Wednesday, May 4, 2011

10 Questions with Kathryn Smith

Our newly appointed general director Kathryn Smith won't officially start until July 1st, but we thought it'd be fun to get to know her a little bit better in the interim. Here are her answers to ten questions we recently sent her way:

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Seattle

Q: When did you first attend a live opera, and what was it?
A: I think it was either Porgy and Bess at age six or seven, or Rigoletto (in English) at eight or nine.  I remember that the latter bored me.

Q: It’s not fair, but I have to ask:  who are your top 3 favorite composers?
A: Mozart, Schubert, and Cole Porter.

Q: What are your top 3 favorite operas, if you had to choose? This is a desert island scenario.
A: Le Nozze di Figaro, Carmen, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann.

Q: What is the last book you read that you’d recommend to a friend?
A: I read all of Dorothy Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries this year – a surprising lapse in my education – so I’d recommend any of them.

Q: Who is your favorite non-classical, non-opera musical artist?
A: Judy Garland or Fred Astaire (and I do consider him a musical artist)

Q: Can you name one of the highlights from your time at the Met?
A: Just one?  The first time you set foot on the stage is unforgettable, and so is the first time someone cancels an hour before curtain.  Plus I heard so many incredible performances, from Natalie Dessay’s first Met Zerbinetta to Hei-Kyung Hong in just about anything, and Bryn Terfel and Ferruccio Furlanetto playfully negotiating a platform that rose out of the stage an act too early in Don Giovanni.

Q: What are you most proud of achieving at Tacoma Opera?
A: Growing a company that was truly connected to its community, using mostly Northwest-based singers to present operas that a company of our budget size had no business producing, like Le Comte Ory and Faust.

Q: What intrigues you most about moving to the city of Madison?
A: Learning to drive in the snow.

Q: After spending a week with Madison Opera during our rehearsal process for La Traviata, what are you most excited about in joining our company?
A: Every individual I met, whether audience member or stage crew, told me how much Madison Opera meant to them.  Joining a company and a community that cares that deeply is a very exciting prospect, as it means we all want to do great things together. 

Thanks, Kathryn - we're all looking forward to working with you, and perhaps lending some snow-driving tips along the way!

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