• The Exclusive Opera Lively Interview with Kate Lindsey

    Opera Lively attended in person the fabulous Festival d'Aix-en-Provence in Southern France, in the summer of 2016. We interviewed the talented and intelligent artist Kate Lindsey who sang the role of Dorabella in Christophe Honoré's daring production of Mozart's Così fan tutte. Kate's answers are very interesting!

    Our Aix-en-Provence coverage contains several interviews, articles, and reviews (including our take on this Così). We gathered all the links on a portal that can be consulted by clicking [here].

    Photo Credit Rosetta Greek

    Artist: Kate Lindsey
    Voice classification: mezzo-soprano
    Born in: Richmond, Virginia, USA, in 1981
    Recently in: Così fan tutte (Dorabella), Aix-en-Provence and
    Next in: Same role, Mostly Mozart Festival in New York City on August 15, 2016; then the world première of Songs from Typhoid Mary in Aspen, Colorado on August 19; then the same production of Così fan tutte in Edinburgh, Scotland on August 25, 27, and 28
    Website: katelindsey.com


    Artistic Biography

    Ms. Lindsey has appeared in many of the world’s prestigious opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Wiener Staatsoper, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera and Lille Opera.

    This past season that has just finished, Ms. Lindsey was at the Salzburg Festival in the role of Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. She also returnws twice to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, both as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and as Lazuli, the title character, in Chabrier's seldom performed comedy L'Étoile. In addition, Kate performed Hânsel in a brand new production of Hânsel und Gretel with the Dutch National Opera, and in March she debuted the role of Léonor in Donizetti's grand masterpiece La Favorite with the Washington Concert Opera, followed by her return to the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.

    Her repertoire among others includes Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Idamante in Idomeneo, Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Hansel in Hansel und Gretel, Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos and Nicklausse/The Muse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. She also created the title role in the premiere of Daron Hagen’s Amelia at the Seattle Opera.

    An accomplished concert singer, Ms. Lindsey sang the premiere performances of a new commission by John Harbison with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She has also appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw, Orchestre de Paris, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Met Chamber Orchestra (in Carnegie Hall), and at the Tanglewood and Mostly Mozart festivals.

    She has worked with many of the world’s most distinguished conductors including Harry Bicket, James Conlon, Emmanuelle Haïm, Thomas Hengelbrock, Vladimir Jurowski James Levine, Lorin Maazel, David Robertson, Jérémie Rohrer, and Franz Welser-Möst. In recital, she has been presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Rockefeller University in New York City.

    Ms. Lindsey starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcast of its new production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann. She was also featured in its broadcasts of La Clemenza di Tito and The Magic Flute (which was subsequently released on DVD).

    A native of Richmond, Virginia, Ms. Lindsey holds a Bachelor of Music Degree with Distinction from Indiana University and is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Her many awards include a prestigious 2011 grant from the Festival Musique et Vin au Clos Vougeot, the 2007 Richard F. Gold Career Grant, the 2007 George London Award in memory of Lloyd Rigler, the 2007 Lincoln Center Martin E. Segal Award, and a 2006 Sullivan Foundation Grant.


    The Exclusive Opera Lively Interview with Kate Lindsey

    This is our interview #202. Copyright Opera Lively; all rights reserved. Reproduction of excerpts is authorized for all purposes as long as the source is quoted and a link to the full piece is provided. Reproduction of the entire interview requires authorization - use the Contact Us form. Photos unless otherwise stated with specific credit are fair promotional use (we often do not know the names of all photographers; will be happy to include them if we are told who they are). Some of the photos were sent to Opera Lively by the Bureau de Presse of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence; authorized use.

    Luiz Gazzola for Opera Lively - Let’s talk about this production by Christophe Honoré. I haven’t seen it yet but I hear it is very risqué, moved from the Bay of Naples to the Eritrean city of Asmara. Apparently it focuses on a dissection of the ruthlessness of desire and unflinchingly examines the power relationships between the opera’s characters. It opens with Italian soldiers raping one of the native women. What’s your take on this approach to Così?

