Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ten Questions with Alexandra LoBianco

Ten Questions With...




Alexandra LoBianco, soprano
Leonore in Fidelio






1.  Where were you born / raised? 
St. Petersburg, Florida.  Not to be confused with St. Petersburg, Russia (that's happened).

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
When I was younger, I wanted to go into Equine Science, but I quickly realized I'm just not that smart.  So if I had to make a choice outside of the profession, I'd be a therapist of some sort.  I'm actually considering going back for my Master's, because trust me, when you teach voice you are already a therapist.  I might as well get the diploma to go with it.

3.  My favorite opera is...
This is actually a difficult question.  It tends to be the one I'm working on.  I have my absolute go-to's, which are Tosca, Macbeth, and Cavalleria Rusticana.  (Yes, I love verismo.)

4.  My favorite post-show meal is...
Munchies and sometimes a bourbon neat.

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
I'm blind as a bat on stage.  I don't wear contacts.  Well, I can make out Maestro's hands, which keeps me on top of the beat, thank goodness.  I was also a competitive horseback rider when I was younger.  And last but not least, my favorite form of workout is boxing.

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar / in the car /for karaoke?
Oh, this one is easy.  You'll find me at my favorite little piano bar, Uncle Charlie's in New York with my dear friend / composer William Wade having me belt "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret, then right into "Quando m'en vo."  Don't ask, I don't get it either, but it's a lot of fun.

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
Netflix has made it very easy to binge-watch TV.  When I'm on gigs, my favorite thing to do is find a new or old TV show and, well, indulge.

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
I must confess, I love movies but I'm not a huge movie buff.  When I go to the movies (or watch Netflix...  you see a trend here), I tend to watch things that are truly entertainment.  So, with that in mind: The Avengers (and all the others in the series), plus I love Pixar and most all Disney flix.  They are such a wonderful escape from reality while being a marvel of artistic abilities that I just don't comprehend.

As far as films that I feel are of major artistic worth, I love Cinema Paradiso, The Artist, Forrest Gump, and Amelie.  Cult classics: Clueless, Young Frankenstein, Willie Wonka (original version), Fight Club, Highland, and Coming to America.

Well, that surprised me to see that I'm a bit more opinionated than I thought! 

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?
Honestly, the first thing you'd find would be about 5 different versions of Fidelio followed quickly by about 5 more versions of Don Giovanni, as I just finished that and haven't replaced it with Tosca yet. Once you're past work, you get into things like "Sandman" by Metallica, "Who I Am" by Alice Peacock, "Trouble" by P!nk and "Ben Aindi Habibi" by Mary Fahl.  You'd also find a bunch of musical theater followed by some of the greats: Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Edith Piaf, Tom Lehrer, etc. 

10.  What is the worst costume you've ever worn?
It was when I was in the chorus for Opera Carolina and we were in the midst of Nabucco.  One of the slave costumes was just pieces of burlap sack that had been dyed shades of blue and stitched together with no lining. Needless to say it was difficult finding your character while itching from the burlap and laying on the floor. 



Don't miss the chance to see Alexandra in Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera!  Performances are November 21 and 23 at Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ten Questions with Clay Hilley

Ten Questions With...

Clay Hilley, tenor
Florestan in Fidelio 



1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Born in Athens, Georgia, and raised in a small town near there - Statham, Georgia.

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
Law.

3.  My favorite opera is...
Falstaff.

4.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
Steak and potatoes - but that's not unique to a show. ;)

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
I am the oldest sibling of four.  Because of my maturity level, most people assume I'm the baby.

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar / in the car /for karaoke?
I loathe karaoke.  The only thing I belt are corny jokes.

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
American Horror Story.  All horror stories.  80s and 90s slasher films.

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
Return of the King.  Many horror movies.

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Fidelio.

10.  What is the worst costume you've ever worn? 
There are many, but one comes to mind.  While playing King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, I was dressed in a VERY heavy (and VERY HOT) costume.  It was so hot that I made a choice to forgo any sort of undergarment (as no one in the audience would ever be able to notice).  During the performance, I noticed an air-conditioning vent in the stage floor (we were performing in a church chancel), and "altered my blocking" such that I ended up hovering over said vent, enjoying the pleasantly-cooling streams of air while actively engaged in performing.

