Internationally acclaimed as that rare voice type, a true dramatic Verdi mezzo, Dolora Zajick has sung the composer's three most famous and difficult roles in that category: Azucena, Amneris and Eboli (in Trovatore, Aida, and Don Carlo, respectively) all over the world with such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago's Lyric, the San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Italy's La Scala, London's Covent Garden, the mammoth Arena of Verona, and many more.
"Ms. Zajick is a dramatic mezzo-soprano with a powerful voice and an enormous range," wrote Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times. He goes on to term her range "exceptional: from a chesty C below middle C to the Queen of the Night's high-soprano F, sung at full voice." In addition to her roles in Verdi operas, which also include Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and Ulrica in Ballo in Maschera, she has sung starring roles as the Princess in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur; the title role in Tchaikovsky's Joan of Arc; Marfa in Moussorgsky's Khovanshchina; Santuzza in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, Dalila in Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila; Adalgisa in Bellini's Norma, and the title role in Massenet's Herodiade.
Although Ms. Zajick has sung starring roles on several recordings of complete operas, most recently in Rusalka with Renee Fleming and Ben Heppner, this is her first solo recording. Most of her major roles will be represented on the disc, which includes "Voi lo sapete," from Cavalleria; "O don fatale," from Don Carlo; "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix," from Samson et Dalila; "Acerba volutta," from Adriana Lecouvreur; and arias from Joan of Arc, Kovanshchina, and Macbeth. But she also displays the versatility of her talent in an aria from Rossini's Semiramide, and in true soprano arias such as "Divinites du Styx," from Gluck's Alceste. She is accompanied by Charles Rosekrans and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Born in Oregon and raised in Nevada, Ms. Zajick received Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Nevada, where she studied with Ted Puffer, the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Nevada Opera. She continued her studies in New York at the Manhattan School of Music. The recipient of the Bronze Medal at the 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition, she went on to make her operatic debut with the San Francisco Opera as Azucena in Trovatore. Ms. Zajick opened the Metropolitan Opera 1999-2000 season as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana. Of her performance, New York Daily News critic Terry Teachout wrote: "Dolora Zajick...was in stupendous form as Santuzza, her low notes slicing through the heavy scoring like a switchblade...all ears were on Zajick."
Performance highlights of the 2000-2001 season focus on the Verdi centenary year, and will find Mz. Zajick singing Trovatore in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera as well as in Monte Carlo and at the Arena of Verona. She will sing Don Carlo at Munich's Bayerische Staatsoper, at the Vienna State Opera, and at the Bastille in Paris; and Aida at the Liceo in Barcelona, the Communale in Bologna, the Orange Festival, and the Arena of Verona. On the actual centenary day—January 27, 2001—she will sing the Verdi Requiem with Zubin Mehta in Munich.