Q: What motivates you every day to keep working at your art?
A: The current state of America is what keeps me working at my art. Art is more important now than ever in a time when so many people are feeling hopeless and helpless. We can only hope to touch, move and inspire those we can through our art.
Q: How do you think opera can be made more appealing to a younger audience?
A: As a young opera singer, I think accessibility is one of the many things that will make opera more appealing to a younger audience. I grew up in a place where opera was not a part of my upbringing. Not even a little bit. It wasn’t until I joined a program that introduced me to classical music and opera in a way that I could understand that I began to explore those two worlds. Making these types of programs accessible and most importantly, affordable, is what will dictate the longevity of not only this amazing art form but others as well. I also think opera singers themselves need to be accessible to a certain degree. Many of today’s opera stars are becoming more and more involved on social media and I think if younger people see these stars as regular people, like Twitter has done in the past decade with many Hollywood stars, it will enable them to relate to not only the person but also to what they stand for as performers.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be an opera singer?
A: I knew I wanted to be an opera singer the moment I finished watching a YouTube video of Diana Damrau singing the Queen of the Night’s famous aria, “Der Hölle Rache”. I was about 15 years old. Up until that point, I loved to sing but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. Watching that video was one of the few moments in my life where something felt completely and absolutely right. I was completely and without a doubt sold on how cool and amazing opera is and I had to be involved in it. In the week after watching that video, I learned the aria German, English and I would have gotten Hungarian in there too if it weren’t for my parents complaining about all the singing!
Q: How will you be preparing for the Region Finals? On the day of a big audition, do you have any rituals you follow?
A: I’m preparing for the Region Finals by not getting too much in my head about it and psyching myself out. This is, of course, in addition to my regular voice lessons and coachings leading up to the finals. On the day of a big audition I make sure to take it easy. First thing in the morning, I snuggle with my cat, Aspen and stretch before I even get out of bed. A few hours before, I’ll warm up for no more than 15 minutes. If I’m feeling nervous in the moments leading up to the audition, I pop in my earphones and listen to Beyoncé. If you haven’t tried listening to Beyoncé while in a stressful situation, I highly recommend it!