Ten Questions with Eleni Calenos

Ten Questions With…

Eleni Calenos, soprano
Mimì in La Bohème




1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece.

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I would be either an instrumentalist or a music teacher.  I can’t imagine myself away from music.

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
Hansel and Gretel (as the Mother in a college production), but my first substantial role was Mimì in La Bohème.

4.  My favorite opera is…
Madama Butterfly.

5.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is…
Before the show I try to have a meal that can sustain me for the performance and is relatively easy for digestion, which is usually some meat and salad.  Post-show favorites include warm soups, salads, and tea.

6.  People would be surprised to know that…
I have a degree / diploma in cello performance.

7.  A few of my favorite books are…
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Mastery by Robert Greene, Spiritual Exercises and Captain Michalis by Nikos Kazantzakis, and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez.

8.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists / songs would we see on you recently-played list?
Estrella Morente:  Volver
Maria Callas:  “Ecco l’orrido campo” from A Masked Ball
Amy Winehouse:  Love is a Losing Game
Debussy:  Clair de lune
The Beatles:  Black Bird.

9.  What is the worst costume you’ve ever worn?
Thankfully, I have never had to wear a bad costume.  However, I had to be dressed in winter attire (pants, sweater, boots, coat, and scarf) for a contemporary version of La Bohème in an outdoor performance in a New York park in the middle of July!

10.  Everyone should see La Bohème because….
The music is gorgeous and genius, and the story is universal and always current.  I believe there won’t be a dry eye in the house.  Good enough reasons?

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  Do you have a favorite quote?
A:  One of my favorite quotes is “The heart that gives, gathers” from Lau Tzu, Tao Te Ching. 


Don’t miss the chance to see Eleni in La Bohème, one of the greatest operas of all time!  Performances are November 13 and 15 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

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