Ten Questions with...
Alexandra LoBianco, soprano
Amelia in A Masked Ball
1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
Being the vessel for this incredible sound. It's a thrill to realize you're a human amplifier. I also love the journey that opera allows us to take through theater and sound. The vibration of the human voice is completely unique and healing. I love the whole process.
2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is:
It's tough being on the road away from your family all the time. Finding ways of bringing home with you and making each place a new home.
3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:
Most definitely seeing Patti Lupone in Gypsy on Broadway, the first time I went to the Metropolitan Opera, and Garth Brooks. Gypsy was just mind-blowing. I hadn't had goose bumps like that in years. Patti Lupone was so committed to her character and to the audience to take them with her. I learned so much that night. The Met was Cavallerica Rusticana / Pagliacci when I was in high school and I thought I was going to be a professional clarinetist. My parents were amazing enough to get seats close enough so I could see in the pit, but during that show, my eyes shifted from the pit to the stage, and I fell in love with opera. It wasn't till a few years later that I even started to think I had potential to be an opera singer. Garth Brooks, well, that was just an incredible concert. What an amazing performer and showman. That and he's just so dang cute!
4. A few of my favorite films are:
I admit I'm in many ways a total kid when it comes to my movies. Cartoons make me happy. How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek, The Lion King, Up, etc.. I also love movies like Chocolat, Amélie, Braveheart, Batman, The Avengers. I'm a little eclectic in my movie choices. When I'm watching movies it's generally a mental break time for me.
5. Three things I can’t live without are:
My family, a kitchen, and sadly my iPhone. I hate to even admit that last one but with all my traveling right now it's much easier to keep in touch and in the loop... I'm thinking of upgrading to an iPad... My family and friends for obvious reasons. They are my rock and the amazing support system that keeps me sane. The kitchen, sigh, I love cooking and making all these crazy concoctions to eat. I rarely use a recipe except as a guideline but I swear it’s usually pretty darn good.
6. My number one hobby is:
Cooking!!! So if anyone wants to share their kitchen with me while I'm in Madison I'd be happy to make you dinner!! I also love to read and – when I have the time and money – ride horses. I'm also kind of a beer enthusiast and I hear there are some amazing beers in Wisconsin, so I can't wait to try them!
7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
The list could go on for pages and pages. Living, it would be my teacher and mentor, Carol Kirkpatrick. It would have been an honor to share the stage with this amazing woman. I'd happily sing Chrysothemis to her Elektra! Also living I would have died and gone to heaven to share the stage with Elinor Ross. I'd also say Mario Del Monaco, Rosa Ponselle, Dame Eva Turner, Leonard Warren, Laurence Melchior, Leonie Rysanek, Franco Corelli, Zinka Milanov... Like I said I could go on for pages and pages!
8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I had really considered going into Equine Science. I was a competitive horseback rider when I was younger and loved working with animals. I had always dreamed of being part of the equestrian Olympic team... granted I was never THAT skilled a rider. I could always be a teacher. And, following the theme above, I would absolutely go to culinary school and open my own restaurant. I think a breakfast and lunch place would be perfect!
9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
Macbeth because it's just amazing for the baritone; how amazing would it be to be a Verdi baritone – that's just cool! Carmen and Dalilah would be two of my first choices if I could be a mezzo again. I miss singing that rep. Juliette if for nothing other than the poison aria.
10. Describe your favorite moment on stage.
My debut was in Il Trovatore as Leonora and it was opening night. I was singing the D'amor and when I finished that section the audience applauded into the Miserere section, which was almost surreal, and when I finished the audience was absolutely silent. I remember thinking "What do I do.... Stay in character, don't lose, it just go on..." so I went on to the cabaletta and when that finished the audience went a little crazy. I have never been so humbled and moved by a response. It was then that I realized every time I was on stage it was my responsibility to tell the story in such a way that it was a journey.
Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
What's been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
I was a freshman in high school and it was closing night of Hello, Dolly and the eve of my 13th birthday. I was in the chorus and we were in the midst of "Put on Your Sunday Clothes." At my high school we built all of our sets, so this one had a runway out into the audience that helped create a pit. More of a crescent shape then runway. I came around the front as we were crossing each other and instead of brushing my foot alongside the toe board, I stepped on top of it and à la Wile E Coyote (minus the sign that said OH S#!@) into the front row of the audience. I popped up, looked left and right, then found my exit and exited quickly. I had a gash on my leg and my toe hurt (it was broken but I didn't know or care at that time), but I got back out on stage within about one scene. That night was the cast party and that evening’s performance had been taped, so we watched me fall off the stage over and over again, in time, fast forward and of course SLOWMO! So, for anyone who has ever asked that question of “what happens if....?” The answer is you get back up and get out there and laugh at yourself when it's all over.
P.S. There was also a surprise party for me that night at the cast party...I was laughing the whole entire night.