In The News
Critical acclaim for Elise as Sister Helen in Dead Man Walking!
"Composer Jake Heggie has made the pivotal role of Sister Helen Prejean a huge 'sing.' It ranges from simple, floated folk tunes, to urgent conversational exchanges, to pointed wisecracks, to punishing emotional outbursts, to stinging dramatic force required at both extremes of the range. Librettist Terence McNally has compounded the challenge by scripting a torturous emotional journey that requires elements of extreme restraint, steady growth to understanding, and utter abandon to a raw transformation and spiritual bonding. In Elise Quagliata, the creators may have found their most powerful Helen yet.
Her luminous voice made every moment count, with a powerful, tireless mezzo displaying a rich, amiable tone of unbelievable stamina. Ms. Quagliata could hurl out climax after climax, one topping the other for searing intensity, then just as easily she could turn on a dime and scale back to a haunting whisper. The palette of vocal color Elise brought to the drama was staggering, from the sunlit joy of the opening scene to the final unaccompanied lines, mere wisps laced with unconditional love after Joe's execution. This was great vocalism with limp, effortless delivery that was always deployed in committed service to the character. Truly memorable." - James Sohre
"As Sister Helen, the New York mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata is forthright, a can-do gal in a plain skirt suit and sensible shoes. But her heartfelt singing reveals much deeper qualities within – vulnerability, fear, guilt and almost dizzying bouts of doubt." - Michael Morain
Published: August 12, 2014
Elise reprises her protrayal of Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking with Des Moines Metro Opera. Based on the extraordinary book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking is the first opera from the 21st century to be presented at DMMO. From its shocking beginning to its emotionally searing final scene, this opera changes everyone who encounters it. Its stunning score and intense story combine into a work that "must be reckoned something of a masterpiece – a gripping, enormously skillful marriage of words and music to tell a story of love, suffering and spiritual redemption." - San Francisco Chronicle
Listen to an interview with Sister Helen Prejean and Jake Heggie with excerpts from the opera on Iowa Public RadioSister Helen says that this opera allows an audience the rare opportunity to get close to the issues surrounding capital punishment. "Music has a way of bringing us to places in our heart we don't even know we have. And it's done masterfully. I couldn't ask for it to be done better than it's being done." - Sister Helen Prejean
Published: June 28, 2014
Elise joins Maestro Fabio Machetti in his farewell appearance as Music Director with the Jacksonville Symphony featuring Mahler's colossal Third Symphony, a tour-de-force for orchestra and voice. Not only is Symphony No. 3 Mahler's longest piece, it is the longest symphony in the standard repertoire, lasting slightly over 90 minutes.
Watch the promotional video for Jacksonville Symphony's performances of Mahler's Third Symphony
Jacksonville Symphony, FL
Published: May 14, 2013
Verdi Requiem Sister Helen - Dead Man Walking Mahler Third Symphony Sister Helen - Dead Man Walking Opera & Ella: duets, arias, and song Available for Download
February 27, 28
March 1, 2014
April 27, 2014
May 16 & 17, 2014
June 28, July 6, 8, 11 & 19, 2014
Des Moines Metro Opera
July 26, 2014
Beacon Hill Concerts
Elise sings in Henry Cowell's Atlantis recorded with the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein.
Sister Helen - Dead Man Walking
Mahler Third Symphony
Sister Helen - Dead Man Walking
Opera & Ella: duets, arias, and song
Available for Download