"When I hear the conventional high C of a soprano, I want to say, 'Show us what else you've got,'" says a British composer whose new opera is currently being performed at the Metropolitan Opera. Soprano Audrey Luna did just that. The New York Times reports she is the only singer on record in the Met's 137-year history to hit the A above high C, something she does twice during Thomas Adès' The Exterminating Angel, the story of a high-society dinner party whose guests are oddly unable to leave. The Times calls hitting the note "a combination of genetic gifts, rigorous training and psychological discipline over two fragile vocal cords."
Luna—a Grammy winner, notes the Sacramento Bee—has sung a high G previously at the Met. She was recruited by Adès for the part, says she's practiced as high as the C above high C, so she felt confident she was capable of hitting the note. And she has to hit it in a somewhat incredible way: It's the very first note she sings, as she's coming on stage; she sings it once more shortly after. "It's a moment of arrival," says Adès. "It had to be on this note." New York Classical Review offered its take on Luna's performance, writing she "blazed high." Head to the Times to hear audio of the note. (Read more opera stories.)