Hear the Highest Note Sung in the 137-Year History of the Metropolitan Opera

You may have heard an A above high C the last time you acci­den­tal­ly stepped on your cat’s tail, but it takes a com­bi­na­tion of rig­or­ous train­ing, genet­ic luck, and sheer grit for a human to pro­duce this note on cue.

Accord­ing to all known records, the col­oratu­ra sopra­no, Audrey Luna, is the first such being in the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera’s 137-year his­to­ry to do so on its stage, an achieve­ment that has all the opera dogs bark­ing. Hear it in the NPR clip below.

Some purists view the rare note as a dis­taste­ful stunt on the part of com­pos­er Thomas Adès. The score of his new opera, The Exter­mi­nat­ing Angel, based on the Luis Buñuel film, also calls for minia­ture 1/32-size vio­lins, a pair of rocks, a wood­en sal­ad bowl, a door, and an ondes Martenot—an elec­tron­ic instru­ment from 1928.

Oth­ers are bedaz­zled by Luna’s his­to­ry-mak­ing pipes. She makes her entrance on that high A, and hits it again short­ly there­after, as Leti­cia, a diva who rolls up to a din­ner par­ty fol­low­ing a per­for­mance of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lam­mer­moor. (The title role of that one—a part Luna has played, natch—is anoth­er that demands stratos­pher­ic notes of its per­form­ers, set­ting records at opera hous­es around the world.)

See below for more of Luna’s dizzy­ing highs, includ­ing her some­what NSFW per­for­mance as Olympia, the mechan­i­cal doll in Offenbach’s Les Con­tes d’Hoffmann

If you’re mad enough to try it your­self, please let us know how high you get in the com­ments below.

via NYTimes

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Enchant­i­ng Opera Per­for­mances of Klaus Nomi

How to Sing Two Notes At Once (aka Poly­phon­ic Over­tone Singing): Lessons from Singer Anna-Maria Hefele

Alan Tur­ing Gets Chan­neled in a New Opera: Hear Audio from The Life And Death(S) Of Alan Tur­ing

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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Comments (3)
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  • Alejandro Szwarc says:

    Es extra­or­di­nar­ia!!!
    Me con­movió mucho.

  • MOV says:

    His­toric high note? Seri­ous­ly, at first I thought it was a joke. As I lis­tened, it sound­ed awful. How could that count as singing a record break­ing note? Miss Luna is a great singer, but “the note” that hit the news is sim­ply ridicu­lous and I can’t com­pre­hend why it is note­wor­thy. A poor exam­ple for poten­tial opera fans; that arti­cle could’ve been their first encounter with opera. I guess the writ­ers could­n’t find any­thing else to “rage” about.

  • Vivien Mitchell says:

    In con­text it sound­ed rather won­der­ful to me!

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