Mezzo-soprano Melissa Plagemann premieres two song cycles for voice and piano: The Burning Harp, by Forrest Pierce, is set to poetry by Rumi, and a cycle by Seattle composer Sheila Bristow, exploring dance and movement in poetry.
Praised for her “clear, burnished voice” and “mezzo rich with an alto’s strength and a soprano’s shining top edge” (Tacoma News Tribune), Melissa Plagemann’s busy performing schedule spans the stages of opera, oratorio, chamber music, and ensemble performances. The 2016-17 season sees her return to Seattle Opera for performances of Janacek’s Katya Kabanova (Zena), and to the Tacoma Symphony for performances of Handel’s Messiah. She also sings the role of Una in Sterling Tinsley’s children’s opera St. George and the Dragon, a recital of American song with the Regency Voices of Pacific Lutheran University, performances of Nutcracker and West Side Story for Pacific Northwest Ballet, and previews of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (witch). Melissa teaches on the faculties of Pacific Lutheran and Western Washington Universities.
Sheila Bristow is a church musician, accompanist, and composer living in Tacoma. She is the Organist & Choirmaster at Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, an Affiliate Artist at Pacific Lutheran University, and a freelance opera rehearsal pianist. She holds degrees in music composition from Cornish College of the Arts, where she studied with Bern Herbolsheimer as a Kreielsheimer Scholar, and the University of Washington, where she served as a graduate student accompanist while earning her MM in organ performance. She is currently studying composition with John Muehleisen. Sheila finds her primary compositional inspiration in poetic texts. Her choral works have been performed by the Cascadian Chorale, The Medieval Women’s Choir, Pacific Lutheran University’s Choral Union & University Singers, Pacifica Children’s Chorus, Seattle Pro Musica, and the University Unitarian Church choir. Sheila’s art songs have been featured in concerts sponsored by Pacific Lutheran University, Vancouver International Song Institute, and the Washington Composer’s Forum.