11.  Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  Would you like to have my UGA Bulldogs season tickets?
A:  YES.

Don't miss the chance to see Clay in Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera!  Performances are November 21 and 23 at Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ten Questions with Kelly Markgraf

Ten Questions With...

Kelly Markgraf, baritone
Don Pizarro in Fidelio 






1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
Antique restoration and/or historical architecture preservation.

3.  My favorite opera is...
After studying it recently for an upcoming recording project, Carlisle Floyd's Wuthering Heights is near or at the top of my list.  From the traditional repertoire, probably Don Carlos.

4.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
Wild rice, a bit of protein, and a raw kale salad.

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
I have a tea company, importing fine loose leaf tea from all over the world.

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar / in the car /for karaoke?
"Country Road" by James Taylor.

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
Antique Roadshow.

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
The Philadelphia Story, The Lion in Winter. 

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
India Arie, Sam Cooke, Neil Young, Disney songs (for my daughter), Chris Paulson (the best street musician I've ever heard, who I came across this past spring in Bordeaux).

10.  What is the best costume you've ever worn? 
The Plant in Little Shop of Horrors.

11.  Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  Have you had a moment where you felt affirmed that all that you do and sacrifice to have the life of a musician is worth it?

A:  Absolutely.  I recently was on a plane and started talking with the guy across the aisle from me.  He was a veteran Army Ranger of multiple tours of duty in Iraq, and then two in Afghanistan.  He has now left the military and is hoping to start a new life.  Hearing about what he went through:  the stress, the danger, the injuries, the despair over watching all his friends die -- it was heartbreaking.  He asked what I do, and when I told him I sing opera, he was quite taken aback, and tears came to his eyes.  He said, "Man, you have no idea -- that's what gets us through out there.  So many of us, even though we don't really talk about it, listen to opera to help us get through.  The sheer power and beauty of it... to be able to turn that on when we're in the field and be transported to another place...  Thank you for doing what you do.  It means the world to us."


Don't miss the chance to see Kelly in Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera!  Performances are November 21 and 23 at Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ten Questions with Tara Faircloth

Ten Questions With...

Tara Faircloth
Stage Director of Fidelio 

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born and raised in a small town in Georgia called Fort Valley.  No fort, no valley.

2.  If you weren't a stage director, what profession would you be in?
My degrees are all in singing, but I discovered directing just before I completed my master's degree.  If I was not in the performing arts, I would like to make my living making beautiful things... like arranging flowers or creating watercolors.

3.  My favorite opera is...
Oh, lordy.  Pass.

4.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
Oysters and a dirty martini. (I'm not singing!)

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
I lived in an Airstream Travel Trailer for 3 years.  It allowed me to make the transition from singer to director without going bankrupt (yet).

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar / in the car / for karaoke?
None of the above.

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
Like most of us, I tend to binge watch excellent TV like Breaking Bad, The Wire, etc., and also not-so-excellent TV like The Tudors (costume research!).

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
The Secret in Their Eyes.  The Lives of Others.  Pride and Prejudice.

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Fidelio, Fidelio, Fidelio, Midsummer Night's Dream, Nozze di Figaro.  If I am listening to music, it is generally to prep for work.  Also, I love to jam to the Monteverdi Vespers.  Hahaha.

10.  What is the best costume you've ever worn? 
I once had an AMAZING fuchsia satin Marie Antoinette-style gown for Casilda in The Gondoliers.

11.  Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  How does it feel to have just won that $55 million lottery, Ms. Faircloth?
A:  AMAZING!!!

Don't miss the chance to see Tara's production of Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera!  Performances are November 21 and 23 at Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ten Questions with Matt Boehler

Ten Questions With...

Matt Boehler, bass
Rocco in Fidelio


1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
Publishing, maybe?

3.  My favorite opera is...
Right now, at this moment:  Peter Grimes.  But that will change in five minutes.

4.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
Pre-show:  Something non-offensive and noodly.
Post-show:  ALL THE FOOD.

