Month: April 2014

Ten Questions with Clay Hilley

Ten Questions with…









Clay Hilley, tenor
Father Grenville in Dead Man Walking





1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:

All the wonderful people I get to meet, and the places I get to travel.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
Dealing with rejection.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:

Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Chautauqua Institute’s Amphitheater. 

4. A few of my favorite films are: 

The Return of the King, Scream, The Naked Gun movies.

5. Three things I can’t live without are: 
Friends, Family, Faith

6. My number one hobby is: 
Following current events. 

7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?

Giuseppe Giacomini.

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?

Law/Politics.


9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
Turandot. 

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

There are many, but one comes to mind.  While playing King Kaspar in Amahl, I was dressed in a VERY heavy (and VERY HOT) costume.  It was so hot that I made a choice to forgo any sort of undergarment (as no one in the audience would ever be able to notice).  During the performance I noticed an air-conditioning vent in the stage floor (we were performing in a church chancel), and “altered my blocking” such that I ended up hovering over said vent, enjoying the pleasantly-cooling streams of air while actively engaged in performing. 😉

Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer)
Clay, are you available to sing the lead tenor role tonight at the MET?
A: Yeah.

See Clay in Madison Opera’s production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking April 25 and 27 at Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18!

Ten Questions with Saira Frank

Ten Questions with…










Saira Frank, soprano
Kitty Hart in Dead Man Walking






1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:

Finishing an aria or song and seeing someone in the audience who connected with my performance.  I love to sing, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of performing, but the best performances are when I can feel an energy from the audience telling me that they appreciate my work.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
To persevere.  It’s a competitive field, and for every performance high we experience, there are equal disappointments.  Lucky for me, the thrill of preforming for an audience makes it easy to forget any rejection I may encounter along the way.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:Sweeny Todd at the Lyric Opera when I was a freshman in college.  We must have sung the “I feel you, Johanna” over and over for about 6 months after seeing it.

4. A few of my favorite films are: 
Stand By Me, Perfect Harmony, The Color Purple, and Goonies.  Apparently I haven’t watched a movie since the ’80s.

5. Three things I can’t live without are: 
My morning tea, my iPhone (sadly), and the incredible support system that is my family.

6. My number one hobby is: 
Cooking, baking…anything in the kitchen.

7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
I’d love to singer lieder with Fischer Dieskau.  I have a recording of him and Schwartzkopf singing Mahler – his voice is pudding, and they make it sound like so much fun!

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I’m pretty sure I’d be an environmental lawyer.

 9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?

Funny thing about being a soprano…I feel like I get all the best roles 😉 I tease, I tease.  I’d go for one of the big dramatic baritone roles, like Rigoletto.
10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

I love playing evil, so my favorite moment was probably playing Alcina in her spooky spell-casting scene.

Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer)

*Ring, ring*
Me: Hello?
The Met: Hello, this is the Metropolitan Opera, can you fill in for our soprano tonight?

Need I say more? 😉

See Saira in Madison Opera’s production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking April 25 and 27 at Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18!
 

Ten Questions with Alan Dunbar

Ten Questions with…




Alan Dunbar, baritone
Owen Hart in Dead Man Walking


1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:

Feeling a solid connection and line of communication with the audience.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
Consistently making that connection in each performance.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:

The 2008 performance of Frigg (look them up, they’re from Finland) at the Lotus World Music Festival in Bloomington, IN.

4. A few of my favorite films are: 
Tampopo (best food movie EVER!), Top Gun, Amadeus, and Stranger Than Fiction

5. Three things I can’t live without are: 
My family, my music, and books.

6. My number one hobby is: 
My number one hobby is impossible to pick.  I like to do too many things – gardening, woodworking, cooking, home brewing, cider making, metal working, etc.  The list could go on and on…

7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
 If I could perform with any singer, it would be Fischer-Dieskau.  Not that there are too many duets for baritones, but hey, you said any singer.

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?

If I weren’t a singer I would be a luthier, building violins and guitars (which I do in my spare time)


9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
I wish I could sing Lensky because I love Eugene Onegin, and “Kuda, kuda” is one of my favorite arias.

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

My favorite moment on stage would probably be the Act II finale of Don Giovanni.  It’s such fun!

See Alan in Madison Opera’s production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking April 25 and 27 at Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18!

Ten Questions with J. Adam Shelton

Ten Questions with…








J. Adam Shelton, tenor
Howard Boucher in Dead Man Walking


1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:

I love learning something new!  There’s so much great music out there to sing that challenges every part of our brains.  Plus, I really dig all the languages and different interpretations for pieces! It truly is a versatile career! 


2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
Cold and flu season!  When your body is your instrument, a cold or the flu can knock you back a few days.


3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:
I really enjoyed seeing Linda Eder live in 2012 and meeting her afterwards.  She met the 10 of us in the lobby in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and talked for quite a while before hitting the road.  Best birthday gift EVER!
 
4. A few of my favorite films are: 
Comedies – I love to laugh! (Top 3: Drop Dead Gorgeous, Sister Act, & Young Frankenstein)

5. Three things I can’t live without are: 
My iPhone, a caramel macchiato from Starbucks, and some sunshine!

6. My number one hobby is: 
No kidding – I am really good at knitting.  Kristine McIntyre actually encouraged me during Ballo to learn a skill that revolutionized my knitting.  Otherwise, I’m becoming a great cook!

7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
BEVERLY SILLS – hands down…

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I was actually a deaf education major before I majored in music.  I learned signed English and a whole lot of ASL signs but never got to the point of learning proper ASL grammar.  I remember signs at random times, but don’t ask me to finger spell…you’ll never understand it.


9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
…..Tosca….. who wouldn’t want to take that jump after singing the whole show?
 
10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

I find myself thinking about the times I sang in Italy with my summer programs.  We were on the beach one night performing Boheme in an open air theatre.  I had the fortunate pleasure of singing Rodolfo and during “Che gelida”, I was actually able to point to the full moon hanging over the ocean while holding on to a beautiful soprano’s hand.  It was truly magical (and warm)!  I could hang out in that moment forever!

Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer)
What’s the best practical joke you’ve ever played?
I enjoy wishing people a happy birthday and seeing what kind of response it warrants from the world.  One time, I wished a friend happy birthday on Facebook while we were doing a show together (even though it wasn’t really his birthday) and a considerable number of people wished him a happy birthday on his page.  The directors caught wind of his “birthday” not knowing it was a fake and ended up buying him a cake and bringing it to the theatre!  I laughed for a solid 30 minutes, ESPECIALLY when he showed up and saw the cake.  Not all jokes end in deliciousness and probably never will!

See Adam in Madison Opera’s production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking April 25 and 27 at Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18!
 

Ten Questions with Jamie Van Eyck

Ten Questions with…

Jamie Van Eyck, mezzo-soprano
Jade Boucher in Dead Man Walking

1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:

Having the opportunity to tell a story and communicate with an audience.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
Managing the demanding schedule.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:

The Austin City Limits Festival, last year.

4. A few of my favorite films are: 
Life is Beautiful. 12 Years a Slave.

5. Three things I can’t live without are: 
As a singer: humidifier, neti pot, and lime mineral water.

6. My number one hobby is: 
Traveling.

7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
Leontyne Price!

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?

I might work in marketing or advertising.


9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
Scarpia.

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

Any moment during a performance where I feel connected with my colleagues, and everyone is relaxed and energized.
 

Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
The question – “Can I buy you a new car?” 
My answer – “Of course, thanks!”


See Jamie in Madison Opera’s production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking April 25 and 27 at Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18!