    Kate Lindsey – To be completely honest, when we first got the concept a year ago when Christophe sent out a writing about it, it was very scary. We know the Aix-en-Provence Festival. They like to really take risks and push the audience. There is something special about this festival, but it was also a bit scary to imagine having to play a racist on stage and having to engage with something that we know is there every day in life but is very hard to acknowledge. In the process what I realized – and I think I thought of it all along too – is that this is a real part of History. This isn’t a place he has made up. It is taken from a very specific time in History and from the historical reality of what was happening. In a way I don’t know that Christophe was focused on making a point to the present day audience and wagging his finger at them, but there is a truth that in various countries and various cultures we continue to colonialize other countries and impose our beliefs onto others. It is a repetitive process that is always happening. It’s amazing to really look into the way History can repeat itself from generation to generation, many times without a real acknowledgment or even depth of knowledge on how we tend to repeat ourselves in present day. In his staging he really goes for it and takes a lot of risk.

    The opening scene of the Aix Così, photo Pascal Victor

    Within the rehearsals the administration was very present because everyone knows how sensitive this approach can be and how difficult it is to present, and yet there was real support for the concept. Through six weeks of rehearsal, it really started to come to a clearer understanding for everyone, and even more, in the final week as we approached opening. We did not truly know how it would be received. The purpose was not to focus on how it would be received but to focus on being as true to the lives being lived onstage – not to over glorify, or over dramatize, but to be true to who these individuals actually are and the actions that they take within this environment.

    I said several times, when one is filming a movie, there is a certain privacy. People do very violent scenes in movies but there is a privacy in it. You shoot in a contained setting, versus being on stage in front of a live audience doing very violent things to another person. It presents a whole other level of pressure. We really had to work through that. I admire my colleagues. Everybody said “OK, if we are going to do this, we have to commit to it and put ourselves on the line.” It’s been a really intense process. It’s a situation in which you proceed without knowing exactly how it will turn out in the end, but you proceed with faith in the direction of the concept. It requires a team effort.

    OL – How did the audience react?

    KL – First night was quite interesting. People are always quite tough on the director – that was no surprise. Christophe knew that would happen. He warned us ahead of time that the opening night would probably be quite cold. I think people felt awkward applauding for things that were very uncomfortable to watch live. It is awkward to applaud something that in a way is holding a mirror to every person watching. It is hard to know how to react. It was Christophe’s risk and his commitment. He didn’t ever push us or insist in the process. He was collaborative and sensitive to what we were feeling and how we also needed to respect the music and try to make something that could still work with the music. He was gentle in the process, which was sort a surprise when I met him, because I thought as a film director he might push quite hard. The way he worked made us feel, in fact, more free to take risks.

    OL – Fabulous. Your Dorabella seems to be quite wild. In different stagings sometimes she is portrayed as shallow or ditsy, sometimes as vivacious and spontaneous and unguarded, or at other times the emphasis is on her being young and inexperienced. Please describe her psychological arc in this staging.

    KL – In this production I think that she is the one character – and this is how Christophe described her as well – who doesn’t connect with the depth of love like her counterparts. Ferrando, Guglielmo, and Fiordiligi have a concept of something a bit deeper. Even through their transgressions, they have a connection with a deeper quality of love. She doesn’t, but I don’t think it is truly a flaw for her. She just hasn’t matured into that. Firstly, let’s look at the period in which the opera was written. We have to acknowledge the lack of choices these women had in their lives. And, fittingly, this also applies to the era in which Christophe’s production takes place. These are two girls who won’t have many choices in life. This is the only chance in their lives to have a little fun and feel some liberty in their love, to have boyfriends and all of this, because in the end their futures are decided for them. I like exploring that.

