Anna Parks, mezzo-soprano
Madison Opera Studio Artist
1. Where were you born / raised?
I was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but grew up in River Falls, Wisconsin. My family currently resides in De Pere, which is part of the Green Bay Area, so I guess you could say I’ve been a huge cheese head since birth.
2. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
A ghost hunter, most definitely. I‘ve always been extremely interested in the paranormal and would love to check out the most haunted places in the world! A more realistic profession would probably be a lawyer. I absolutely love the law!
3. The first opera I was ever in was…
My first full opera was probably Iolanthe by Gilbert & Sullivan with Minnesota Opera’s youth program. My first non G & S opera was The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart.
4. My favorite opera is…
At the moment, I’m obsessed with all things John Adams. I think the music in Doctor Atomic and Nixon in China is stunning. My favorite opera of all time would have to be Così fan tutte by Mozart – it’s too much fun!
5. My favorite pre/post-show meal is…
Pizza! I wish it was something more luxurious like prime rib, but I always feel like cast mates and I end up celebrating a performance with pizza.
6. People would be surprised to know that…
If my love of ghost hunting isn’t shocking enough, I would have to say… that most of my life I was a soprano. I only switched to being a mezzo a few years ago, and I love it. Not only is my voice happier, but I get to sing pants roles – how fun is that?
7. A few of my favorite books are…
My favorite book is definitely Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross, but I also love Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and all of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.
8. If we were to turn on your music-listening device right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?
This is embarrassing! I’m a huge Coldplay fan, so definitely “A Sky Full of Stars,” “Magic,” and “Clocks.” Maybe some Justin Bieber (his most recent album is so good!)… I’m also on a huge Prince kick right now, specifically when he was with The Revolution.
9. What is the worst costume you’ve ever worn? Or if no such costume, what was the best costume?
Trust me, there have been bad ones, but I love every costumer I’ve ever worked with, so I don’t want to break their hearts if they read this. I’ve had many amazing ones, too. I think my favorite was my most recent costume when I played Emperor Nero in L’Incoronazione di Poppea. I had these awesome purple pants and an amazingly long train that Poppea and I would wrap up in for the duet at the end of the opera. It was so cool!
10. Everyone should go to the opera because….
It’s so much more than its stereotype. Opera is a full experience. People love going to Broadway shows because they love being a part of a live performance. They get to be entertained and listen to amazing music. Opera embodies all of that, but you also get a history lesson and exposure to many different languages. Every story, no matter when it was written, is relatable. And thank God for supertitles, so you know what’s being sung! Opera is truly an incredible experience – you won’t regret it.
Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q: What are your influences as an artist?
A: I pull from every media. I feel like we can learn so much from every art form! I’m absolutely in love with the elegance in Degas’ ballerina paintings. I think performance artists such as Marina Abramovic have such a huge impact without even saying a word. Prince, who was a soft-spoken introvert, was so unapologetic on stage and made everyone fall in love with him – while wearing eyeliner and six-inch heels. There is so much that we can pull from as artists, not just the incredible singers before us, to help us grow and enhance our art.
Don’t miss the chance to see Anna all year long, on our mainstage and in our community. Visit madisonopera.org for more information.