The Raven, Toshio Hosokawa, LA International New Music Festival
"The second half was the West Coast premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's monodrama "The Raven," with an ensemble of local players conducted by Southwest's music director, Jeff von der Schmidt and featuring a versatile, impressive young mezzo-soprano, Laura Mercado-Wright. ... Mercado-Wright, brought a dark luster and good enunciation." – Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
CHARLES WUORINEN’S CANTANTA, IT HAPPENS LIKE THIS, THE MET, NEW YORK NY, MARCH 8, 2015
"[T]he final piece, Charles Wuorinen’s It Happens Like This, was so substantial. And fabulous.
This is another vocal piece, for the ensemble of soprano Sharon Harms, mezzo Laura Mercado-Wright, tenor Steven Brennfleck, and bass-baritone Douglas Williams. Wuorinen sets seven of James Tate’s deadpan absurd prose poems. The music is mostly atonal, though there is the occasional tonal chord or cadence, but the main point is that it serves as a backdrop for singing and reciting that is so characterful and charismatic—especially with these singers—that the piece is almost a modernist chamber opera.
This is Wuorinen as entertainer, and when he wants to entertain he’s formidable. The music gives full support to the dreamlike text, full of mordant humor and the barely suppressed feeling of unnameable menace. Like a dream, the piece keeps one off balance, and has the excitement of feeling a little subversive and even dangerous, like the love child of Carl Stalling and Del Close. Charles Wuorinen, ladies and gentlemen, America’s last beatnik composer."
– George Grella, New York Classical Review
"Mr. Wuorinen, 76, took charge. With charming, acerbic singing and flamboyant acting from Sharon Harms, Laura Mercado-Wright, Steven Brennfleck and Douglas Williams, the performance made a delicious success of hilariously knowing texts by James Tate."
– David Allen, New York Times
"For the final work on the program, Mr. Levine yielded the podium to composer Charles Wuorinen, whose It Happens Like This is a setting of seven bizarre, verbose poems by James Tate for four singers plus chamber orchestra. Soprano Sharon Harms, mezzo Laura Mercado-Wright, tenor Steven Brennfleck and bass-baritone Douglas Williams essayed these absurdist texts, telling tales of a jumpy gun-toting neighbor, a turkey visiting the narrator's living room, and of a dinner guest who becomes a necessary human sacrifice.
"Mr. Wuorinen seemed at ease conducting his own music. The spare accompaniment framed a mix of spoken word and song, with the dance meter of dinner-poem forming a sort of Scherzo and the elegaic account of a reincarnated dog recalling church modes. The final song of the turkey was a humorous ending to a fascinating concert, closing in an unexpected quiet coda and ending this concert on a surprising and transcendent note."
– Paul J. Pelkonen, Superconductor
VOCES INTIMAE RECITAL, DALLAS TX, JANUARY 11, 2015
"Mercado-Wright gave [Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben] a warm and touching rendition. [She also] gave an intriguing performance of two of Lembit Beecher’s “Three Immigrant Songs.” He is a young composer who focuses on vocal writing and dramatic works for groups such as Cantori New York, Gotham Chamber Opera and Opera Philadelphia to name a few. These songs were marvelous, especially in Mercado-Wright’s able hands, making the audience wanting to hear more by the composer."
– Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, theaterjones.com
CHARLES WUORINEN’S CANTANTA, IT HAPPENS LIKE THIS, THE GUGGENHEIM, NEW YORK NY, JANUARY 22, 2012
“The four performers — Sharon Harms, a soprano; Laura Mercado-Wright, a mezzo-soprano; Steven Brennfleck, a tenor; and Douglas Williams, a bass-baritone — took on various roles and were superb singers and charismatic actors. Ken Rus Schmoll’s witty semi-staging, which incorporated animal props, kept the pace moving throughout the surreal and poignant narratives. ”
– Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times
FOUR SAINTS IN THREE ACTS, PERFORMED WITH THE MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP, BROOKLYN NY, MARCH 2, 2012
“What added significantly to the excitement of Thursday evening was the musical performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group Music Ensemble and the Trinity Choir. Laura Mercado-Wright’s voice blossomed most beautifully in the garden of green singers. Mercado-Wright sang St. Teresa II in Four Saints, and her distinct timbre managed to distinguish her among an impressive group of fresh-faced soloists and two small choirs.”
– Stephen Raskauskas, bachtrack.com
LUCIANO BERIO’S CIRCLES, PERFORMED WITH VOICES OF CHANGE IN DALLAS TX, MARCH 11, 2012
“One of the most valuable services that Voices of Change offers to the Metroplex arts community is the presentation of landmark musical compositions that have shaped the musical life of our time. On Sunday, VOC brought us a performance of just such a work: “Circles,” Luciano Berio’s 1960 work for mezzo-soprano, harp and percussion. Mezzo-soprano Laura Mercado-Wright gave an elegant reading of the complex and practically incomprehensible vocal part…this was a virtuoso performance that was riveting from beginning to end. ”
– Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, theaterjones.com
Luciano Berio’s Circles, performed at the Tanglewood Music Festival, August 15, 2010
“And on Sunday Laura Mercado-Wright, a mezzo-soprano, gave a stunningly agile account of Berio’s “Circles,” in which she occasionally played percussion (and provided gestural cues) as well.”
– Allan Kozzin, The New York Times
“Mezzo-soprano Laura Mercado-Wright was phenomenal, the technical and theatrical demands met with a shimmering tone.”
– Matthew Guerrieri, The Boston Globe
“Sunday morning, August 15, 2010, 10:00 a.m.—my, that time came early! But not for Laura Mercado-Wright, the mezzo-soprano soloist in Luciano Berio’s Circles (1960), which was the centerpiece of this fourth concert in the Tanglewood Music Center’s Festival of Contemporary Music. The texts, based on poetry by e. e. cummings, were supposed to have been distributed but weren’t, which is a shame. Nevertheless we did have the excellent program notes by Robert Kirzinger to explain their use, a gradual deconstruction from understandable linguistic meaning to phonemes and sheer vocal effects. Written for a mezzo-soprano of wide range and extraordinary capabilities (Berio’s wife, Cathy Berberian, with whose voice Mercado-Wright’s could be compared with favor), two percussion players, and harp, this too is an early “Classic” work of the period still in the repertory, though performed infrequently. Mercado-Wright may safely call this “her own” now with her masterful performance and the perfect voice for it: rich but not fat; a low range that speaks, and a high one that is graceful; and perfect diction for projecting words or sounds. The exacting percussionists Zachary Crystal and Kyle Brightwell, as well as harpist Michael Maganuco earned kudos as well.”
– Mary Wallace Davidson, Boston Musical Intelligencer
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