    Kate and soprano Lenneke Ruiten in Aix, photo Pascal Victor

    It’s the first time I’ve sung Dorabella. I’ve avoided it for many years because I do not like how the women in so many productions are presented as such superficial, shallow characters. I don’t think of them that way. When you are young and when you are feeling passionate about someone, then you are full of that feeling, and that is not funny to the person feeling it. It is true passion and you live that fully, and it has to be honored within the characters. In this production, what these women have been taught is their belief of supremacy over others in the community. We have to acknowledge that racism is taught generation to generation. It can be transmitted to people and children unconsciously and it really does require one to take a step back in a conscious awakening in adulthood that there is a choice in a way we look at other people. Sometimes we don’t realize that we actually have a choice in our patterns – and you know this much better than I do. There is a point of breaking with what has been prescribed to us by our family tribe. I like looking at that and using it to inform the character. It doesn’t do the characters or the public any service if we don’t create these people with some depth to them; then there is no investment in understanding a shared humanity discovered within the piece, and it is really important.

    Kate as Dorabella in Aix, Photo Pascal Victor

    OL – I was about to ask you, as a modern woman how do you relate to the Dorabella character? You did answer it, in part. Do you want to add to it?

    KL – As a modern woman it’s been hard to get excited about playing this character because I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I had to play something that doesn’t have depth. It wouldn’t be fair to women. It is important to show that what these men do to the women, the trick they play, is really unkind. That in itself is really not a loving act, to do that to people you say you love is something I think is important to acknowledge in producing a staged work of this piece.

    OL – Yes, but maybe there is another way to look into this. The issue of misogyny of course comes back every time we talk about Così fan tutte. However I don’t really agree that this opera is entirely misogynistic. What Alfonso demonstrates is that if we apply to people different standards than the ones we apply to ourselves, we run into trouble. He says “everyone accuses women, but I excuse them even if they have a thousand changes of affection in a day. Some might call it a vice, others a habit, but to me it seems a necessity of the heart.” Alfonso’s message in my opinion is that we are all human. I think it’s rather an avant-garde view, for Lorenzo da Ponte’s time. What is your take on this?

    KL – I guess I’ve seen Alfonso as a little bit more sinister than that. I look at Alphonso and I think “What injury did he suffer personally that he then needs to impose this dark belief onto these young guys, and somewhat manufacture this situation?” He does manufacture the whole plan; he encourages the girls along, gets Despina, as well, to help him. The question I look at a lot with Alfonso is why does he do it? Maybe it’s not anger. From what you described maybe it’s not a level of anger but I look at him and think “He’s been really burned somehow in his life, hasn’t he? And he didn’t know how to deal with it.” Sometimes when we can’t deal with our own pain there is a subconscious way of inflicting it on others. “If it didn’t turn out well for me, you don’t deserve to be happy either.” I would say that in this production that is definitely more the way that Alfonso is perceived. It is more sinister. He is not presented as a great philosopher or a teacher as he is in other productions.

    I do think that there is an epiphany that “it’s not all women who are like that; everyone is like that; everyone lives a double standard and we have to acknowledge it within Humanity, not within just one gender.”

    OL - After all that they go through, the characters in Così are not necessarily put together again at the end. While they may try to fit back into the old molds of their lives, the experiences they’ve gone through have changed them. How do you interpret the end of Così fan tutte? What do you think would happen next to these characters, if the opera continued in real life?

    KL – I think it would be quite dysfunctional. There would be some pretty dysfunctional things going on [laughs]. In a way there is a level of maturation that does happen. It’s almost sad, like a loss of innocence, like a child that gets to that point where they get beyond believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. There is a sadness in the loss of their belief in that sort of love. It is deconstructed. I don’t think it bodes well for their relationships, but I also think that even sadder is that there is not much choice about it. In modern day we have a choice to move on and try to start again. In that time it is “Well, we make do.” That’s what I actually find most real about it. I don’t subscribe to the romanticism of saying “I wish everyone would be happy at the end.” After a ruse like that it is hard for anyone to trust anyone else. It would become relationships very much based on arrangements versus real partnership.