5.  People would be surprised to know...
At my height, 6'7", I'm asked pretty often if I play basketball.  I don't!  Believe me, if I had any talent for it, I'd have made my millions long ago.

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar / in the car / for karaoke? 
"Copacabana" by Barry Manilow

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
Since True Blood is finished, the only program that I really follow now is RuPaul's Drag Race.  But if it's true that Twin Peaks is coming back, I'll be there in a flash.

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
Airplane! is at the top of the list.  Others, in no particular order:  The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, Best in Show, Critters 2.

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Fidelio, Fidelio, Fidelio, Fidelio, and... Fidelio.

10.  What is the worst costume you've ever worn? 
Many, many years ago in summer stock, I was in a production of Harvey.  It was up to the cast to change the set, and the scene changes were all choreographed... to "The Bunny Hop."  We were all wearing little bunny ears and had little Peter Cottontail puffs snapped onto our rumps.  I remember thinking that wearing bunny costumes while hopping around and moving furniture was pretty lame at the time, but now I hear this is the whole concept for a new production of Don Carlo somewhere in Germany.

Don't miss the chance to see Matt in Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera!  Performances are November 21 and 23 at Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ten Questions with Liam Moran

Ten Questions With...

Liam Moran, bass
Don Fernando in Fidelio 



1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Brookline, Massachusetts

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
I'd love to teach history.

3.  My favorite opera is...
Hard to say!  Often the one I'm currently working on.  If I had to pick, today I'd say... Eugene Onegin.

4.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
The answer to both is cooked vegetables with plenty of sriracha - add a Guiness post-show!

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
I can't wink my left eye...  I can hardly wink my right eye either.

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar / in the car /for karaoke?
None!  Once I leave the theater, I leave the singing to others.

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
These days, Homeland.  Miss you, Brody.

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
Annie Hall, Dr. Strangelove, Best in Show.

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Anthony Hamilton, Kendrick Lamar, Joao Gilberto, Otis Redding, and Bill Evans.

10.  What is the worst or best costume you've ever worn? 
The best and worst was one I wore as the Bonze in Madama Butterfly.  I was painted red and wore a bald pate, so to get out of costume every nitght, I had to remove the pate (which rips out all the tiny hairs on the back of your neck) and scrub off the paint in the shower.  It took over an hour.  But it sure looked cool.

11.  Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  Would you like an Altoid?
A:  The answer is always "yes."

Don't miss the chance to see Liam in Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera!  Performances are November 21 and 23 at Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ten Questions with Alisa Jordheim

Ten Questions With...

Alisa Jordheim, soprano
Marzelline in Fidelio 



1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Appleton, Wisconsin

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
Medicine / healthcare - a nurse or nurse practitioner (see my answer to #5).

3.  My favorite opera is...
Nixon in China by John Adams.

4.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
Pre-show:  A light combination of protein and carbohydrates, candied ginger, and always an apple!
Post-show:  Ice cream and/or french fries!

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
I danced ballet and en pointe for seven years.  I also became a State-Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA or CNA) in 2008.  I worked as an STNA with a healthcare company giving in-home care for nearly two years while I was in school at the University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music.  I couldn't keep up both my work as an STNA and my work as a traveling singer, so I chose to focus on singing.  However, I miss my work as an STNA very much and still have my scrubs!

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar / in the car /for karaoke?
I have no shame.  Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
I am a big fan of the Food Network, HGTV, and TLC.

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
Some Like it Hot, The Seven Year Itch, Casablanca, Catch Me If You Can, 500 Days of Summer, The Shawshank Redemption, any of the Muppet movies (but especially The Great Muppet Caper), and so many more.  My favorite TV show was / is Breaking Bad.

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Fidelio (!), Maroon 5, Imogen Heap, Edvard Grieg (Norwegian Dances for Piano - Eva Knardahl), Beyonce.

10.  What is the best costume you've ever worn? 
One of my favorite costume wardrobes was for Albert Herring with Florentine Opera, and I was Miss Wordsworth.  The style was 1950s retro, and I had pink cat-eye glasses with rhinestones and a blonde wig curled in a flip.  It was like the whole cast stepped right out of Mad Men!

