Alison Hagley: My Favorite Susanna

Although the Marriage of Figaro premiered on May 1, 1786 with Nancy Storace as Susanna, Mozart and da Ponte obviously had Alison Hagley in mind for the role of Susanna. Here you can see her roll out from under the Countess’s bed to her sing her breathless duet with Cherubino “Aprite, presto, aprite” in a 1996 performance from Glyndebourne:

I also enjoyed her performance with John Eliot Gardiner conducting on a 1993 DVD with Bryn Terfel and Rodney Gilfry.

Hagley is not well represented on the web, but someone is developing a fan site here.

Hagley also appeared as Melisande in Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande which is also on DVD.

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41 Responses to “Alison Hagley: My Favorite Susanna”

  1. Kim Says:

    I agree! Alison Hagley is the best Susanna EVER. Is she singing anymore? I can’t seem to find any information about her at all. It’s like she fell off the face of the operatic earth.

    That Glyndebourne production is DEFINITELY worth having.

  2. Angela Says:

    She’s my cousin. Has 2 young kids so lots to do other than singing.

    • Michael Sammut Says:

      Dear Angela, I’d very much appreciate it if you could transmit my August 14, 2009 message in the Klogger website. Thank you.

    • Michael Sammut Says:

      Dear Angela, please say hello to your cousin, Ms. Hagley, on my behalf, and transmit the following small note to her. I live in New York and hope she will some time perform at the MET so that I and my family can attend. Regards Michael Sammut

      “It is my earnest hope Ms. Hagley will have an opportunity to read this small tribute.
      First and last the tribute must be directed to the Shakespeare of Music, the divine genius of musical ideas who wrote Figaro. Then given this miracle of an Opera, let’s place some top performers into it, with a capable orchestra; and you get a strong performance.

      And then comes Ms. Hagley as Susanna in the Glyndborne production, some 17 or so years ago. Without any particular effort, simply via her glorious presence, she rises into the sky, well above any other performer in bringing Mozart’s divine musical messages to earth, to us lowly mortals.

      There is no doubt in my mind that if we could be blessed with Mozart’s reincarnation, that he would regard Alison well above all other Opera performers. After the Figaro performance, when she came out for the curtain call with Mr. Finley, I have no doubt that Mozart would have jumped from the orchestra pit and embraced her with a loving kiss on the cheek, while she thanked the audience with that massive smile and deep gratitude.

      I have that same gratitude inside of me for having the opportunity, via my DVD, to see and hear Ms. Hagley in that grand performance. And I hope she may soon be able to return to us to brighten and elucidate our lives with more Mozart.”

  3. Mike Stripe Says:

    Well I do wish we knew how she is and what she is really doing. The Glynebourne performance of Figaro was one of the very finest ever seen. And Alison Hagley eclipsed all but Gerald Finley only becasue the two were equal atoms. Oh to hear Deh vieni, non tardar sung as sublimely as then.

  4. Christiane Says:

    A Alison precisa ser falada no wikipedia. Ela é amelror Susanna que eu já ouivi, sem sombra de dúvida!!

  5. Daniel Liao Says:

    I like her,too.

  6. Daniel Liao Says:

    Hello, Angela
    If you could, please tell her, in the East ,from Taiwan, there are some people like her performance in Le Nozze di Figaro that she acts Susanna is the best!

    Hope she happiness in her life^_^

  7. Jos Vos Says:

    I just discovered Alison Hagley’s singing through John Eliot Gardiner’s FIGARO DVD, and and I enjoyed it very much!

  8. Sean Y. Xue Says:

    She’s the best Susanna EVER!!

  9. John Says:

    Both her Susannas on DVD (Haitink and Gardiner) are brilliant!

  10. Michael Sammut Says:

    It is my earnest hope Ms. Hagley will have an opportunity to read this small tribute.
    First and last the tribute must be directed to the Shakespeare of Music, the divine genius of musical ideas who wrote Figaro. Then given this miracle of an Opera, let’s place some top performers into it, with a capable orchestra; and you get a strong performance.

    And then comes Ms. Hagley as Susanna in the Glyndborne production, some 17 or so years ago. Without any particular effort, simply via her glorious presence, she rises into the sky, well above any other performer in bringing Mozart’s divine musical messages to earth, to us lowly mortals.

    There is no doubt in my mind that if we could be blessed with Mozart’s reincarnation, that he would regard Alison well above all other Opera performers. After the Figaro performance, when she came out for the curtain call with Mr. Finley, I have no doubt that Mozart would have jumped from the orchestra pit and embraced her with a loving kiss on the cheek, while she thanked the audience with that massive smile and deep gratitude.