    OL - Conductor Iván Fischer, talking about Così fan tutte, says “everybody is seducible, all of us, regardless of what we think about our own morals.” What would you say to this?

    KL – Yeah. I think that’s right. It doesn’t mean that we have to act on seduction, but admiration, adoration, idolization, all of that can be a huge aphrodisiac for people, and it’s not really the kind that will carry you through for the long haul, but that’s usually a huge key and what starts a relationship or a seductive process. Yes, I think in a way flattery gets you everywhere because we are all pretty vulnerable; we all live with insecurities. It means a lot to have someone admire you or see that you have something special to give. Where that goes, that’s always a question. He is right in that. It is not a thing of saying “Shame on you.” In a way we find our liberation from that trap or that prison when we acknowledge what it is. I also know that it can be a very passing thing, because we can’t always rely on others to reflect back to us what we need. [laughs] It’s a very deep trap, to get ourselves into this. Being a singer myself and being a performer among others, we all know that we see that very clearly. Everyone is seducible but everyone also has a choice to be awake to it.

    OL – Very nice answer! So, back to the music. Mozart’s music in this piece has a sensual beauty. He also does ensembles in this opera at his best – this is the quintessential ensemble piece. “Soave sia il vento” is arguably one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed. Here in this staging a critic I’ll paraphrase said that the characters move in a menacing way towards the audience in a dark and flatly sung “Soave sia il vento,” Mozart’s gentle reverie becoming an anthem to a lost humanity. Do you agree with this way of seeing this production? If yes, did it change your way of singing the part? I know it’s your first Dorabella but you must have heard the opera many times, and you thought about it, of course.

    KL – Yes.

    OL – So, did this staging influence the way you sang it?

    KL – It didn’t, honestly. We were very frank in the rehearsals. We said “Christophe, this is a really important musical moment in the opera. It is really important that we let it speak for itself.” He really respected that. We tried to keep it as simple as possible. It was just the three of us getting together and blending, listening, and trying to focus on the text, make it mean something, but truly in that moment we were just respecting the beauty and genius of that musical gem. What we didn’t want to do was in any way injure that moment. That would be a little bit sacrilegious [laughs] in the world of Mozart, and we love it too much as well. And so in all honesty we didn’t think we were menacing at all in the way we looked. It is an interesting take on it, because it was truly just a moment we knew the music is what needs to lead.

    OL - Right after this and before you take the same production to Edinburgh, you’ll be singing Dorabella again at the Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC; I assume it’s a concert performance, or semi-staged.

    KL – It’s a concert, yes.

    OL - How different is it for you to sing in concert as opposed to fully staged – is it easier because you focus on the music more, or more difficult because you don’t have the acting to boost your emotions?

    KL – It is a little bit of both, I think. At this moment we need to have a discussion with Louis [Langré – the conductor at the Mostly Mozart Festival] as to what he wants, because we haven’t spoken about if we have a little bit of staging, and what we need to prepare for. If we do any staging it will be primarily improvised. I highly doubt it will have anything to do with the production we’ve just done. We would not be using any of the same concepts.

    In a way, energy-wise a concert is easier because you are not running around the stage and getting exhausted and sweaty. However, when we don’t have staging sometimes it can be easier to lose our way in the music! Staging reminds you where you are in the arc of the music. Sometimes standing there we think “oh no, am I in the first part or the second part? I don’t know where I am!” Thankfully we are in less danger of that because we’ve been working on this for two months. But it will be really nice to step back and relish in the joy of singing this opera.

    The other big difference is that we will be indoors and a pretty comfortable climate in New York inside a theater, whereas here it’s generally really, really hot when we start the show and we are working outside. The energy is going to feel very different in a theater.

