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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