Soprano Age 27
Region Finals Repertoire
Ah! douce enfant------------Cendrillon------------Massenet
Großmächtige Prinzessin------------Ariadne auf Naxos------------Strauss
I am the wife of Mao Tse-tung------------Nixon in China------------Adams
Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln------------Die Entführung aus dem Serail------------Mozart O luce di quest'anima------------Linda di Chamounix------------Donizetti
Opera Idols: Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Amy Owens: I always meet the question “where are you from?” with resistance. I usually say I’m from Wisconsin because I went to high school there and my parents live there, but most of the time I’m not really sure where to call home. I’ve moved dozens of times. For an opera singer, home is truly where the heart is—and that can be anywhere. I attended Brigham Young University for my undergraduate studies in voice, and Rice University for graduate school.
OI: When did you know you wanted to be an opera singer?
AO: There was never a moment where I thought, “yes! this is what I want to do!” The idea solidified gradually as I took one step at a time down this path. Growing up, the only thing I really wanted to be was a healer. I thought seriously about nursing school. But music seemed to come into my life almost forcefully, and it came out of me with great impulse, so there was no way I could avoid it. I have since realized that music provides healing in a way that is arguably more important than anything I could do with a nursing degree. I love everything about it.
OI: What do you enjoy most about participating in the National Council Auditions?
AO: There is an exciting energy surrounding the National Council Auditions. I love to see my colleagues and hear how they have progressed. The talent pool that gathers here is so inspiring. It gives me confidence for the future of this art form.
OI: What did you learn from your experience at the Districts?
AO: A lesson that I continue to learn, and something that was reaffirmed to me at Districts, is that there are more important things than competition. I have always performed my best or exceeded my own expectations for myself when I wasn’t thinking about the competition. Before my district audition, I was truly enjoying the company of the other musicians and facilitators around me. Everyone is simply a person. I don’t color humanity by assigning others as a “competitor” or a “networking opportunity.” The more I can sit and enjoy a few minutes with friends and strangers, the more I remember why I am singing in the first place, and then I go out and sing with purpose. Winning is a success, for sure, but the real success for me is meaningful connection with people, whether they are audience members or colleagues backstage.
OI: How will you be preparing for the Regionals?
AO: I will be very busy surrounding Regionals, so I will be prioritizing my health as I travel and perform. Singers rarely have time to focus on just one project at a time, so I will have to trust myself and the many hours of practice I have put in over the years to help me on audition day. That being said, I will also practice my repertoire everyday and have a couple of voice lessons and coachings in January to prepare. There is always more that can be done with a piece. Music cannot be stagnant, and I continue to make discoveries with my voice and with my pieces each time I practice, even if I have been doing them for years.
OI: What advice can you give future applicants?
AO: Future applicants: trust yourself. This is an important competition! Try it if you are feeling confident, but don’t stress yourself out about it. Many people try to be strategic about where they apply because they feel like they may have a better chance at advancing here or there. A lot of people told me to audition somewhere else besides NYC. I thought, “If I’m going to advance anywhere, it might as well be NYC!” Traveling to another state and scoping out the competition seemed to me a waste of time. Apply where it makes sense for you, show up, sing, and come what may.
OI: What has been your favorite performance?
AO: One of my favorite operatic experiences so far was when I performed Blonde in Abduction from the Seraglio at Utah Opera last May. It was a blast, and my costume was killer. I was pushed on a swing that was attached to the top of the ceiling, and singing sure feels free when you’re flying!
OI: Do you have a favorite opera or composer?
AO: I cannot watch La Bohème in public without embarrassing myself—I cry too much. It is just so beautiful. I love that opera, but my favorite composers are Ralph Vaughan Williams and Richard Strauss. I would love to sing Strauss every day for the rest of my life.
OI: What upcoming performances do you have planned?
AO: At the end of the month I will be traveling to Naples, Florida to perform Despina in Così fan tutte. I am thrilled that I get to go to a sunny state in the middle of winter. I am also very excited to be joining Wolf Trap Opera this summer. I performed with them as a studio artist for two summers, and my experiences there made all the difference in my career trajectory. It has always been my dream to return as a Filene artist, and that dream will be fulfilled this summer. (You can see my schedule at amyowenssoprano.com)
OI: What kind of music do you listen to when you want to relax?
AI: Honestly, when I want to relax, I prefer silence. I seem to somehow provide my own life soundtrack, and the sounds of the world around me allow me to be present and mindful. If I want to feel energized, I enjoy a good disco beat. I love to dance!