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A recording and so much more! Join Melanie for love and lust, madness and mayhem, as she takes on opera's most notorious diva roles.
A recording and so much more! Join Melanie for love and lust, madness and mayhem, as she takes on opera's most notorious diva roles.
177 backers pledged $37,330 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$37,330

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We are a go for launch! 

Rock on, intrepid backers!

YOU can still jump on board! 

Join us at henleyheyn.com/kickstarter

Thanks, everybody! Sing on, sing on.

In the words of Bob Dylan:

the story

I love music and I love theater. Most of all, I love to fuse them together in performances to share with the people I love. Ultimately, 33 divas / vol. 1 is a plan to do just that. 

Help me produce a recording to share with you AND master the diva roles I will sing throughout my opera career!

A diva is a powerful female performer. A diva role is the character she portrays. Each of the 11 diva roles I have chosen for vol. 1 is specifically designed by the composer to draw the listener into a unique emotional world. This is true on the stage and on a recording.

33 divas / vol. 1 is a recording project, but it’s also so much more. It’s an exploration of what it means to be a powerful female performer taking on powerful female roles. It’s a celebration of the human voice and a meditation on the human condition. Come behind the scenes with me to find out what it’s like to learn these opera roles—meet the characters, become intimately familiar with the music, and be transformed along with me by their passion and grace. Or, simply enjoy the fruits of my labor in the recordings, videos, photographs and live concerts that are part of this project. 

The 11 roles that will be the focus of 33 divas / vol. 1 are already nearing completion. Your support will allow me to work with the best of the best to shine the arias until they gleam. Throughout my career I have made many live recordings. This will be the first fully mastered studio album and I am so excited to share it with you!

I'll also be capturing publicity shots of each diva in a photo shoot, resulting in our exclusive 33 divas PIN-UP DIVA CALENDAR. This is going to be so fun, I can't wait! We'll use these images, along with videos to be released monthly, to make a website with detailed information about each diva and opera!

I feel that all of the practicing and performing, all of the vocal lessons and language learning, all of the work I have done over the past 20 years, has led me to this moment. Now I get to use the skills I have acquired, to make the art I love and share it with you and audiences around the world.

Join me and pledge today!!!

Yours truly, Melanie

See me...      hear me...

Fun rewards to the right!!!

Get your Sneak Peak right here:

In the fall, Bear McCreary, film composer extraordinaire, wrote "When I am Dead" for the Calder Quartet, Malachai Bandy and me! Check it out:

AND, direct from our hilltop Launch Party in the Hollywood Hills, here is Sieglinde's first aria, Schläfst du, Gast? (Are you sleeping, guest?).

Sieglinde has just given her evil husband, Hunding, a sleeping draught so that she can "talk" to Siegmund (whom she has the hots for AND who happens to be her twin brother). She tells him the story of how she was captured and how a wise-man (their father and all-powerful god, Wotan) came to leave a sword in the tree for whomever could wrest it free...

Click on the best pledge for you to help launch 33 divas / vol. 1 today!!!

What you are supporting:

I love pie charts.
I love pie charts.

Here are the possibilities, each exciting and challenging!

The minimum I need to accomplish our core objectives is $33,333 (this is actually $30,000 + Kickstarter/credit card fees) and I am ready to rock when we hit the goal! This includes a reduced ORCHESTRA and the finest free (or close to free) hall for recording that I can find. Reduced means that passages from certain instruments are combined for one instrument to play, and certain parts may be left out. We might possibly change a diva due to music still in copyright. We will make sure to have an awesome recording engineer no matter what! 

For an orchestra that has each of the instruments required, although maybe not in the same number as a performance would usually have, I need $40,000. For a stellar concert hall or similar recording space, I need $45,000.

To get the best recording with fine musicians and the original orchestra expected of each piece, I would need $50,000-60,000. My personal connection to these great musicians will make it possible for me to create a professional level recording for less than a major label would spend. For reference, most recordings of this type cost between $125,000-250,000. You can be guaranteed that any amount over our minimum goal will go directly into making the finest recording possible.

So, let's make a great recording! Your support will fund:

  • amazing musicians - to join in making this music shine
  • venue & equipment - to suit an unamplified art form
  • recording engineer - to record and master 33 divas / vol. 1
  • production - of the CD and liner notes

Mastering an opera role requires resources! Your support will fund: 

  • musical coaching - for the different musical styles required for each piece
  • language coaching - for pronunciation and in-depth understanding of the text
  • vocal coaching - for those dramatic high notes, long phrases and quick passages
  • transportation - to the finest coaches and conductors

A picture is worth a thousand words! A website is a must! Your support will fund:

  • photo shoot - for publicity and our PIN-UP DIVA CALENDAR
  • website - with the intimate details of each diva

the rewards

You get to share, too!! Each reward comes with a second copy for a friend. I love this part!

  • 33 divas / vol. 1 - the album, featuring a 3rd of the 33 divas: these 11 ladies in 5 languages are already well on their way to the stage
  • PIN-UP DIVA CALENDAR - 12 months of divas (13, with the SECRET PHOTO!), shot by the inimitable Ross Brinkerhoff
  • Private Diva Concert - in your hometown or in your living room, experience the power of a live performance

the roles

Suor Angelica
Suor Angelica

I'll be revealing these fantastic ladies throughout the campaign, so check back often! If you're thinking, "WHO???" click on that diva!!! 

the music

We've got the best of the best. If you're thinking, "WHO???" click on that composer!!!

the languages

Listed in order of my personal fluency.

  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • English (just kidding, my English is pretty swell!)

the results

  • the recording (yay!)
  • 33 divas ready for the stage at the drop of a hat 
  • rad portraits of yours truly as the goddess, the hero, the vixen
  • buzz in the business
  • a recital tour
  • human connection through music and gratitude                             

What could be better???

