flanigan,” trumpeted Shirley Fleming in Opera Review. We agree.