Hometown: Dubuque, IA
1. What was your favorite experience last season?
There were so many exciting moments from last season it’s hard to pick just one. One moment that was particularly nice was performing the Messiah with the MSO.
2. What are you excited to experience during the 2011-2012 season?
I am very excited about all of the shows this coming season. Turandot has some of my favorite music and I think the story of Susannah is particularly moving.
3. What did you do on your summer ‘vacation’ ?
I sang some of the Alterra by the Lake concerts and I sang the role of Charlie Dalrymple in Brigadoon with Music by the Lake.
4. What do you like about living in Milwaukee?
Milwaukee is a great community. It’s fun to be a part of a city that has so many things to do and yet feels so accessible.
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 am hoping to see more Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concerts and to see the Milwaukee Ballet perform Dracula. I would also like to eat at Bacchus, Crazy Water, and Le Reve.
6. What are you listening to lately?
I’m listening to a lot of old recordings. It’s neat hearing how singers in past years interpreted phrases.
7. What’s your best backstage story or the craziest thing that has happened to you while performing?
There are two stories that stick out to me. The first happened on opening night of the first show I ever performed. I was in seventh grade and there was a tornado just as we were getting ready to start the show. The next happened during a show I performed at the College Light Opera Company in Falmouth, MA. While I was on stage, a man in the front row had a heart attack and they had to stop the show to get him out. Yikes!
8. How do you approach preparing to perform in a world premiere like Río de Sangre, vs. preparing to appear in an established role?
I try to do most of my preparation as though I’m learning a new role no matter how common the opera is. That way I feel like I understand the character in a more authentic way. With more established roles, I also try to listen to as many recordings as I can find so that I get an idea of what other people have done. That way I can make a conscious decision if I want to emulate their choices or make my own.
9. How do you convince friends and family who have never seen an opera to give it a try?
Well, my best tactic is usually just trying to get them to come see me. I’m proud to say that at this point, most of my close friends and family members have been to see me sing so there aren’t many left who haven’t seen an opera.
10. Do you sing in the shower?
Only after 9 am.