    I have that same gratitude inside of me for having the opportunity, via my DVD, to see and hear Ms. Hagley in that grand performance. And I hope she may soon be able to return to us to brighten and elucidate our lives with more Mozart.

  11. Márcio Rinter Says:

    Alison Hagley is able to sing perfectly and be in the character with such a harmony and charisma that very few artists are.

  12. m0zart Says:

    I love both DVDs of the Figaro productions, one with modern and one with period instruments, and Alison Hagley is the highlight of both productions. She is absolutely my favorite Susanna on the face of the earth.

    But I equally enjoyed her performance in Pelleas et Melisande. The Debussy material is so non-structured, yet Alison Hagley really shines in the role of Melisande.

    I’m glad she has a life outside of opera, but I do wish she’d make a return. I believe she is my favorite Soprano.

  13. Rosa Huntington Says:

    I think alison hagley is a good sporano and she does have a role of the marriage of figaro. Which is susanna

  14. Alison hagley Says:

    dear everyone. i dont go on the internet very much, but by accident came across everyones comments. i really am overwhelmed and touched. Thankyou so much! ididnt know i had such a following. Thankyou again. Best wishes Alison Hagley

    • Barbara Potton Says:

      Hi Alison, I am not sure how this website works. I was trying to send you a message. I live in Milan, Italy, but knew you as a small girl when my mum and sister and I were all sunday school teachers at the Good Shepherd. You sang at my wedding in 1972. Please email me if you read this!!! Warm regards, Barbara Potton

    • Desmond Byrne Says:

      Uh I dunno … Your Zerlina to my masetto was pretty amazing …. Hey Alison … been way too long …. look me up on face book if you want to reconnect. All the best …. meet you on the the park bench in the garden 🙂

    • Cassius Mozart Says:

      Dear Ms. Hagley:

      I’ve searched everywhere for you. I sincerely hope that you are well. May I interest you in something new? Please make a hot pot of tea and honey (or a bottle of fine French wine) and read my new Opera. I penned a part for you and you would make me and my Great Great Grandpa very happy if you could sing for this. Geb God Bless and safe travel.

      http://www.poem.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=22

    • Russell Bergen Says:

      Hi Ms. Hagley:

      I need you to help verify this very odd retold remark. Please open up some wine, turn on your Air Conditioning and have a good read. You can reach me at russ.bergen@gmail.com Sorry about this unprofessional manner in contacting you. God Bless and safe travel

      Dignified and Divine – http://www.poem.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=22&sid=b8ade6e2169a0357850d2c376e46c459

  15. Daniel Liao Says:

    It is very exciting to know the message is come from Hagley^_^

    from Taiwan, Daniel Liao

  16. Michael Sammut Says:

    The virtual world of cyberspace has finally served a truly useful purpose by turning the hope of Ms. Hagley’s fans into a reality: She has (purely by chance) read and even responded to the multitudinous admiring comments from us, whose many opinions share one underlying theme: How much we admire and miss her.

    One key wish has been granted. She has heard us! I’ve been in a state of quiet thankfulness since receiving her brief greeting to our group Tuesday morning.

    That happiness could be exceeded only by seeing her once again on the stage, weaving those lovely stories like a happy bird forging elliptical paths in the air.

    msammut@verizon.net

    • michael sammut Says:

      Dearest Ms. Hagley,

      I’ve written twice before. The first time I likened you to an angel transporting Divine Mozart messages from the highest peaks of Heaven. Second you were a happy beautiful Bird transmitting Divine patterns to us from the sky.

      Enough of these similes. We need to meet you and see you on the stage again!! When will you return to your adoring fans who are enslaved by your genius and vast beauty. I would take a plane to London if only you would reappear in the vocation you were born to fulfill.

      Praying for a response.

  17. Ahmad Shokry Says:

    oooohh! Alison is the best Suzanna ever, she has a golden voice, a great actor, wonderful sense of humor, I really loved her from listening to her Gardiner version of figaro, before watching her, then I loved her even more and more after I watched the dvd recording of the same opera … I wish to watch her singing live one day, or even to meet her any time to express how much I appreciate her, and I totally agree with ur word (Mozart and depote had her in mind while writing La nozze di figaro) plzzz tell me if she had any other recordings

  18. Kedem Berger Says:

    Hello Ms Hagley and all. Such a pleasure to hear such glowing remarks about the Gardiner Figaro, which is IMHO the best-ever filmed production that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen many, both live and on video.
    I have lived with this production since 1994, when it was aired on xmas night on France 2 and worshipped it ever since. Alison Hagley is the standout in a great ensemble performance.
    Ms Hagley, maybe you have a vague recollection of a young soldier asking for you autograph after a Tel Aviv performance of Die Schoepfung. We had a few words about your career and the forthcoming Boulez Pelleas. You were radiant and I know the Haydn oratorio can be tedious if repeated night after night, but the performance under Runnicles was a marvel. The first Adam and Eve allegro has never been captured for me in the same manner ever since. You, Mr Salomaa and Runnicles were sheer perfection. Thank you for this memory.

