Month: January 2017

Ten Questions with Rachel Sterrenberg

Ten Questions with
Rachel Sterrenberg, soprano
Chan Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird


1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born in South Bend, Indiana.  My family moved down south when I was 7 years old, so most of my growing-up years were spent in the suburban area of Atlanta, Georgia.

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I think I would be really great at professional organizing, or being a personal assistant.  I am very organized, and LOVE being organized!

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
…a piece that the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre premiered while I was getting my undergraduate degree there.  It was a piece about the early life of Abraham Lincoln and the time he spent in Kentucky.  The opera was called River of Time, composed by Joe Baber.  I sang a small comprimario role.  New works have been at the very start of my opera singing!

4.  My favorite opera is…
Well, I think this answer probably changes for singers ALL the time, but right now I am pretty obsessed with Massenet’s Thais and Britten’s Peter Grimes… Oh, and Eugene Onegin!!

5.  My favorite pre-show / post-show meal is…
I don’t have one – I will eat anything!!

6.  People would be surprised to know that
…I am a twin!  She and I are fraternal, and although we have completely opposite interests, she is my best friend in the whole world. 

7.  A few of my favorite books are
I’m a huge fan of Brené Brown, so all of her books.  The History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (although I still haven’t quite finished… It is really great!), and the Harry Potter books are always go-to’s.  Also, I just finished a super-interesting book called The Science of Yoga by William Broad.  Would definitely recommend it!

8.  I like to binge-watch…
I recently binge-watched the Netflix series The Crown about the current Queen Elizabeth’s early adult life as Queen of England…  I could not stop watching the episodes!!

9.  What four people (living or deceased) would you like to invite for a dinner party?
Joyce DiDonato, Viola Davis, my late great-aunt Dorothy, who was an opera singer (we never met), and Pope Francis.

10.  Everyone should see Charlie Parker’s Yardbird because….
The music will be buzzing in your ears for days…  When I am working on Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, it is almost impossible to get it out of my head!  Also, the singing of the rest of the cast is outstanding.  Everyone has so much fun doing this opera, and I think that translates back into the audience’s experience.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  What is your all-time favorite food?
A:  BACON.

Don’t miss the chance to see Rachel in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, the Midwest premiere of this acclaimed new opera about the legendary saxophone player.  Performances are February 10 and 12 in the Capitol Theater.  Tickets start at $25; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Ten Questions with Will Liverman

Ten Questions with
Will Liverman, baritone
Dizzy Gillespie
in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird




1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Born in Norfolk, Virginia; raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
Video game designer.

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
The Magic Flute.

4.  My favorite opera is…
Turandot.

5.  My favorite pre-show / post-show meal is…
Steak and potatoes.

6.  People would be surprised to know that
I own a truck and a cat. 

7.  A few of my favorite books are
Game of Thrones.

8.  I like to binge-watch…
Game of Thrones.

9.  What four people (living or deceased) would you like to invite for a dinner party?
Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Obama, Steve Carrell, Richard Pryor.

10.  Everyone should see Charlie Parker’s Yardbird because….
It is a very unique experience for opera newbies and aficionados alike.  I think it is a must-see!

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  Do you want to get food?
A:  Yes.

Don’t miss the chance to see Will in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, the Midwest premiere of this acclaimed new opera about the legendary saxophone player.  Performances are February 10 and 12 in the Capitol Theater.  Tickets start at $25; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Ten Questions with Krysty Swann

Ten Questions with
Krysty Swann, mezzo-soprano
Rebecca Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; raised in Detroit, Michigan.

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I would be an anthropologist and film critic.

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
Rigoletto.

4.  My favorite opera is…
Verdi’s Don Carlo.

5.  My favorite pre-show / post-show meal is…
Shake Shack burger with fries and a chocolate strawberry milkshake!!!!

6.  People would be surprised to know that
I’m a heavy metal and alternative grunge rock enthusiast – my collection is pretty sick.  Tool is my favorite band.  I play D & D. 

