Category Archives: profiles

Glimmerglass Festival offers greenery, melody—magic

Glimmerglass Festival

The 2014 Glimmerglass Festival Season kicks off on July 11 with my favorite opera Madame Butterfly

Tucked into the rolling hills of Central New York State, edged into the western tip of Lake Otsego, lies an opera experience—the Glimmerglass Festival—pairing artistry and aspiration, elegance and enterprise, greenery and gravitas.

Nathan Gunn as Sir Lancelot

Nathan Gunn sang Sir Lancelot in last season’s “Camelot”

Like swallows to Capistrano, happy patrons return to Glimmerglass season after season to enjoy professional opera, informative talks and lectures, and a growing roster of programs both educational and entertaining in relaxed, comfortable surroundings.

The Glimmerglass Festival has the humblest of origins. It began in 1975 as the Glimmerglass Opera Theater housed in a local high school auditorium. In the intervening years, it has amassed an impressive number of supporters and abundant resources—capital and artistic. Within one generation it transformed itself into a summertime destination where opera lovers can enjoy the most sophisticated of art forms in an atmosphere of pastoral beauty. In 1988, they added a Young Artists program providing performance experience and advanced training for dozens of emerging singers. That’s in addition to gainful employment for hundreds of professionals who make their living in the performing and classical arts.

Abby speaks with Cat Hennessy, a draper forThe Music Man | Photo: William M. Brown/The Glimmerglass Festival

Glimmerglass’s Abby Rodd speaks with Cat Hennessy, a draper for ‘The Music Man’ | Photo: William M. Brown/The Glimmerglass Festival

Glimmerglass is nestled into 26 acres of farmland. The grounds are dotted with a half dozen or more outbuildings including performance spaces, a scene shop, costume barn, wardrobe trailers, and an administrative pavilion. The physical layout of the campus all around you serves as a tangible reminder that it takes a village to produce opera, something we tend to forget whenever we filter our opera experience solely through selected principals’ performances, i.e., whether the tenor hits all his top C’s.

The costume shop wall at Glimmerglass--an organizer's dream

The costume shop wall at Glimmerglass–an organizer’s dream

The centerpiece of the Glimmerglass experience is the Alice Busch Opera Theater, towering stories over the landscape’s rolling hills, with barnlike lines and neutral colors complementing rather than clashing with the natural setting. Inside, however, is housed an acoustically engineered, state-of-the-art theater designed expressly for opera performance that rivals and (in some cases) betters big city venues. The 914-seat theater, which opened in 1987, is the first built specifically for opera performance since the Metropolitan Opera Theater in Lincoln Center was completed in 1966.

Despite the fact that the theater is one-quarter the size of the Met, you still might want to bring along opera glasses if you enjoy seeing close-ups of the performers. The audience seating is generously raked, providing great sightlines and ample legroom but ultimately more distance between the house and the stage. Also, the theater isn’t climate controlled. They use fans to cool things down and blankets to warm you up. It can get unseasonably cold and rainy in Central New York during any summer month, so you might want to bring a wrap or dress in layers.

Before performances and during intermission, festival concessions are available and include hearty salads and wraps (even vegan items), snacks, and ice cream, just outside the theater. Beverages include a range of wines and beers, including local brews and varietals worth sampling. New York State wines are often compared favorably to those grown in the German Rhine. Festival goers may enjoy picnicking on the grounds before evening shows and after matinees. And in the event you forgot your picnic basket, one local restaurant delivers. Whether you buy a meal there or bring it in, you can avail yourself of the plentiful spaces set aside for al fresco dining—from café tables to benches to picnic tables situated under a large canvas tent.

Last season's Gents Night Out at Meet Me at the Pavilion was a tremendous showcase--memorable and fun.

Last season’s Gents Night Out at Meet Me at the Pavilion was a tremendous showcase–memorable and fun.

If you are considering a trip to Glimmerglass, a name derived from James Fenimore Cooper’s description of Lake Otsego in Leatherstocking Tales, plan to spend several days in Central New York. You need at least three to four days to take in all the productions Glimmerglass offers in repertory (for exactly that purpose). Fleshing out this year’s mainstage schedule are a growing number of informative opera events and recitals including “Showtalks” on and around the festival grounds and a new “Meet Me at the Pavilion” series of special performances showcasing this year’s Artist in Residence Deborah Voigt as well as other guest artists. There’s also a world-class museum in nearby Cooperstown—the Baseball Hall of Fame (which includes the American history of cricket)—as well as boutiques, baseball-kitsch shopping, and café- and fine-dining in and around the museum.

