10 Questions with Nmon Ford

Nmon Ford

Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas 


1.  Where were you born and raised?
Born and raised in Southern California. 

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

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne.

4.  My favorite opera is…
Tough question! As of this afternoon, Verdi’s Don Carlo. 

5.  My favorite food to cook or eat is…
Cook: stir fry; Eat: Thai, Thai, Thai … 

6.  People would be surprised to know…
Art films put me straight to sleep. 

7.  If I could cruise down any river in the world, it would be … 
Colorado, maybe? 

8.  I like to binge-watch…
House of Cards.  

9.  What four people would you like to invite for a dinner party?
Jesus, Oscar Micheaux, Leontyne Price, and Prince. 

10.  Everyone should see Florencia en el Amazonas because…. 
It has gorgeous music, an interesting and easily followable story-line, and really good acting. 


11. Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer). 
Q: What’s your favorite movie? 
A: Aliens. I know every line by heart. 


Don’t miss the chance to see Nmon in the Madison Opera premiere of the beautiful Florencia en el Amazonas. Performances are April 27 & April 29 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

10 Questions with Ashraf Sewailam

Ashraf Sewailam 

Capitán in Florencia en el Amazonas 



1.  Where were you born and raised?
Cairo, Egypt – born and raised until I was 25 and came to the US to study singing. 

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
Truck driver, playing opera full-blast. 

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
Le nozze di Figaro in Arabic translation at the Cairo Opera House, March 10, 1988. I performed Bartolo and Antonio. 

4.  My favorite opera is…
…Verdi’s Falstaff. 

5.  My favorite food to cook or eat is…
I love cooking Thanksgiving food, all of it. Also, fixing Egyptian fava beans in about a dozen ways. 

6.  People would be surprised to know…
I’m the Arabic dubbing voice of Mickey Mouse, Ursula in The Little Mermaid, Louis in The Princess and the Frog, and Slim in A Bug’s Life. 

7.  If I could cruise down any river in the world, it would be … 
… the Danube, with a huge stash of Riesling.

8.  I like to binge-watch…
The West Wing, Grey’s Anatomy, Friends, Will and Grace, House of Cards, Grace and Frankie, and most recently The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. 

9.  What four people would you like to invite for a dinner party?
Verdi, President Obama, Armistead Maupin, and Aaron Sorkin. 

10.  Everyone should see Florencia en el Amazonas because…. 
It has an amazing cast singing luscious music that sounds like how Puccini’s would have evolved had he lived till now. All of this is matched by a visually scrumptious production. 

11. Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer). 
Q: What’s your secret guilty pleasure?
A: Watching and practicing belly dancing. 


Don’t miss the chance to see Ashraf in the Madison Opera premiere of the beautiful Florencia en el Amazonas. Performances are April 27 & April 29 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

10 Questions with Rachel Sterrenberg

Rachel Sterrenberg
Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas 

1.  Where were you born and raised?
I was born in South Bend, Indiana, but I was raised in a small town an hour east of Atlanta, Georgia called MADISON! 

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I think I would make a really good professional organizer! I take great care and pride in being really organized and neat.

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
In college there was a professor who was also a composer, and he wrote an opera about Abraham Lincoln that our college of music performed. I sang one of the townswomen! 

4.  My favorite opera is…
Right now (because it changes all the time), it is Massenet’s Cendrillon (the duets with Cinderella and the Prince are breathtaking), and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. I would be remiss if I didn’t name my all-time favorite Mozart though: Le Nozze di Figaro.

5.  My favorite food to cook or eat is…
Tacos! 

6.  People would be surprised to know…
I am a twin (and she is not an opera singer). 

7.  If I could cruise down any river in the world, it would be … 
…the Rhine! That area is where the Sterrenberg lineage hails from. 

8.  I like to binge-watch…

Grey’s Anatomy and Downton Abbey. 


9.  What four people would you like to invite for a dinner party?
Joyce DiDonato, Brene Brown, Barbara Hannigan, and Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford. 

10.  Everyone should see Florencia en el Amazonas because…. 
The music is breathtaking, and there are characters in the opera that I think everyone can relate to a little bit. It is a very beautiful and magical story! 

11. Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q:  Do you have any pets? 
A:  Yes! I have the cutest, most adorable Great Dane puppy named Leif. He is 8 months old and already over 100 lbs! He looks like Scooby-Doo and Marmaduke. I am a very proud dog Mom. 

Don’t miss the chance to see Rachel in the Madison Opera premiere of the beautiful Florencia en el Amazonas. Performances are April 27 and April 29 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

10 Questions with Levi Hernandez

Levi Hernandez
Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas 

1.  Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. 

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
Hard question!  Some kind of surgical tech.  Both of my siblings are in the medical field (my sister is a doctor and my brother is a nurse), so maybe I have that in me somehow. 

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
Don Giovanni in El Paso. I understudied Masetto. 

4.  My favorite opera is…
The Rake’s Progress. 

5.  My favorite food to cook or eat is…
Anything Greek! I can’t make it, but I love it. Enchiladas are my favorite to make. 

6.  People would be surprised to know…
I just recently went back to school for my Master’s degree while maintaining a career. 

7.  If I could cruise down any river in the world, it would be … 
…the Nile. I’ve always wanted to see Egypt.

8.  I like to binge-watch…

Television Españolas – TVE’s el Ministerio del Tiempo. 


9.  What four people would you like to invite for a dinner party?
J.S. Bach, Freddie Mercury, Stephen Lord, and Tom Ford – incredible minds and talents! 

10.  Everyone should see Florencia en el Amazonas because…. 
It’s an incredibly beautiful journey of this group of people who are transformed by the end of the story. The music is lush and enveloping – just gorgeous! 

Don’t miss the chance to see Levi in the Madison Opera premiere of the beautiful Florencia en el Amazonas. Performances are April 27 and April 29 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

10 Questions with Amanda Woodbury

Amanda Woodbury
Konstanze,
The Abduction from the Seraglio
1.  Where were you born and raised?
Born in Phoenix, AZ and raised in Dallas, TX.

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

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
Thaïs – in the chorus.

4.  My favorite opera is…
La Traviata.

5.  My favorite food to eat is…
Tex-Mex.

6.  People would be surprised to know…
I lived in England as a kid.

7.  If I could travel anywhere, real or fantasy, I would travel to…
Hogwarts!

8.  I like to binge-watch…
Monk, Psych, or Alias.

9.  What four people would you like to invite for a dinner party?
I have a lot of fun with my siblings so I would probably invite all four of them.

10.  Everyone should see The Abduction from the Seraglio because…. 
It has a little bit of everything! All the love and passion in this piece makes it perfect for Valentine’s Day.

11.  Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you.  
Ask me about my baby boy Peter!


Don’t miss the chance to see Amanda in the upcoming production of The Abduction from the Seraglio, Mozart’s first major success. Performances are February 9 & February 11 in Capitol Theater.  Tickets start at $25; visit madisonopera.org for more information.