Praised by audiences and the press for her “clear, burnished voice” (Tacoma News Tribune) and “attractively expressive mezzo” (Crosscut Seattle), Melissa Plagemann is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most active performers. She performs frequently with the finest musical organizations in the area, and enjoys a diverse schedule on concert and opera stages alike.
Recent opera performances include the premiere of John Estacio’s Frobisher (Banff Summer Arts Festival), Carmen (title role – Seattle Symphony) Madama Butterfly (Suzuki – Vashon Opera), Le Comte Ory (Isolier – Tacoma Opera), La Traviata (Flora – Skagit Opera), and Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira – Northwest Puppet Center). In concert, Ms. Plagemann has recently appeared with the Seattle Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Bellevue Philharmonic, Orchestra Seattle, Auburn Symphony, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, among others.
Ms. Plagemann is gaining attention and critical acclaim for her interpretations of Baroque music, and has performed as a soloist in several masterpieces of J.S. Bach, including both Passions, the Christmas and Easter Oratorios, Mass in B Minor, and Magnificat in D, as well as several of his Cantatas. Baroque opera roles include Sesto (Handel’s Giulio Cesare), Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Aurora in Landi’s Orfeo, and Penelope in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse. Of a recent portrayal of Alcina in Francesca Caccini’s La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted that she “traversed the ornate roulades of Baroque vocal style with ease and aplomb.” She was also seen as Damigella in the Seattle Early Music Guild’s acclaimed production of Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea. Handel’s Messiah is a particular favorite, with the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, the Auburn Symphony, the Bellevue Philharmonic, Tacoma Symphony, Orchestra Seattle, and the Skagit Opera Orchestra. She has been a soloist in the annual Town Hall Bach Marathon in Seattle, singing Bach’s Cantata #18 and J.C. Bach’s Lament (Ach, dab ich Wassers gnug). Other Baroque oratorio repertoire includes Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat.
A sought-after performer of art song and chamber music, Ms. Plagemann also has a special interest in new music. She worked with Grammy-winning composer-in-residence Osvaldo Golijov at the Banff Centre in Canada, performing several of his chamber works, and has appeared with several ensembles dedicated to performing the works of living composers, including Sonic Lab, Seattle Chamber Players, Affinity Chamber Players, 16 Visions/Fisher Ensemble, the Esoterics vocal ensemble, and the Seattle New Music Ensemble. She has been presented in recitals and chamber music concerts by the University of Victoria (guest artist), the Second City Chamber Series, Sherman Clay pianos, Pacific Lutheran University (artist series), the Annas Bay Music Festival, and the Ladies’ Musical Club of Seattle, among others.
Awards for Ms. Plagemann include first prizes in the competitions of the Ladies’ Musical Club, the Seattle Musical Art Society and the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and 3rd prize in the Sun Valley Opera Competition. She holds degrees in music cum laude from the University of Victoria, Canada, and Indiana University in Bloomington, and has served on the faculties of Pacific Lutheran University, Academy of Music Northwest, and Burton Music Camp, in addition to maintaining an active private studio.