First of all, let me say how very much I am looking forward to finally having the chance to perform with Arizona Opera! I have wanted to perform with your company for years, and am delighted that it is finally going to happen - and I have the extra luck of making my debut in such a wonderful role as Gluck's "Orpheo."
This is a role debut for me, and one that's been on my list Bucket List of Roles. I'm following in the footsteps of some legendary singers with it - Janet Baker, Kathleen Ferrier, Marilyn Horne...and I've been studying their interpretations. When approaching a new role, I like to start as early as possible and do as much research as possible, gleaning what I can from great interpreters of past years, the nuances, how they color a certain phrase or how they approach a technically demanding line. It's hard to pick a favorite interpreter of this role, but at the moment, I'd have to say Janet Baker's simplicity and sincerity move me tremendously. Her "Che faro senza Euridice" is sublime. And I would like to add that I am particularly thrilled that Christine Brandes will be my Euridice. We've worked together at New York City Opera and I am a huge fan of hers!
I'm also looking forward to being in Arizona for personal reasons. My first voice teacher, Jocelyn Reiter, taught at the University of Arizona after she left the University of Iowa, where I studied with her. I've always wanted to sing there, for her. She's the reason I became a singer at all, and I owe her so much. Because of her encouragement, I moved to Salzburg, Austria to do graduate work, started singing in the theaters here, met my husband...and wound up staying here in this beautiful city of Mozart. My husband, Eddie Bartlett, also an American, is a bassoonist in the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, so this has remained our home base. I've been one of the lucky few singers who have been able to maintain a career on both sides of the "pond" - I spend about half the season in the US (this year it's AZ and the Met) and half in Europe (Covent Garden, Amsterdam, Vienna). Apparently, all my opera travels over the years have given our daughter, Anna, the travel bug, as well; a High School Junior, she'll be spending this coming fall semester as an exchange student in Malaga, Spain. She's grown up bilingual (English/German) and, in addition to Spanish, is learning Latin, French and - get this -Ancient Greek! Yep, that's all in the Austrian public schools.
Orpheo is a difficult role and I expect rehearsals to be intense, but I do hope I get some free time to play - Any suggestions as to the "must-sees"?? Two of my husband's siblings live in Santa Fe/Taos, so I'm sure I'll have a bunch of family & friends coming over to see the shows. That may not seem close to you folks in Tucson & Phoenix, but compared to being in Salzburg, it's practically around the corner!