Photo by Eric Woolsey // OTSL // Carmen 2022
Sarah Mesko 1 by Dario Acosta
Dallas Morning News
"Confidence is sexy. That was the message of OTSL’s new Carmen ... embodied by Sarah Mesko’s lusciously sung, appealingly outgoing performance in the title role ... Escamillo matched Mesko’s magnetism and intensity....."
"Vocally and interpretively, Sarah Mesko’s Carmen could not be more alluring. Leaving behind the clichés of Carmen portrayal, Mesko presents a Carmen whose most attractive quality is her strong sense of self. Her decisions are relatable and even admirable."
"Sarah Mesko’s accomplished mezzo-soprano richly presents the famous aria “Habanera,” which ... sets the tone for the production. Mesko also shows the haughty, rebellious nature of the title character and her lusty approach to sundry lovers...."
"...Initially seen dragging a bloody bull’s head across the stage ... a headstrong, independent Carmen .... She even rides through some scenes on a motorcycle, like a sort of Daughter of Anarchy. In other scenes, she sports a matador jacket, a visual metaphor for a woman who – ultimately fatally – runs and fights with men rather than the bulls."
"Sarah Mesko plays Carmen and blesses the role with her lovely powerful voice, wonderful diction, and a strong, large-featured beauty.... The two combative duets -- José vs. Escamillo and José vs. Carmen -- are stunning. Both are powerfully mano a mano."
"Mezzo Sarah Mesko is a Carmen with attitude to spare. Decked out in biker-chic leather (and with a bike to match), Mesko’s Carmen is one tough cookie ... a skilled actress with a big, silky-smooth voice that’s ideal for the role ... a strong, free woman rather than as the morally depraved strumpet Bizet’s librettists had in mind. Because this is not an old school 'Carmen.'"
"Unlike previous versions of Carmen staged by OTSL, this one is a more contemporary celebration of one woman’s intoxicating spirit and raw sexuality.... Presented here as a motorcycle mama with a “take no prisoners” outlook, Carmen is a force of nature.... Watching Sarah Mesko’s Carmen tear down the system at every turn is a sheer delight. Her powerful performance anchors an entirely fresh production, giving it polish, sparkle, and plenty of sass."
"...an exciting mezzo gifted with a generous tone marked by warmth and richness in its middle and lower parts and a silvery sheen as it climbs upward. Mesko delivered the goods in her taunting and seductive Habanera and Seguidilla, but most impressive was her effectively stoic take on the tarot-reading scene.... Mesko’s approach was measured and extraordinarily sophisticated."
"Melodic lines are beautifully shaped here by Mesko ... a fluid vocal line that floats across the music."
"Sarah Mesko's plush, dusky mezzo communicated Ottavia's despair with depth and grace."
"Sarah Mesko ... thrills with bitterness and vengeance."
"Sarah Mesko displayed a fine technique and beautiful mezzo-soprano voice as Ottavia, as well as some imperial attitude."
"Mesko as Ottavia was no wet dishrag.... Ottavia is outnumbered and outgunned, but Mesko’s performance garnered audience sympathy and support for her Sisyphean efforts to save her marriage, status and self."
"...as Ottavia, Nerone’s repudiated Empress, mezzo Sarah Mesko sang through her teeth in barely repressed fury...."
"Sarah Mesko brought a voluptuous mezzo as Mercédès...."
"Sarah Mesko was wonderful as the discarded empress Ottavia. Her mezzo is rich and powerful, and her two arias were among the high points of the evening."
"Sarah Mesko made an endearing Ines, warm and tender with her dark-hued mezzo."
"The powerhouse mezzo, Sarah Mesko, inhabited this role. Her voice has a rich velvet sheen, and yet still it has the flexibility to roll out the coloratura lines.... [T]he real test of the mezzo’s vocal ability is the “mad scene,” “Where shall I fly” ... [performed] with histrionic and vocal fire."
"We soon met three women, dressed like laborers, who were, in fact, the three Fates, spinning the thread of life and deliberating Dido's future: the sweet soprano Anna Christy ... the rich mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko ... and the amazing Ms. Clark ...."
"...Sarah Mesko had a satisfyingly dark, round mezzo in her roles as the Second Woman and the Second Witch."
"Mesko also sports a lovely and flexible instrument, tossing off Rossini’s “Una voce poco fa” ... without any strain and enlivening several ensembles with impish personality."
"The mezzo, Sarah Mesko, is the real thing, with a voice that is dark yet focused. As she later demonstrated, she too has the flexibility to surmount the most challenging virtuoso passage work with ease."
"Mezzo Sarah Mesko, as the vengeful widow Emilia, provoked excitement through the contrast between her smoky lower register and her flashing top."
"Sarah Mesko proved a strong villainess in the role of Emilia, particularly at the close of the Act II aria 'Come invano il mare irato.'"
"The gifted mezzo Sarah Mesko justly won the $10,000 ... prize with her impeccably polished Seguidilla from Carmen and La Clemenza di Tito’s 'Deh, per questo.'"
"Mezzo Sarah Mesko ... offered a moving performance of Didon’s death scene from Les Troyens. Earlier in the week, she had performed the aria at the preliminaries, where I noticed that the judges weren’t scribbling at all; they were just listening."
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