Hometown: Lawrence, KS
1. What was your favorite experience last season?
One of the most amazing things we did was performing “Jack and the Beanstalk” at the children’s hospital and the Ronald McDonald house. It was truly an amazing experience.
2. What are you excited to experience during the 2010-2011 season?
New repertoire; the new Davis work should be really exciting. It’s such a rarity that new work is done in opera, and it’s going to be wonderful to be a part of it.
3. What did you do on your summer ‘vacation’?
I had a couple of weeks off after finishing with Florentine, then went to Virginia to Maestro Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festiva, where I am singing some nice roles in Suor Angelica and Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera. I also performed Cherubino in La nozze di Figaro with the Peninsula Music Festival. Then another week or so off, and back to Milwaukee!
4. What did you like about living in Milwaukee?
Alterra and the art museum… and being by the lakefront. Plus it’s such a quiet city compared to Chicago, where my husband and I currently live.
5. Is there anything you didn’t have a chance to do in Milwaukee last season that is on your must-do list now?
I would really like to get to know the neighborhoods better, the local places for food and shopping. I loved Boswell Books where we performed at this past year, I would enjoy finding more places like that.
6. What are you listening to lately?
Andrew Bird, the Beatles, the Hives, and Eric Mire’s (tour manager from last season) CD.
7. What’s your best backstage story or the craziest thing that has happened to you while performing?
I think I must have blocked out all the good stories. Though this summer, we had a fountain in Sour Angelica which sputtered a little water on the stage; I nearly fell slipping on it during final dress, and I was worried, knowing that I had 7 performances, that it would become a moment for embarrassment-the potential was certainly there.
8. How do you approach preparing to perform in a world premiere like Río de Sangre, vs. preparing to appear in an established role?
In newer works, with more modern and rhythmic music like this, I usually go for the rhythm and notes first, then add text, then once I get that business taken care of I can give my brain a lot more freedom to play with and develop character. It was much different doing Elmer Gantry, where you definitely have to be thinking of the music but you can add the characterization in much sooner. I don’t really believe that there is a different process in discovering roles from one type of music to another. In the end it’s how comfortable you are vocally to allow yourself the emotional/physical side of someone.
9. How do you convince friends and family who have never seen an opera to give it a try?
I think it has a lot to do with getting people into the theater for the first time. It’s like someone who thinks they don’t like a certain type of cuisine until they try it. If there’s a production that you think someone could enjoy you buy them a ticket, and go with them to experience it so they have someone to talk to. Opera makes people feel awkward only because it’s foreign. Going with you gets them in the door and shakes off the mystique, and if you’re excited about something they will get excited too!
10. Do you sing in the shower?