    Best wishes to you and your family!

  19. Barbara Potton Says:

    I have tried for years to find a contact address or telephone number for Alison. I knew her as a small girl and she sung the Ave Maria at my wedding in 1972 at the Good Shepherd Church in Lee Green, London. I have lived in Milan for years and would have loved to see her sing at the Scala if she ever came to Milan, but we lost touch with her and her family. Alison if these comments reach you I would love to hear from you. From what your cousin Angela says you have two children. I have a grandchild and a second about to be born. My warmest regards to your family. Barbara Potton

  20. Phil Says:

    Alison’s rendition of Sul’Aria in Gardiner’s Marriage of Figaro singing opposite Hillevi Martinpelto is totally stunning. I just can’t stop watching it. She breathes such life and personality into Suzanna. Such a wonderful voice.

  21. E.Watson Says:

    Since I first saw the Gardiner Marriage of Figaro DVD, I have played it repeatedly.The mainly youthful cast imparted a sense of joy in the work ,none more so than Alison Hagley as Susannah.I am truly grateful for the gift of such a performance which must have given immense pleasure to so many.

  22. Maria Helleberg Says:

    I even remember Alison doing Karolka in Jenufa at Glyndebourne – turning this small role into a real charachter. Please return to the stage – we need singers like you, Alison Hagley!

  23. Edith Matthews Says:

    I watched for the fifth time my recording of the Glyndebourne performance of 11996 and once again I was overwhelmed by the glorious singing and acting of Alison Hagley and I too wondered what she was doing.It was a joy to watch and listen to –I shall never see another Susanna to equal her.

  24. Edith Matthews Says:

    what does website mean?

  25. Douglas Hamilton Says:

    Have just rewatched the Haitink/Glynbourne “Figaro” on DVD with great delight – super cast, beautifully sung and acted – wonderful performance, especially Alison Hagley & Gerald Finley, who were both a delight to watch and listen to.
    Douglas Hamilton

  26. Cassim Says:

    I watched Alison in the Glynebourne performance when it was broadcast on channel 4, and fell in love. I have watched the Gardiner DVD so many times, and each time I do, I am transported. The way Alison moves, smiles, waves her hands, bows, there is such a lightness, freedom and joy, she is mozart’s joyous music made flesh. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but for me, at least, it’s true.

    • Barbara Potton Says:

      Do you know if Alison still performs ? I understood she was bringing up a family.. I knew her as a child and have been trying to get back in touch with her. Best regards.

  27. Eugene Gaub Says:

    Alison Hagley IS Susanna! What a wonderful performance. And her Mélisande is equally perfect. I’m so grateful that we have these performances on DVD.

  28. naomi layish Says:

    Rather late in the day, but just watched/listened to that Glyndebourne Figaro for the umpteenth time and was dazzled yet again by Alison Hadley’s Susanna. I agree that Mozart would have seen her as the perfect incarnation of the role, both in voice and characterisation. Despite the truly appalling sound balance during the ensembles, (which I am sure is not Haitink’s fault but that of the sound engineers), this is for me the perfect performance of the opera.

  29. Marianna Nikolaou Says:

    Ive just watched ALison as Susanna on you tube and she was breathtaking! I don’t know what happened to the woman but I would love to see her performing more operatic roles. Music surely misses her. I found an Alison Hagley on facebook, but Im not sure it’s her…

  30. Luis Pernalete Says:

    No doubt she is the best

  31. Tomasz Maczuga Says:

    Thank you Alison Hagley for your wonderful performance of Susanna in Marriage of Figaro. Best wishes from Poland !!

  32. Marianna Paulsen Says:

    I seem to be older than most of you .. for so many years I knew there was no Susanna like Lucia Popp and if you haven’t heard that one you really should. And then there was Alison Hagley. Forgive me, Lucia, but Hagley will surely endure as the very finest of all.

  33. Young opera fan Says:

    I agree. There are the best of all times: Pavarotti as the best Nemorino ever, Di Stefano as the best Duke, Sutherland as Lucia and Norma, Rodney Gilfry as the best Don Giovanni and Count Almaviva ever and Alison Hagley without question the best Susana with the most beautiful voice ever. You’ve given me so many enjoyable moments in Youtube. Thank you.

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