If you favor lakeside lodging, hotels and motels line the shore of Lake Otsego, roughly nine miles long from tip to tip. Some lovely restaurants operate lakeside, too, affording scenic views of the lake while dining. Numerous B&B’s in the region are worth investigating. Many are an easy commute to the festival grounds while possessing more charm and actually costing less than more popular chain motels.

Cooperstown, New York, is a charming place to shop or even window shop

Cooperstown, New York, is a charming place to shop or even window shop

Walking shoes are a must for Cooperstown where’s there’s limited parking within city limits but good public trolley service. You may also be more comfortable wearing your Keds  to the opera, too, especially if you’ve trekked to the middle of a shady grove for your pre-performance picnic. Since there’s no dress code at Glimmerglass, people don everything from walking shorts and sandals to shifts and high-heels. However, if you get caught in a midsummer cloudburst, it’s a hike from the parking areas across the front lawn to the theater entrance, so you might want to pack a pair of boots. For those who can’t make such a trek (elderly or handicapped patrons), they offer golf cart shuttle services between the theater and the parking areas.

From the moment you pull into one of the gravel parking lots until the last note the orchestra sounds, literally hundreds of people have worked long and hard, months before you arrive, to deliver the entertainment experience at Glimmerglass. Since they’re all professionals or devoted volunteers, you’re not likely to see them sweat. Unless, of course, you take the free backstage tour. You’ll be amazed at the hours of artistry, the pluck, the pure perspiration that must be invested for every second on stage.


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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Festival Opera, North American Opera, profiles

Singer Sunday: an operatic family on a Germanic quest

Opera family: Ross, Jenny and kids

Tenor Ross David Crutchlow is a 6’2” red-headed baritone turned Heldentenor with a booming voice, an infectious laugh, and a huge presence.  Soprano Jenny Millsap is his graceful, demure wife, who is anything but demure when popping off high Fs in her dramatic coloratura roles.

Ross and Jenny have worked in opera, operetta, and musical theater in New York and across the United States.  They have two children – a very active two year old and a perpetually happy eight  month old.

Not every American family would cross the Atlantic to German-speaking Europe to sing there. But then Ross and Jenny aren’t your typical American family.  They are highly enterprising, too, and are using the very popular Kickstarter to fund-raise for their audition trip.

That’s why I’ve invited Ross and Jenny to stop in at Operatoonity today: to tell you more about their dreams and inspire you to support their project. Welcome Ross and Jenny!

How did you meet?

Jenny: We were doing Gilbert & Sullivan in NYC together.  I had been in the company for a couple of years and already knew everyone.  Ross was new.  I wanted to make him feel comfortable, so I made a point of being friendly and talkative with him.  It didn’t hurt that he was easy on the eyes!

Ross: Yeah, she kept following me around, so I figured I’d ask her out.

Jenny: And the fairy tale began!

Is it hard being married to another opera singer?

Jenny: In some ways yes, in some no.  The financial instability is hard.  But that’s true for any freelancer in the United States, really.  It’s an entrepreneurial way of living, which of course is a lot tougher in the arts than probably any other business.  We’ve been lucky enough to be able to work together from time to time, but we’ve also been separated due to gigs.  That’s always hard.

Ross: What’s really great about being married to another singer, though, is the support we give each other.  She knows my voice inside and out and I know hers.  We can say to each other, hey – that phrase sounded a little off, try this.  And it’s better.  We also get what the other one is going through as far as the psychological demands of auditioning and performing.  We can help each other in ways in which non-singers just wouldn’t be able to.

What’s it like having kids while being professional singers?

Soprano Jenny Millsap

Jenny:  Ha!  Well, there’s not much sleep, that’s for sure!  I remember that I used to make a point of getting a lot of sleep before big performances or auditions in my pre-kids days.  Now I just make sure I get a lot of coffee!

Ross: I think I worry a lot more.  Before Jenny and I became parents, I didn’t think about the future so much or the long-term implications of my decisions professionally.  Now I do.  I have to.