7.  A few of my favorite books are
The Lord of the Rings, On Fortune’s Wheel, Sense and Sensibility, and Orlando.

8.  I like to binge-watch…
Sherlock, Westworld, Penny Dreadful, and of course Game of Thrones!!

9.  What four people (living or deceased) would you like to invite for a dinner party?
Leontyne Price, Robin Williams, Salvador Dali, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

10.  Everyone should see Charlie Parker’s Yardbird because….
It’s passionate and insightful!!

Don’t miss the chance to see Krysty in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, the Midwest premiere of this acclaimed new opera about the legendary saxophone player.  Performances are February 10 and 12 in the Capitol Theater.  Tickets start at $25; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Ten Questions with Angela Mortellaro

Ten Questions with
Angela Mortellaro, soprano
Doris Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird


1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I’m from Wisconsin! I was born in Waukesha and went to high school in Brookfield. I’ve lived in Texas, Florida, Minnesota, and now I live in Chicago. 

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I must be in the arts in some capacity. It is my passion. Music, dance, art, on the stage or behind the scenes … I must be involved!

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
My first full production of an opera was Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. I loved it. 

4.  My favorite opera is…
It is very difficult to pick because every opera offers something unique and wonderful. That’s one of my favorite things about opera – the variety in music, scope, style, and voices … But I do have a special place in my heart for Massenet operas, and for La Traviata. 

5.  My favorite pre-show / post-show meal is…
People think I’m crazy, but I don’t eat before a show and I sing my best on a mostly empty stomach. I have a normal meal around 2 pm and after the show I enjoy a big meal. Probably Italian-style pizza with olio piccante and wine. 

6.  People would be surprised to know that
I’m an introvert! I am an out-going, stage-loving person who needs a lot of quiet and alone time. 

7.  A few of my favorite books are
Let the Great World Spin, Jane Eyre, and I’m about to read The Goldfinch. 

8.  I like to binge-watch…
I recently binged watched Game of Thrones, I Medici, and a bunch of science documentaries. 

9.  What four people (living or deceased) would you like to invite for a dinner party?
Frida Kahlo, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, and the Dalai Lama. 

10.  Everyone should see Charlie Parker’s Yardbird because….
It has exciting music and great singing. It is an awesome show.


Don’t miss the chance to see Angela in Charlie Parker’s Yardbirdthe Midwest premiere of this acclaimed new opera about the legendary saxophone player.  Performances are February 10 and 12 in the Capitol Theater.  Tickets start at $25; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Ten Questions with Julie Miller

Ten Questions with
Julie Miller,
mezzo soprano

Baroness Nica 
in
Charlie Parker’s Yardbird

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Sacramento, CA.

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

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea.

4.  My favorite opera is…
It is a toss-up between Madame Butterfly and Der Rosenkavelier. Madame Butterfly holds a special place in my heart because it was the first opera I ever saw, as it was my grandmother’s (childhood musical mentor) favorite, but I feel like the music in Der Rosenkavalier is unmatched. 

5.  My favorite pre-show / post-show meal is…
I’m not too picky about pre-show meals as long as they are well-balanced, but I almost always crave fried food as a post-show meal. 

6.  People would be surprised to know that
My first musical love was violin and I have a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance. I only decided to add a voice degree to my studies during my sophomore year of undergrad because I thought it would be a good addition to my music studies and a help to my violin playing. 

7.  A few of my favorite books are
Currently, at the suggestion of a friend, I’m enjoying reading several books by John le Carré. However, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, and Harry Potter are books I’m happy to read and reread.

8.  I like to binge-watch…
Reality cooking shows and criminal mysteries.

9.  What four people (living or deceased) would you like to invite for a dinner party?
Gustav Mahler, Emily Dickinson, Dame Janet Baker, and Mozart. 

10.  Everyone should see Charlie Parker’s Yardbird because….
Charlie Parker’s Yardbird is a new piece in my repertoire and I have enjoyed delving into it over the last few months. The things that I have found most compelling about it are its use of a jazz-based style, and its compelling story of a phenomenal musician and his struggle to cope with the demands of music (his first love) and real life. 

11. Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q: Why do you sing? 
A: I sing to tell a story; to strive to connect with people on a deeper level that, in my opinion, can only be achieved through music. 

Don’t miss the chance to see Julie in Charlie Parker’s Yardbirdthe Midwest premiere of this acclaimed new opera about the legendary saxophone player.  Performances are February 10 and 12 in the Capitol Theater.  Tickets start at $25; visit madisonopera.org for more information.