Talking with singers: Russell BraunJanuary 26, 2016Jenna SimeonovInterview
Star baritone Russell Braun is one of Canada's favoured artists, and next month, he'll sing one of his signature roles at what he calls his home company. He has been singing Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro for twenty years, and he joins bass-baritone Josef Wagner and Canadian sopranos Jane Archibald and Erin Wall in Claus Guth's production, at the Canadian Opera Company from February 4 to 27.
Russell made time between rehearsals to chat with us about singing a layered character like the Count, and why a career as a musician is worth the challenges.
Jenna is the editor and co-creator of Schmopera.com. She's also a pianist, vocal coach, and répétiteur, and working with singers is how she fell in love with opera. Her favourite operas include Peter Grimes, Ariadne auf Naxos, Tristan und Isolde, Written on Skin, and Anna Nicole.
Talking with singers: Russell Thomas
He considers the impetus for professional singing a simple one, through those moments of encouragement as a teenager in school. Yet when asked why he still sings, Thomas nods to the freedom he finds onstage. "I could escape my own life by trying to be somebody else. And that's the reason why I still do it now, because it's the escape from all of my own baggage."Read More
Talking with singers: Jamie Barton
"This seems a bit cliché in terms of mezzo roles, but dude, throw me a Carmen. I would love to sing a Carmen. I think I would sing the pants off of her. And she's also, once again, a character who is so fascinating to me, psychologically." Barton is eager to portray opera's infamous, hedonistic femme-fatale as "someone who is not the typical body type. I think that is an envelope I would love to try and push, given the right director and the right production."Read More
Talking with singers: Christian Van Horn
Carmen will mark Van Horn's third contract with the Canadian Opera Company, and it's a place he likes to be. "It's a world-class company," he says. "It always has been, but especially in the last five years, specifically since Alexander [Neef] got here, he's really turned this into a place to be. There's not a singer in the world that doesn't want to sing at COC."Read More
Talking with singers: Luca Pisaroni
Pisaroni is quick to note that, "all operas are difficult to cast." Still, the coloratura bass-baritone Maometto is a notable departure from Rossini's fast-moving mezzos and tenors. "I could lie to you and say 'oh yeah, I love it, it's easy'," he laughs. "It's very difficult because it requires everything from you. There are low notes, high notes, coloratura, long phrases, legato, it's really challenging, all of it."Read More
Paul Appleby: telling stories at Wigmore Hall
"Most of all I am looking forward to the acoustic. I have never been to the hall but I haven’t had a conversation with a singer who has sung there who doesn’t mention how perfect a room for singing it is. But as I think about it, more importantly than the loveliness of the space I am looking forward to participating in the community of Wigmore."Read More
Talking with singers: Christine Goerke
Her bread-and-butter roles these days are large and daunting, like Elektra, Elsa, Ariadne, and Turandot. Still, Wagner's operas ask for unique standards of its singers. "I guess it's like a marathon," says Goerke, "but if you're a marathon-runner who's used to running marathons, it's just a total adrenaline rush, and it feels amazing."Read More
Talking with singers: Nicole Cabell
"There's a part of me, and every singer I know, that wants to settle down and have a normal job and a family, and all that. But then there's this other part, and I think if you don't have this, you're gonna have a hard time. There's this other part where you're really restless if you're not aways going, and having crazy adventures. *Wanderlust*, I guess. I have that in me."Read More
Talking with Singers: Jennifer Holloway
American singer Jennifer Holloway is currently in Toronto, all set to make her Canadian Opera Company debut as Donna Elvira in Dmitri Tcherniakov's production of Don Giovanni, which opens January 24th. She was kind enough to sit down with me and talk about the character of Donna Elvira, about sympathizing with the Don, and about Mozart's sense of feminism.Watch Video
Talking with Singers: Simone Osborne
Vancouver-born soprano Simone Osborne is no stranger to the stage at the Four Seasons Centre. She’s sung Oscar in Un ballo in maschera (2014), Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi (2012), Gilda in Rigoletto (2011), Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (2011), and she’s mid-run as Nannetta in the Canadian Opera Company’s current production of Falstaff.Watch Video
Interested in getting a monthly recap of all the interesting things happening in the land of opera? Sign up to our newsletter and we'll be happy to send one out to you!