Hometown: Dubuque, IA
1. How did you first become interested in singing?
My grandmother first introduced me to opera. She loved listening to Fritz Wunderlich and Joan Sutherland. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to her music at first – I preferred practicing my violin. In high school I watched a biography of a violinist I particularly enjoyed and she spoke about how she found her inspiration listening to opera. Following her example I started to actively listen to opera. I got hooked and the rest is history!
2. Where/with whom have you studied?
I have had several voice teachers along the way. My senior year in high school I studied with Sandra Andersen. She is the teacher I credit for inspiring me to want to pursue singing as a career. I did my undergraduate studies at the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Robert Swensen. Two years ago I moved to Milwaukee to continue my studies with Dr. Connie Haas.
3. What is your favorite opera and why?
Hmm… that’s tough. I’m going to go with La Bohème because it is the opera I listen to when I want to feel inspired.
4. What is your dream role?
I would love to sing the role of Alfredo in La Traviata, however, I’m afraid that won’t be a realistic possibility for quite a while. In the nearer future I would really enjoy singing the role of Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore.
5. If you could have dinner with any composer, who would you choose and why?
I would like to have dinner with Peter Schickele because he is alive, he speaks English, and I think we would have some amusing dinner conversations.
6. Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
I like to distance myself from everyone for a while so I can focus and prepare. Most importantly, I always check my pants zipper just before I walk on stage.
7. What has been your most unusual performance to date and why?
The opening night of the first show I was a part of was delayed because of a tornado. Everyone in the cast, crew, and audience had to crouch in the junior high locker rooms for almost half an hour. It was difficult to get back into character and perform the show that night.
8. If you were tone-deaf, what would your dream job be?
I believe that as long as people have the proper inflections in their speaking voice they aren’t really tone-deaf; they just have to refine their coordination to be able to match a pitch. That being said, if I couldn’t be a musician my dream job would be to be an acrobat or the voice for a cartoon character.
9. What’s on your Ipod right now?
Podcasts of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, This American Life, Freakonomics Radio, Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, and the Village Church – Sermon Audio.
10. What are you most excited to do in Milwaukee?
Honestly, since I’ve lived here for awhile now, I’m most looking forward to having a season where I can really focus on performing and honing my craft instead of trying to support myself with all five part-time jobs I have had over the past few years.