11.  Bonus question:
Q:  Do you sing in genres/ styles other than opera?
A:  I enjoy singing all different genres and styles of music - opera, oratorio, art song, musical theater, cabaret, jazz, chamber music, electronic music, etc.  I am also passionate about singing diction and Scandinavian vocal music (my heritage is Norwegian and Danish, and that is the inspiration for my interest in Scandinavian music).  My cognate field for my DMA degree from CCM is Scandinavian song and diction, and I recently completed studies in Scandinavia on the subject, thanks to grants from the Fulbright Foundation and the American Scandinavian Foundation.

Don't miss the chance to see Alisa in Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera!  Performances are November 21 and 23 at Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ten Questions with David Blalock

Ten Questions With...

David Blalock, tenor
Jaquino in Fidelio


1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina / Burlington, North Carolina

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
I would absolutely love to be a sports writer.  I am an avid sports fan, and writing about sports for a living would be a dream job.

3.  My favorite opera is...
Peter Grimes, although the answer to this question changes about every 2 or 3 weeks.

4.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
Pre-show:  Something light:  either a salad or a small sandwich.
Post-show:  Double whatever I had pre-show.

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
My brother is also a professional opera singer.

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out for karaoke? 
"My Funny Valentine," in the style of Frank Sinatra.

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
Going to see movies.  I absolutely love the experience of going to the theater.

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
The Shawshank Redemption, No Country for Old Men, Twelve Angry Men, Some Like It Hot, The Deer Hunter, Unforgiven.

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Kurt Elling, definitely Jonas Kaufmann, Lake Street Dive, probably some other young tenors like Bryan Hymel or Michael Fabiano.

10.  What is the best costume you've ever worn? 
A marionette costume for the world premiere of Oscar at Santa Fe Opera during the summer of 2013.  There was a scene that took place in a nursery and all of the toys came to life.  My character was a marionette dressed as a pirate.  I had giant strings attached to my limbs that were hooked to a handle above my head.  It's hard to describe, but I looked amazing.  Plus I got to walk around like a puppet, which was fun.

Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  What is your dream role in any voice type?
A:  My dream role is Rigoletto.  I would love to sing the role, but also it would be a fun challenge dramatically.

Don't miss the chance to see David in Fidelio, Beethoven's only opera!  Performances are November 21 and 23 at Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Six Questions with Robert Orth

Six Questions with...



Robert Orth, baritone
Voltaire / Pangloss, Candide




1. My favorite thing about being a singer is: Getting to live inside the greatest pieces of music ever written, and then getting to share them with enthusiastic audiences.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: Exercising the self-discipline involved to learn the score, and always living with the insecurity of getting future jobs.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is: Chanticleer's Christmas concerts are unforgettable.


4.  My favorite American operas are:
Candide, Nixon in China, Moby Dick, Dead Man Walking, The Grapes of Wrath, and too many more to mention.


5. People would be surprised to know that: When I was 3 years old, I memorized the Old Testament story of Jonah and the Whale, and recited it while standing on a chair behind the pulpit at a Sunday School convention.  I was adorable.
 

6. Describe your favorite moment on stage: One of my favorite moments on stage was doing Nixon in China as part of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London with the composer John Adams conducting.
 
Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q:  How is it that you are and always have been the hottest baritone in the business?
A:  I would answer modestly, "moisturizer."
 

Come hear Robert sing Voltaire / Pangloss in excerpts from Candide as part of American Kaleidoscope at the Overture Center this Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets at overturecenter.org or 608.258.4141.

Five Questions with Jeni Houser

Five Questions with...


Jeni Houser, soprano
Cunegonde, Candide



1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
Creating something new and spontaneous every time I perform.  With live orchestra and colleagues, each and every performance is fresh, even though the music and story may have been around for quite a long time.  I love the feeling of improvising a bit even as you perform previously-rehearsed material.