Jenny: But the kids are really great.  We used to take Ewan (our two year old) with us to our rehearsals and coachings.  He would crawl around on the floor, watching and listening.  His first time in a green room at a performance was when he was five months old!  He still loves to hear us practice, and sometimes he conducts us!  Nathaniel (our baby) is not as big a fan of opera as Ewan is.  He cries when we sing loudly, so we try to practice when he’s sleeping!

Ross: It’s a lot to juggle, honestly, but both our singing and are kids are vital parts of our lives.  I can’t imagine life without both.

Germany seems like a big step.  What made you decide to head to Europe?

Heldontenor Ross David Crutchlow

Ross: Partly, it’s the repertoire we sing.  I sing primarily Wagner.  Jenny sings mainly Mozart.  We both feel if we want to really do justice to this music, we need to immerse ourselves in the language and culture that made it.  I don’t think we’ll ever feel like we truly understand these two composers as long as we are on this side of the ocean.  We really need to be in Germany.

Jenny: And part of it is very practical – it’s easier for two singing parents to sing and still raise a family over there than here.  It’s a smaller geographical area with a lot more productions –

Ross: And a lot more Wagner!

Jenny: Yeah, no kidding.  About 300 performances to the 30 that are done in the US.  And the German culture is just a lot more artist- and family-friendly.

So, you would stay over there?

Jenny: Initially, yes.  If one or both of us are fortunate enough to get a contract, we’d stay for 5-10 years.  We want a long enough stay to really feel like we soaked up as much as we can musically.

Ross: Long-term, we would like to come back to the US and use what we learn from the Germans about how they program, promote and perform opera to help revitalize interest in the art form here – particularly German opera.

Jenny: Mozart has always been seen as accessible even for people who don’t speak German or Italian.  But Wagner – well, unless you’re an opera aficionado, chances are you’ve never heard or seen a Wagner opera.  We’d like to change that.

Ross: I mean, seriously – The Avengers is popular.  Wagner is not that far away!

Jenny as Kathie in "The Student Prince"

What do you do when you’re not onstage or wrangling your two boys?

Jenny: I cook.  For me, it’s a no pressure artistic pursuit that ends in eating.  What could be a better hobby for a singer?

Ross: I hate to admit it, but video games.  It’s my down time and it keeps me sane.

Where can people go if they want to contribute to your Kickstarter campaign?

Jenny:  Our campaign is “Jenny & Ross: To Sing in Germany”.  Just click!  We’ve got some nice rewards for our backers, and we’re open to suggestions for new rewards, too.

Ross as the Pirate King in "The Pirates of Penzance"

Ross:  If you want to find out more about us as singers, Jenny has a website, and so do I.

Jenny:  We also have Facebook fan pages, if you want the latest updates about our singing:  Here’s mine.  And here’s Ross’s.

Ross: And if you can’t contribute financially, we would still very much appreciate everyone spreading the word!

* * *

So there you have it. With a point and click, you can help this talented family immerse themselves in the artistic field they love and in which they were born to succeed. But you better hurry. Their Kickstarter deadline is June 28.

Good luck, Jenny and Ross! We look forward to an update someday from across the pond.


Filed under 21st Century Opera, Best of Operatoonity, fund-raising in opera, profiles, Q&A, Singer Sunday, sopranos, tenors, Uncategorized

Opera singers, aria ready to go pro? You need this book!

Here’s a one-question quiz for classically trained singers: Who is the product, the company, and the person who *really* manages your business?

(Here’s a hint: it’s someone you’ve known all your life, no matter how old you are.)

Artist and author Carol Kirkpatrick believes it’s you, opera singer extraordinaire. And she knows of what she speaks. She’s thrilled audiences and critics alike throughout Europe and North America during her professional career as a dramatic soprano. You can read more about Carol’s background here.

And she has stopped by to do a little Q&A,  to tell you that it’s your responsibility to build your career while learning how make prudent use of your time, energy, and money in the second edition of her handbook for opera singers:

ARIA READY by Carol Kirkpatrick
The Business of Singing

All-New Second Edition of the Acclaimed Career Guide for Singers
ISBN 978-0-97705-240-0, paperback, 304 pages, including index

Welcome to, Carol. Aria ready for my questions? All righty then.

