Welcome to Heidi Melton – Blog: in my own words – The San Francisco RING

I am a Wagner Geek. I admit this. Freely. I relish any chance that I have to sing his music and completely geek out in most rehearsals. Anyone who knows me, or has read any of my previous blog entries understands just how much San Francisco Opera means to me. So, it goes without saying that singing the Third Norn and my first ever complete Sieglinde in this new production of the Ring Cycle at San Francisco Opera, all under the baton of Maestro Runnicles, is about the best possible thing that this girl could wish for.

I am pinching myself on a daily basis.


We began rehearsals for the Ring the second week of April and spent a lot of time figuring out the twists and turns of the Norn scene. The Norns open Götterdämmerung and provide a unique take on the events of the opera. Want more Norn-info? Click here! An often overlooked scene, we spent quite a bit of time and energy on it; changing it from something that can often read as “previously, in the Ring Cycle” to something vital and important. We had to do all of this, however, behind a scrim, on a rake, with less than three feet of space, climbing on a pile of rubble, wearing dark goggles (that easily fog), in blinding sidelight. Who says opera singers just park and bark? It has been a challenge, but an extremely rewarding one.

Then we began work on Walküre. I don’t even know how to begin to describe my experience with this. This music is so big. This story is so big. This character is so big. It is such an honor and a challenge to be able to sing this role, and I count myself fortunate each and every day to be able to do so.

Kneeling next to Siegmund (Photo by Kristen Loken Anstey)

Then there is Brandon Jovanovich. Of course I could go on about how handsome and talented he is (and he is), but what is more incredible is that he is an amazing person and colleague and I feel blessed to be able to sing my first Sieglinde alongside his first Siegmund. It is a special thing to share a rehearsal process with someone who is also doing a role for the first time. The relationship between Siegmund and Sieglinde is so complex and can easily teeter on the line between immensely sensual to downright unpalatable. An inordinate amount of care has to go into shaping it. Fortunately, Brandon and I are lucky enough to have no previously ingrained notions or stagings to work around, and we’ve been awarded the luxury of time and a long rehearsal process. This process, thankfully, has been nothing but a complete and total joy.


I have fallen in love with this production. It is dirty, sexy, vulnerable, physical and above all real. I have never been so challenged in a show – having to traverse the path of an abused wife, optimistic lover, ferocious fighter, suicidal widow and ultimately to a mother fighting for her son is an immense emotional journey to undertake. Not to mention that I’ve never before been chased around stage by 8 men, had my hair pulled, been thrown to the ground and had a knife held at my throat. No one could ever accuse this production of being the least bit boring. And that is how Wagner is to me. Full of life, love and an incredible energy which penetrates every moment of the show.

Struggling with Supernumeraries (Photo by Kristen Loken Anstey)

So I sit here tonight, having completed the first stage orchestra rehearsal for Götterdämmerung today and counting down the days until Sunday’s premiere. (And most certainly counting the days until my June 29th performance of Sieglinde.) and I’m just so thankful to be a part of this production. At this house. With this cast. This orchestra. And this Maestro. I’m so thankful, humbled, and so very honored.


much love,

— heidi