    OL – OK, let’s put Così aside and focus now on your other artistic endeavors and your life. Tell us about your upcoming tour Les Chants d’Auvergne with songs by Canteloube. This is a composer who is not just limited to a certain regionalism, but he does give to this cycle a bucolic feel, with both tender and spicy melodies that incorporate a lot of humor.

    Photo Dario Acosta

    KL – Yes, I collaborated quite a lot with Thomas Hengelbrock who is an incredible conductor and a good friend. He is incredibly creative in his programing as well. He takes a lot of care and attention as to how concerts are programmed and what the theme might be. He did a lot of research into the volumes of these songs. He sent me some options and I went through them, and said “Yes, these look good” and we came up with a list. He wanted to do some things that are not sung as often. It’s going to be a really nice concert. I worked with the Orchestre de Paris once before and there is a really good energy with the group. We start in Paris and take it in tour to four or five different cities. It’s going to be a lovely concert. To be completely honest I haven’t started working on it quite yet. I’ll be getting my feet wet in the music probably in the autumn when I have some time at home to work on it. The nature of this music gives me chills; the folk tunes feel very earthy and rooted. It is lively and humorous and spicy but also there are moments that really go straight to the heart as well. It really speaks of home. It is something I want to bring out. It is nice to work with someone when you have a real artistic understanding with each other, when you have that connection, so I’m really excited to be able to do that.

    OL – Sounds exicting! In February and March you’ll be singing the main role of Sister Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Washington National Opera, with the wonderful Susah Graham as Mrs. De Rocher. I interviewed her before and she is lots of fun.

    KL – Yes!

    OL - We are very interested in contemporary opera. Have you started your preparation already?

    KL – I’m going to be preparing for that in the autumn as well. When I found out that Susan Graham would be singing, I said “Oh gosh, this is going to be incredible! She is going to be right there!” She is really nice and encouraging too, and she obviously has sung this role to great acclaim, so it will be special to be there working with her along with Francesca Zambello directing. It is a responsibility I take pretty seriously because it’s a special piece that means so much, and doing it in Washington DC which is the political hub of the United States adds even more excitement to the project. It keeps the debate alive. The death penalty is a deep human dilemma. It is important, artistically, that we don’t tell people what to think or impose our beliefs onto the audience. In general I’d prefer that we don’t tell people what to think but we give them a choice, how to react. It promotes discussion. If it promotes consideration then it’s a step in the right direction.

    OL - Songs from Typhoid Mary, that sounds intriguing. You will sing a world premiere by Mohammed Fairouz, a song cycle with the orchestra and texts by renowned poet Paul Muldoon. Fairouz, one of the most frequently performed, commissioned, and recorded composers of our time, creates a multilayered soundscape influenced by Arabic and Western idioms. Is it hard to sing? Tell us more about it.

    KL – Mohammed, the way he composed this has a very folksy sound; he really pulled it off. It’s based on Mary Mallon and her immigration from Ireland to the United States and then of course contracting typhoid without knowing about it, but everywhere she worked as a maid there were people dying. This investigator was chasing her around and trying to pin her down for this, and she was continuously trying to escape him, and couldn’t bear to think that she was responsible. Paul Muldoom, the librettist, is Irish, and he always had a fascination for Mary Mallon. He wrote a cycle for us, a long cycle of poetry which we condensed into a 20-minute song cycle with orchestra. It is interesting that when we were discussing the project, by chance the whole Ebola crisis was happening. It was this sense of thinking about what happens when, by no true malicious act of one’s own, one must be outcast and kept away from everyone. It’s a piece that is spoken through the eyes of Mary Mallon.

    OL - You starred in the film Casanova Variations with John Malkovich. Tell us about this experience.