Q. Who is most likely to benefit from this book?

A. Anyone interested in pursuing a career as a singer or musician from high school through to professional singers.  It is also important for teachers, coaches, apprentice programs, summer music programs, opera guilds, etc., who are interested in giving their students the best foundation they can for building a career in singing. My book not only tells you what needs to be done to prepare for and enter the professional world of Opera, but you are given step by step instructions on how to get there. First you have to know the name of the game you are playing, then you need to know the rules, but most importantly, you need to know how the game is played.

Q. What resources were available to you when you were launching your singing career?

A. At University sad to say, there just wasn’t much available especially where I grew up and where I went to school. And I think that was pretty much the case unless you were involved in a more metropolitan city where they had Schools of Music like Juilliard, Curtis, Indiana School of Music, etc. I really didn’t know what I was getting into which was an interesting experience. The first opera I ever saw, I was singing in, with the likes of Corelli, Tebaldi, etc., with the San Francisco Opera!

Q. What are some things you wished you would have known when you embarked on your career?

A. I had no idea of how a career was built, or what I needed to be thinking about to prepare myself for a career. My career just sort of rolled me along which was OK, but if I had been more conscious of what needed tending to, I would have spent more time on creating and maintaining relationships and networked on purpose.

Q. This is the second edition. What prompted the update? Technology or something else?

A. All of the above. The 1st edition helped me put together my Aria Ready Bootcamps, and I called them that because they were grueling and demanding in ways that always surprised those who signed up for them. Everyone expected the same ole, same ole when they came but what they got was not only what to do, but how exactly how to do it. The singers also went through a process that gave each participant the opportunity to create a Personal Mission Statement that got rid of a lot of the old behaviors that were not creative or useful. This new way of thinking and representing themselves gave them a foundation on which to build their careers and live their lives going forward. It allowed them to become more of who they were each and every day and express that through example. Working through that process and as I got better and better at honing it down to its essence, I realized that much of this new, updated and expanded material needed a place to be; thus the 2nd edition of my book.

Q. Isn’t developing one’s Personal Brand a lifelong journey? It may be critical, but how is it possible for someone launching a career in classical performance to become that self-aware at such a young age?

A. Of course developing one’s Personal Brand is a lifelong journey. Rarely do others spend enough time on helping those wanting to launch a career in classical performance, to dig deep into and really get to know that person inside the singer. To me this is of paramount importance and should start from an early age. Yes, growth and change is always happening, but when you understand how you are wired internally, what your inner systems, patterns and traits are and how that colors and influences your choices, it illuminates the “why” to many of the questions, doubts, anxieties and insecurities we have about ourselves. And once we can accept that, it gives us permission to allow others to be their unique and authentic selves as well.

Q. Is there a shortage of practical advice for singers? Are training programs long on artistry but short on industry?

A. Yes is the answer to both questions.  I have found that most training programs tell you only what to do. The singer gets motivated and excited about what is talked about, goes home and tries to take some kind of action on that information, but because no one ever gives these singers the “how to” part of the equation, they feel like they must be stupid, because they can’t make it happen so they stop trying. They are so hungry for real, honest, and practical information that answers the question how you do it and why.

Q. Who is likely to be more successful? A singer with loads of talent who isn’t grounded or a singer with less talent but with more self-awareness (stronger personal brand?)

A. In the long run it will be the singer with less talent (they still need to have a solid vocal technique) but with more self-awareness, a stronger personal brand if it is authentic and genuine. Having a singing career takes so much more than having a beautiful voice. If you watch “The Voice” or “American Idol” you always hear the judges and coaches talking about making it real, about getting into the emotion of the song and lyrics and letting the audience feel that. That is always a big part of getting your foot in the door, which means you have to have much more self-awareness, that inner mind-body connection to one’s self. That also requires a strong sense of self worth, feeling comfortable with who you are thus being free to express emotionally and musically the story, because we are after all, story tellers. And you also have to understand the business aspects needed in getting you to where you want to go.

Q. Don’t the spoils always go to the most talented, the virtuosos?

A. No, they don’t! Most people want to be transported to a different place, a different time, and have a front row seat into someone else’s period of time and life. I have been to performances where the singing has been absolutely spot on technically, but boring because it was all about making beautiful sounds only. I have also been to performances where every cast member transported me to that other time and place, and I felt a bit guilty because I was so up close and personal watching others’ struggles, joys, anger, pity, love, etc. It swept me away. Of course, the best would be to have amazing voices with great vocal technique and the ability to take the audience on a journey like this. And that is why we continue to go to performances, because we want to find more of that!

