This February’s Music and Masterpieces event features mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko in recital at the Dallas Museum of Art in conjunction with their Shaken, Stirred, Styled: The Art of the Cocktail exhibition. Sarah touches down in Dallas following a role debut as Carmen at Washington National Opera in the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist performance and her work with the Metropolitan Opera’s Rising Stars concert tour across the U.S. We caught up with Sarah in anticipation of the recital on February 11th to talk about great opera and great cocktails:
Welcome back to Dallas! How has life been for you since the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition in 2015?
It is so great to be back in Dallas! Life has truly been fantastic. After the Vocal Competition in 2015, I made my Glimmerglass Opera debut in Vivaldi’s Cato in Utica, my role debut as Carmen with Washington National Opera, and my Metropolitan Opera debut as the Second Lady in The Magic Flute!
What other projects do you have on the horizon for 2017?
I have a lot of great projects coming up in 2017. In March I’ll be giving a duo recital with Paul Appleby at the Morgan Library, sponsored by the George London Foundation. Then I get to join the Mercury Orchestra in Houston for a Mozart Requiem before heading off to Oregon in July to sing Dejanira in Handel’s Hercules at the Oregon Bach Festival. Then it’s back to the Met this fall!
Is there a favorite role—whether it be beloved or particularly challenging—in your upcoming engagements?
I’m particularly looking forward to my recital with Paul this March in New York. I really love giving recitals; it’s about the most personal thing I do, artistically. It’s the way I can connect most directly with an audience, by choosing a program according to their space, their city, or the season we find ourselves in. I’m excited that Paul and I will be creating a shared vision that will last one afternoon, and then it will be gone. That is the ecstasy of live music!
This Music and Masterpieces event features a selection of songs with a “libations” theme followed by the opportunity to enjoy the Dallas Museum of Art’s exhibit Shaken, Stirred, Styled: The Art of the Cocktail. Can you talk about how the songs connect with the cocktail theme?
When I saw this exhibit on the DMA’s website, I immediately thought of the old standard “You go to my head,” which has been a favorite of mine since high school. From there, I started thinking of songs and arias that have to do with love and drinking, and Strauss’s “Heimliche Aufforderung” came to mind – the “secret invitation” being the lifting of a glass a wine. And the rest followed!
Do you feel a strong connection to one role in particular featured in the selection lineup?
I feel particularly strong about my set featuring the night sky. For me, love’s intoxication began when I was a young teenager looking up at the moon and stars, walking barefoot down the street at night in my neighborhood, completely in awe of the universe. That sense of awe was reawakened when I first heard Samuel Barber’s “Sure on this shining night” my freshman year in college. To me it is still the epitome of what an art song should be – so beautiful that it made me “weep with wonder” – and this will be the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity to sing it in public, after holding it close all these years.
Finally, the most important cocktail-related question of all: which cocktail is your favorite?
I love margaritas! I came home from Guadalajara this summer having had the best margaritas of my life, so I went out and bought a cocktail shaker (that’s right, I didn’t have one!) so I could make my own. I love the fancy margaritas in restaurants, but when I’m at home, I make a simple 3-2-1: three parts reposado tequila, two parts Grand Marnier, 1 part lime juice. To be enjoyed slowly, if you want to wake up the next morning!
Doors open for Music and Masterpieces at the Dallas Museum of Art at 1:30 pm on February 11th. The event is FREE with RSVP; seating is general admission. Go to http://dallasopera.org/events/ to learn more and RSVP today. We’ll see you there!