    KL – It was a crazy experience. That was amazing. He couldn’t have been nicer, just incredible classy, gentle, very understanding colleague, for someone who has so much experience! I was terribly nervous. I told him that I was out of my comfort zone. I said to him “I know that I don’t do a lot of this spoken dialogue, so just push me; don’t worry, be tough. Help me, do whatever you need to do; I’m very happy to learn and be pushed; we don’t have that much time to shoot scenes in two or three days.” He said “Well, you haven’t heard me sing yet.” [laughs] That was a very gentle and kind ice breaker! We would shoot until three or four in the morning, sometimes, just to get it done. There was a scene where we had some dialogue with each other, do during shooting breaks that day, he came over and said “All right, do you want to run through the dialogue?” I said “Great” and did it. Another break, and we rehearsed it again. And then when we actually did the scene, everything had to move so quickly, the cameras just rolled from one scene to the next, and there was no cut. We shot the scene maybe two times, and I thought “Is that it? Maybe one more shot?” But it was incredibly surreal, really interesting to have an experience of shooting a movie. That’s why I spoke about the difference between shooting a movie scene and doing Così on stage. There is a certain privacy to that where people can go very deeply to a dark place. It is a specific point in time and then it goes to editing, and to the movie theaters. There is a real privacy and intimacy of having just the crew around, having a few shots, running things again and again.

    A scene of the movie - John Malkovich and Kate - photo credit unknown

    OL – How did you get pulled into it?

    KL – I got a message from Michael Sturminger, the director. A message from him through my website. So I said “Huh, that’s interesting” and I talked with my manager who said “Oh, yes, we know who he is.” They were in touch. It was really hard because of John Malkovich’s schedule, the shooting schedule, all of that; it was hard for them to find a time for all the singers to come. It was shot in Lisbon. A couple of times I couldn’t do it because I couldn’t run away from another project. They kept adjusting the schedule and finally it worked out. It was the month of August, very very hot. We were working in an inactive theater. Barbara Hannigan was in it, Jonas Kaufmann, Topi Lehtipuu, Anna Prohaska, it was really incredible. Most of us never saw each other because we were all shooting different scenes at different times, but it was really incredible to see the number of people who were really stepping out of their comfort zone as well.

    OL – Would you be game for doing more of that?

    KL – Yes. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but yes. Because I enjoyed it. I liked how it pushed me in a different direction. I like being pushed a bit out of my comfort zone, because it keeps things very fresh. I really would. It’s a way of flexing your muscles in a different setting, in a different way than you can on stage. There is a different feeling on stage.

    OL - Now let’s turn to you as a person so that our readers get to know you a bit more. How did opera come to be in your life, growing up?

    KL – Rather by chance. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia. I loved singing but was also passionate about playing soccer. I started when I was five years old. Whenever I got angry I started kicking my mom. She said “If you are going to be kicking something we are going to have you kick a soccer ball.” That was quite a passion for me. And then music was always very much there. When I was fifteen I was sitting next to a girl in choir class at school and she said “Have you ever thought of getting voice lessons?” I said “Gosh, why do I need voice lessons?” She said “I study with this teacher and I think you’ll really like her, but she only teaches classical music.” I said “Sure, I’ll go and I’ll try it out.” I went for a lesson, and we started with the “Twenty-four Italian Songs and Arias” book. Really basic stuff. The teacher said “Honey, you are going to come work with me.” There wasn’t really a choice in it. She said “We are going to work together.” I had no idea of the implications, the life of an opera singer. When I look back now and I realize what the odds really were, I’m not sure I would have the guts to do it. But there was a lot of encouragement there and I had a lot to learn. It really started from there, then I went to University. I feel like I’m still learning. There is so much within the repertoire, within classical music, it is such a trove of things to be able to continue to study and learn! It’s actually what is quite exciting about the work. And yeah, here I am. [laughs].

    OL - What can you tell us about your personality and your take on life?