Please pick the highest pledge that feels right to you and donate today!

Thanks, everybody!!!

Risks and challenges

To take on a mighty task in front of your entire community is both a risk and an incentive.

It is possible that I will find that one of the new divas doesn't quite fit my voice. In this case, I will chose another from the short list of roles that I love that didn't make the final cut.

While the larger project encompasses all 33 divas, the recording will focus on a core group of roles and arias, which will then be narrowed down to a CD length record. This will be my first large scale recording and I am fortunate to have experienced collaborators to advise me and keep the project on track.

This endeavor contains a lot of moving parts, which have the possibility to overwhelm. Thank goodness there are great artists involved, who know much more than I do about the non-singing portions of this project.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    THE ONE WITH LOVE & A SONG — Endorse 33 divas and help us get featured! In return, you'll receive love, love, love, a song & a kiss in your inbox! You'll also get updates about the project and fun behind-the-scenes videos! Share it with a friend, who will also receive the song!

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    Pledge $21 or more About $21

    THE ONE WITH THE COOL DOWNLOADS — 3 tracks and 3 photos to download for a taste of diva-ness! Share it with a friend, who will also receive the downloads!
    Includes THE ONE WITH LOVE & A SONG

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $33 or more About $33

    THE ONE WITH THE ALBUM! — This is it! The album we've all been waiting for! Available as a download, a real hard-copy CD or both! Share it with a friend, who will also receive the album!
    Includes THE ONE WITH THE COOL DOWNLOADS

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $66 or more About $66

    THE ONE WITH THE CALENDAR — If you need more divas in your life, this is the calendar for you. Each month features yours truly as a new diva, shot by the incomparable Ross Brinkerhoff. Share it with a friend, who will also receive the calendar! Includes THE ONE WITH THE ALBUM

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    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    THE ONE WITH THE SECRET TRACK & THE SECRET PHOTO! — Need I say more. (These will ONLY be available here...) Share it with a friend, who will also receive the secret track & photo!
    Includes THE ONE WITH THE CALENDAR

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $222 or more About $222

    THE ONE WITH YOUR NAME IN THE ALBUM CREDITS — That's right! Your name will be prominently displayed in the album credits for all to see! I'll highlight it on your copy!
    Includes THE ONE WITH THE SECRET TRACK & THE SECRET PHOTO for you + a friend!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $333 or more About $333

    THE IT'S NOT PHYSICAL CLUB — A special category for those of you who wish to support in a big way, and elect to waive physical gifts. You + a friend will still receive all downloads! In fact, this category includes individual track and photo downloads as soon as they are ready! Includes THE ONE WITH YOUR NAME IN THE ALBUM CREDITS.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $555 or more About $555

    THE ONE WITH THE DATE WITH A DIVA — We'll get together and discuss music, poetry and whatever else you like. You write down three things you're dying to know and I'll take it from there! Bring a friend if you like! Best places to find me are Los Angeles, New York, Pennsylvania and Vienna, Austria, or I can come where you are if you cover transportation. If you don't want to wait or prefer not to leave your house, we'll have a drink over Skype!
    Includes THE ONE WITH YOUR NAME IN THE ALBUM CREDITS + a membership in THE IT'S NOT PHYSICAL CLUB or THE ONE WITH THE SECRET TRACK & THE SECRET PHOTO for a friend!

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    Pledge $999 or more About $999

    THE ONE WHERE YOU PICK A DIVA! — One of the divas will belong to you. Your name will be included on the CD & on the calendar and you will receive a special signed edition of the photo of this diva! Delivery dates for the photo will vary for divas not included in the 2016 calendar.
    Includes THE ONE WITH YOUR NAME IN THE ALBUM CREDITS + a membership in THE IT'S NOT PHYSICAL CLUB or THE ONE WITH THE SECRET TRACK & THE SECRET PHOTO for a friend!

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    Reward no longer available 9 backers
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    Pledge $2,222 or more About $2,222

    THE ONE WITH A HOUSE CONCERT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM — I'll come to your house in a sparkly dress and share my music with you. Invite all your friends. Scheduling to correspond with which side of the Atlantic I'm on! Europe and the United States included in the pledge amount. Message me for other continents.
    Includes THE ONE WHERE YOU PICK A DIVA (while divas last) + a membership in THE IT'S NOT PHYSICAL CLUB or THE ONE WITH THE SECRET TRACK & THE SECRET PHOTO for a friend!

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,555 or more About $5,555

    THE ONE WITH THE RECITAL IN YOUR HOMETOWN — We will find a venue with a piano within 90 minutes of your house and arrange a full-blown recital. Invite the whole neighborhood! Scheduling to correspond with which side of the Atlantic I'm on! Europe and the United States included in the pledge amount. Message me for other continents.
    Includes sparkly dress and THE ONE WHERE YOU PICK A DIVA (while divas last) + a membership in THE IT'S NOT PHYSICAL CLUB or THE ONE WITH THE SECRET TRACK & THE SECRET PHOTO for a friend!

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    Pledge $9,999 or more About $9,999

    THE ONE WHERE YOU SPONSOR THE ORCHESTRA — How would you like to have your own orchestra? Well, here at 33 divas / vol. 1, you can! This award covers the approximate cost of the orchestra we'll hire when we reach our minimum goal! Come on by the recording sessions and say hi to your players! Includes THE ONE WHERE YOU PICK A DIVA (while divas last) + a membership in THE IT'S NOT PHYSICAL CLUB or THE ONE WITH THE SECRET TRACK & THE SECRET PHOTO for a friend!

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Funding period

- (27 days)