Heidi Grant Murphy's Lullabies and Nightsongs
The Metropolitan Opera soprano releases her first CD for kids.
Sun Sep 20 2009
How does soprano Heidi Grant Murphy make time for her four kids (ages 5, 6, 11 and 14) and find the energy to perform regularly with the Metropolitan Opera? “It’s been an issue,” she says, her giggle subverting any weariness she may feel. “It’s a hard career when you have lots of children.” On a typical weekday, she rallies the troops at 6am, makes four lunches, then drops everybody off at their Manhattan schools. Afterward, she tackles classroom projects—did we mention she volunteers as a class parent?—and, of course, vocal rehearsals. And as if she weren’t busy enough, die Muttersinger has just released her first CD for kids, Lullabies and Nightsongs.
Adapted from a 1965 songbook of the same name—with melodies by composer Alec Wilder and illustrations by Maurice Sendak—the album is a delightful collection of 24 verses both well known (“Rock a Bye, Baby”) and less so (“The Crocodile”). Grant Murphy’s voice is, as you’d expect, stunning, and she shows tremendous stylistic versatility. In the whimsical “The Elephant Present,” she ponders how on earth to get the darn thing wrapped. The torch-song tenderness of “All the Pretty Horses” will move you to tears—of joy, as the soothing tune ushers your Peanut off to slumberland.
Before her own little ones came along, Grant Murphy considered and then shelved the project in favor of other pursuits. Fast-forward 15 years: The youngest and most musically inclined Murphy child, Kathleen, was charmed by the songs her class sang at preschool. This inspired mama Heidi to revisit that idea from years ago, and Lullabies and Nightsongs, with papa Kevin on piano, finally came to life.
Born and raised in Bellingham, Washington, Grant Murphy began singing as a teen. In grad school at the Indiana University School of Music, she won entry into the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artist Development Program. This year marks her 20th anniversary with the company—yet another milestone in a career, and a life, filled with them.