10 Questions with Kathryn Smith

Our newly appointed general director Kathryn Smith won’t officially start until July 1st, but we thought it’d be fun to get to know her a little bit better in the interim. Here are her answers to ten questions we recently sent her way:

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Seattle

Q: When did you first attend a live opera, and what was it?
A: I think it was either Porgy and Bess at age six or seven, or Rigoletto (in English) at eight or nine.  I remember that the latter bored me.

Q: It’s not fair, but I have to ask:  who are your top 3 favorite composers?
A: Mozart, Schubert, and Cole Porter.

Q: What are your top 3 favorite operas, if you had to choose? This is a desert island scenario.
A: Le Nozze di Figaro, Carmen, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann.

Q: What is the last book you read that you’d recommend to a friend?
A: I read all of Dorothy Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries this year – a surprising lapse in my education – so I’d recommend any of them.

Q: Who is your favorite non-classical, non-opera musical artist?
A: Judy Garland or Fred Astaire (and I do consider him a musical artist)

Q: Can you name one of the highlights from your time at the Met?
A: Just one?  The first time you set foot on the stage is unforgettable, and so is the first time someone cancels an hour before curtain.  Plus I heard so many incredible performances, from Natalie Dessay’s first Met Zerbinetta to Hei-Kyung Hong in just about anything, and Bryn Terfel and Ferruccio Furlanetto playfully negotiating a platform that rose out of the stage an act too early in Don Giovanni.

Q: What are you most proud of achieving at Tacoma Opera?
A: Growing a company that was truly connected to its community, using mostly Northwest-based singers to present operas that a company of our budget size had no business producing, like Le Comte Ory and Faust.

Q: What intrigues you most about moving to the city of Madison?
A: Learning to drive in the snow.

Q: After spending a week with Madison Opera during our rehearsal process for La Traviata, what are you most excited about in joining our company?
A: Every individual I met, whether audience member or stage crew, told me how much Madison Opera meant to them.  Joining a company and a community that cares that deeply is a very exciting prospect, as it means we all want to do great things together. 

Thanks, Kathryn – we’re all looking forward to working with you, and perhaps lending some snow-driving tips along the way!

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Benjamin Taylor

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