    KL – What I try to be is focused on the moment where I am, try not to get too pulled into what’s happening and where everything is going. My general take on life is that this is a limited time offer. I want to enjoy this as much as possible. The voice, I’m very well aware that there will be a day when it won’t feel as easy. There will be changes. There will be a day when I’m not running around playing boys on stage. My take on it is enjoy it and embrace it, and live it while it is there. And then I feel like when it is over I can look back and say “I miss some of that but I have no regrets because I really let myself LIVE it.” It’s finite, and our lives are finite, and so it is really important to live in that sense of gratitude, because I feel really grateful for the ability to sing with my heart and step into other worlds . It’s just as therapeutic for me as if it is for anyone who enjoys it.

    OL – I see that you are very thoughtful. You’ve been involved in projects that ask for that, right? There is a lot going on in these projects we talked about, and you seem to really wrap your head around it and think deeply about it.

    KL – I’m really attracted to projects that really want to go into a depth of understanding, or a question. That’s really important for the public as well. It requires a lot for us to keep engaged and to ask people to engage with the art form. We have to be creative enough to go the distance and possibly put ourselves into a vulnerable situation where it might not sound perfect, it might not look perfect, but I believe in putting vanity aside and honoring either the character, the intention, or the collaboration, because it’s beyond making the career in the image of one person.

    One of my big frustrations is definitely working in an environment where people don’t have the desire to go the distance; when it’s just seen as a job and a payment. That is very disappointing to me. We sacrifice a lot in our lives to be there, and I really appreciate the level of dedication that conductors, directors, colleagues offer when we can really dive into something even if it is uncomfortable. It is important to honor what we are doing and to honor the effort that people make to come watch it, as well.

    OL - What are some of your extra-musical hobbies and interests?

    KL – In general I love doing Yoga, that’s one thing that I found that really kept me even, balanced, and able to play really physical roles. I love to read. I love reading about spiritual subjects, about the energy systems in our bodies. I listen to a lot of podcasts like Radio Lab and On Being; things that are about science and the mind, about why we do the things that we do, and how our bodies and minds process information. That stuff fascinates me. A great pastime to me is to listen to pod casts and to cross stitch. That’s my chill time. It’s time to be quiet and to allow reflection. I have a wonderful sweet dog, and I like to walk with her as well. It’s a time when I memorize music. When I walk her, and I’m thinking “How well do I know this piece?” That’s my memorization time.

    OL – Is your dog a soprano or a mezzo?

    KL – [Laughs] She’s got a powerful voice. She is definitely more in the mezzo zone and she likes to make her presence known to anyone who might be entering the vicinity. She is in charge. She is great.

    OL – Are you following the Euro championship, since you love soccer?

    KL – Oh, yeah. I was just watching France versus Iceland last night. Huge win for France. I felt a little bit sad for Iceland. I always feel a bit sad for the underdog. But I was happy at least that they got a couple of goals. I was really impressed with how far they came in this competition. I’m looking forward to watching Wales versus Portugal next!

    OL – And then there is going to be France and Germany.

    KL – That is going to be intense.

    OL – I accepted to cover another piece on Thursday and forgot about the game.

    KL – Maybe you should reschedule. I love watching these championships and the World Cup. I don’t watch a lot of football year round, but I love these tournaments.

    OL – I’m a dual citizen; I’m Italian as well, and we lost to Germany after nine penalties, on Saturday, so I was sad about that.

    KL – It was tough. I didn’t get to watch that game because we had a show. There is a sort of bar lounge next to the dressing room and people were watching it and giving us updates.

    OL – Interesting, so the opera people here enjoy soccer.

    KL – Yes.

    OL - I also like American football and I usually joke that American football is not as violent as opera.

    KL – [laughs hard] Yep! I have to agree with you on that! I cringed when you said it but you are right!

    OL – Do you have anything to add?

    KL – No. Good questions!

    OL – Your answers were great.

    Photo Rosetta Greek


    Let's listen to the mezzo in one of her signature roles of Nicklausse in Les Contes d'Hoffmann (we see her acting chops in the first two minutes, then she sings the beautiful aria "Vois sous l'archet frémissant"):


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