2.
The greatest challenge in being a singer is: Staying physically and mentally healthy in the midst of a demanding audition season or performance schedule.  A cold can completely wipe out your ability to do what you have trained for.  And this is a taxing career, so sleeping, exercising, and eating well are incredibly important, along with seeing friends and taking time for yourself.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is: Bobby McFerrin with the jazz ensemble at Lawrence University - he had everyone in the audience improvising and laughing and glad to be alive.

4. My favorite American opera is:
The Ballad of Baby Doe by Douglas Moore.


5. People would be surprised to know that:
I can sign the alphabet backwards and can name all 50 states in alphabetical order in one breath.




Come hear Jeni in excerpts from
Candide as part of American Kaleidoscope at the Overture Center this Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets at overturecenter.org or 608.258.4141.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Six Questions with Daniel Shirley

Six questions with...

Daniel Shirley, tenor
Candide in Candide

 

1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:  That my colleagues and I are part of a 400+ year-old tradition of singing.  Even though opera is and always will be relevant, the craft defies the modern world, which is so obsessed with instant gratification.  We purvey a tradition that is bigger than all of us.  And there is a weird comfort in accepting that it cannot be "mastered," only gradually understood over the course of a lifetime.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: Being away from the ones you love.  Others have given the same answer to this question, and they are absolutely right.  That, and also wearing a heavy woolen costume previously worn by someone with B.O.  That's pretty rough, too.
 

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is: Alison Krauss and Union Station at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  When the whole band sang, the tuning was so precise that the pews shook.  (Yes, you sit in pews at the Ryman, the "Mother Church of Country Music.")

4. My favorite American Opera is:  Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  It's an opera, it's a musical, it's everything, from the sublime to the horrible.  Sweeney is one of my "desert island" pieces, along with the Matthew Passion and The Marriage of Figaro.  This is a completely honest answer and not an intentional plug for our production in February... but since I'm on the subject, Madison Opera is doing Sweeney in February and I am SO EXCITED I CAN BARELY STAND IT.  [Ed. note:  Daniel will sing Anthony Hope in the Madison Opera production.]


5. People would be surprised to know that: 
I did not go to college with the intent of studying music.  I wanted to go to law school and then practice entertainment law.  Could not have named you three operas until the age of 19.  Though I had been singing and playing bass for many years, I had no professional musical aspirations until my 20s.

6. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 
My answer here is less a specific moment, more an experience.  My middle school choir director was a brilliant musician who inspired fearless singing from all of us knuckleheads.  Those performances are some of my most cherished memories from my entire life, musical and otherwise.  Watching people react, cry, laugh, rise to their feet because of singing - this is when I first discovered that there is power in music, in particular the music made by the human voice.

Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).

Q:  Where are you from?
A:  Despite sojourns in Tennessee, Indiana, Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina, and no matter where on this Earth I will ever live, I will always be a Mississippian.  My lovely Yankee wife, on observing my enjoyment of the brisk Midwestern fall temperatures, has on occasion mislabeled me a (shudder) Yankee.  But this, actually, can never be so.

Come hear Daniel in excerpts from
Candide as part of American Kaleidoscope at the Overture Center this Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets at overturecenter.org or 608.258.4141.

Six Questions with Alan Dunbar

Six questions with...
 
Alan Dunbar, baritone
Maximillian in Candide



1. My favorite thing about being a singer is: Taking on new and interesting characters every time I get on stage.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: Getting enough sleep.  And trying to explain what I do to people unfamiliar with careers in the arts.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is: Frigg, Swåp, and Julie Fowlis at the 2008 Lotus World Music Festival.  Such energy and skill!
 
4.  My favorite American opera is: 
That's easy: Dead Man Walking.  Well... also Sweeney Todd and A View from the Bridge (can I have three?).


5. People would be surprised to know that: I never graduated from high school (or with a GED), but I just finished my doctorate.

6. Describe your favorite moment on stage:
A specific moment would be singing Sweeney Todd's "Epiphany" and "Have a Little Priest" as a part of the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Scenes.  More generally, any moment I can stand in the wings and watch my colleagues on stage - it reminds me how lucky I am to do what I do!
 
Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q:  Dream existence?
A: 
Opening an organic pizza farm (look it up if you're unfamiliar with the concept) that has a small resident opera company to perform for people enjoying good food and drink in an idyllic rural setting.  Someday...
 

Come hear Alan in excerpts from
Candide as part of American Kaleidoscope at the Overture Center this Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets at overturecenter.org or 608.258.4141.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Six Questions with Anna Laurenzo

Six Questions with...




Anna Laurenzo, mezzo-soprano
Paquette in Candide





1. My favorite thing about being a singer is: Getting to become someone else on stage.  It's such a learning experience to try out different character mannerisms and habits that I would never do in real life.  And how could I fail to mention the crazy fun costumes!

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: The inability to see your instrument.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is: The Dvorak Violin Concerto in A with the Minnesota Orchestra in 2011.  What a powerful piece!


4.  My favorite American opera is: 
There are so many!  I am so excited about the future of opera, but to narrow it down:  Of Mice and Men by Carlisle Floyd, A Streetcar Named Desire by Andre Previn, Doctor Atomic by John Adams, and Glory Denied by Tom Ciupllo.


5. People would be surprised to know that: I was a gymnast for 10 years!
 

6. Describe your favorite moment on stage: I love the moment just before the curtain opens, no matter the show.  There is a quiet energy that starts to bubble up as I listen to the overture and do my final preparation.
 
Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q:  What is your favorite all-American food?
A:  I'd have to say Buffalo wings or any derivative of that (buffalo chicken dip, buffalo chicken nachos, etc.)



Anna is one of Madison Opera's 2014/15 Studio Artists.  Come hear her in excerpts from Candide as part of American Kaleidoscope at the Overture Center this Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets at overturecenter.org or 608.258.4141.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ten Questions with Jamie-Rose Guarrine



Ten Questions with...




Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano







1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
Traveling to new places all over the world and working with great colleagues and companies. 


2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is:
It's funny, but the same thing:  traveling and being apart from my family is by far the most difficult part of the job, I would say.
 

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:
Karita Mattila in recital with Martin Katz in Minneapolis - amazing and she did the splits!
 

4. A few of my favorite films are:
Lord of the Rings trilogy - I'm a Tolkien nut! 


5. Three things I can’t live without are: 
1. My iphone, since it's the contact point for my husband, family, and cats.
2. Music - any form, any time.
3. A comfortable pair of shoes. 

6. My number one hobby is: 
Cooking and entertaining. 

7. If you could perform with any singer that is retired or deceased, who would it be?  
I would want to travel back in time and sing Susanna with Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau singing the Count! 

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in? 
A position that involved travel and seeing the world! 

9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing (because it’s the wrong voice type / gender)?
Tosca.  Stab that bad guy and jump off a castle?  That's pretty awesome. 

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage.
Backstage at the Santa Fe Opera waiting to take the stage, with the sun setting over the mountains.

Come hear Jamie-Rose at Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 26 at 8pm.  FREE ADMISSION!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ten Questions with Kelly Markgraf

Ten Questions with...





Kelly Markgraf, baritone







1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
That the challenges and learning never ends.


2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is:That the challenges and learning never ends.  And the travel. :)

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:

James Taylor concert just a few weeks ago in Houston, where we live.  He's 66, still has his voice and all of his spirit.  An amazing performer.


4. A few of my favorite films are: 
The Lion in Winter, The Philadelphia Story, Contact
.

5. Three things I can’t live without are: 
My wife, my daughter, and tea.

6. My number one hobby is:

Discovering new teas.

7. If you could perform with any singer that is retired or deceased, who would it be?
Bobby Darin.


8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in? 
Antique restoration.
 
9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender? 
Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.


10. Describe your favorite moment on stage.

During a season of summer stock theater in 2001, the lights in the theater went out.  All power was down.  The audience, refusing to accept that the show wouldn't go on, went to their cars and procured dozens of flashlights.  Some held theirs over the edge of the pit, some shone them from their seats onto the stage.  One man even parked his car at the side door of the stage, shining his headlights through the open door and onto the stage.  And the show went on.  That was magic.

Come hear Kelly at Opera in the Park on July 26 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE Admission!