UGA Opera Theatre Student Spotlight
Hometown: Roswell, GA
UGA program/major: DMA Vocal Performance
Year in school: 2nd year
What is your earliest musical memory? My mom and I used to sing rounds in the car together and she would ask me to name the different instruments I would hear on the classical radio station and take a stab at who the composer was. My first opera memory, and don't ask me how I remember this, was watching a PBS broadcast of Mozart's Magic Flute, I was 3 and so enthralled, that I forced my mother to sit and read me the subtitles. When I had to go to sleep, I insisted that she video record the rest so I could finish it the next day.
Does anybody else in your family work in music related business? My mom has her masters in voice, my grandmother was a college speech and drama professor for 40 years, and my cousin is an actress at the Royal Conservatoire in Scotland. Performing is in the family.
Do you play any other musical instrument? I used to play guitar, and I can play enough mandolin to jam to some bluegrass. I also rock at whistling.
Do you have any experience, as an audience member, that influenced you as a musician? Interestingly enough, I have been most influenced by watching Youtube videos of my favorite performers. There is so much you can learn from watching professional singers up close and studying not only how they sing but also how they physically create a character in their body and their face. When I was working on Pamina, I learned so much from watching the German soprano Dorothea Röschmann. Even when she was not singing, her face continued to communicate the story. She makes each of her women vibrant and engaging. I'm always mesmerized by her artistry.
When did you start considering vocal performance? The summer between my junior and senior year of high school I went to a music camp where I got to live like a college music major for two incredible weeks. I had some very encouraging teachers and loved every minute!
What do you consider as a milestone in your performance career? Receiving my masters from Peabody Conservatory was a huge milestone, and served to lead me to the program here at UGA.
What was your favorite scene in past UGA Opera Theatre productions? My favorite scene in The Magic Flute was the second duet between Pamina and Papageno that leads into the Finale of Act 1. They two are looking for Tamino by following the sound of his flute. I loved the comedy Mozart wrote into the music and the comedy we brought to the scene. The end of the scene also shows Pamina's strength and character as she bravely takes responsibility for her actions. Basically, I just love to sing Mozart.
What is your favorite scene in the next UGA Opera Theatre production? I love Micaela's aria because it is an incredibly beautiful and poignant moment in the opera. She walks in a self-doubting, fearful girl, who understands that she does not have the strength within her to accomplish the task of confronting Carmen. Something greater than she must come to her aid. She prays to God and he faithfully provides her with full confidence in his divine protection and strength as she goes to confront Carmen.
Do you have a hobby? I don't have one specific hobby. I like to do many things, anything from refinishing furniture, to learning German, watching the latest tv shows, spending time investing in friendships and throwing parties! I also run, but it's not a hobby...yet.
If you could be or do anything else – what would it be? Well, when I was in middle school, I wanted to be a P.E. teacher, ha! Now, if I weren't pursuing a singing/music career, I would probably go into some type of university job like development or admissions. I love college and I love people!
If you could go back in time, when and where would you like to live? Oh, 1940's for sure. I love the music and the movies, love the clothes, and love the generation people who lived through that time.
If you could have dinner with five famous people from history, who would they be? Mozart, Judy Garland, Queen Victoria, C.S. Lewis, and Jesus (maybe the last two together).
What is your dream opera role? Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro followed closely by Manon (mainly just for the St. Sulpice duet)
Your career goals: Dreams: Sing Susanna in a cast where Dorothea Roschmann is the Countess, and become best friends with Joyce DiDonato. Goals: Be as prepared as possible for whatever opportunities and doors the Lord opens and leads me through.
Is there any interesting opera backstage story you would like to share? The most fun I have ever had back stage was during a production of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. Peabody was collaborating with the Baltimore Lyric so we were producing the show at the big Lyric Opera house downtown. Our director was fantastic and though I was just in the Ensemble, we had 5 different costume changes which meant running up and down a bunch of stairs. We started out in 1750's wigs, makeup, and dresses with the big cages underneath. Fast-forward a couple hundred years, and next we had a quick change into our 1950's brothel outfits, thigh-highs included, followed by a change into 1950's dresses, hats, and handbags. We then had to run and grab overcoats for the auction scene, and finally change back into our 1750's wigs and dresses for the finale. It was crazy music, crazy outfits, and crazy FUN!
What one word would you use to describe yourself? Intentional