Q. What about reviews, particularly critical reviews and reviews that are not constructive? Any macro advice about handling reviews in the long-term?

A. When I was just starting out in this industry, I was told by several amazing singers that the best way to handle reviews was to either not read any of them or to collect them without reading them, put them away for 6 months to a year, then take them out, read them and only look at those specific things that were mentioned by more than one reviewer. You could either do something about it if you felt it had merit or not. Then put them in the trash. It is, after all, just one person’s opinion and if you continue to get work, you must be doing something right.

Q. What are some key takeaways about a professional career in opera performance that your book offers?

A. This is an excerpt from the forward to my book by Matthew Epstein: “The vocal study, artistic decisions, self-discipline, teaching, marketing, and audition process are all carefully analyzed, and detailed advice is given on a wide range of crucial matters, in the complex and often confusing progressions needed to arrive at a professional career in classical singing. Our field is very old-fashioned, in its personal requirements, not, surely, a path of instant gratification, and this book shows very powerfully the needs of patience, hard work and self-assessment required for the beginning of a career.”

Q. Where can readers get your book?

A. You can go to my web site, or

Q. What’s next?

A. I have just been asked to be part of an ongoing blog on Classical Singer’s Auditions Plus Blog so watch for me there. You can also sign up for my free monthly newsletter on my web site. I have a pretty full schedule with a very select vocal studio and do lots of consultations.

My newest project has been prompted by so many requests from Music Schools, Universities, Apprentice Programs, Summer Programs, etc. for my Aria Ready Bootcamps. So in response, I am now busy putting the final touches on my program to train Certified Facilitators of the Aria Ready Process (Bootcamps) in North America and Europe so we can meet these demands for teaching the Personal Skills and Business Aspects needed to build a singing career.

I also wanted to say that I have had the adventure of a lifetime with my singing, teaching and writing career. Now it is time for me to give back and I am doing just that as a Mentor through all that I do. Thanks to all of you for a great ride.

* * *

You can sign up for Carol’s newsletter here. And you can also become a fan of Aria Ready on Facebook.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Books, Careers in opera, Interviews, profiles, Q&A

catching up with soprano Julia Katherine Walsh on Singer Sunday

Soprano Julia Katherine Walsh

Soprano Julia Katherine Walsh grew up in Berks County, Pennsylvania, where I was also born and raised. In fact, the first time I met Julia, she had come home to Reading to sing at historic Trinity Church last summer, a program I reviewed here.

She sings Richard Strauss as if she was born to it. She is also known for her interpretations of Mozart and Rossini, which showcase her characterization and her voice. This young singer is bubbling over with talent and personality.

Once you connect with Julia, she’ll reach across the globe to stay in touch, as she has with me. She graciously offered to provide a singing review of my opera-themed backstage comedy DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, which you can view here.

So, it is a great pleasure for me personally, to welcome Julia back to, and find out how she is faring, transplanted halfway around the world in Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

Can you tell me a little about your childhood? How did you grow up and how did it affect your decision to sing opera?
As a child I was always singing, my Mother tells me.  Even when I was a year to two years of age, apparently I could already sing children’s songs that she sang to me (maybe not with perfect words but . . . ) that all to say- my Mom noticed that I had a musical talent.  I actually decided to sing opera, funnily enough, without first knowing what it really was.  I was in third grade and in spelling class and my teacher kept yelling at me for humming.  Eventually it got to the point where she had to call my Mom about it, because every time she yelled at me, I wasn’t aware I was doing it, so I just started up again and the problem persisted.  Well, from this phone call my Mom realized that 1) I was bored or else I wouldn’t be unconsciously humming only in spelling class, and 2) my musical talent needed to be nurtured in a more structured way.

So, it was my mom who discovered the Berks Classical Children’s Chorus and its director at the time, Donald Hinkle, and got me to audition for participation in the choir and also for his church’s children’s choir at Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Reading.  She also was instrumental in getting the school district to find and supply a tutor for me during spelling class, so that I could work on harder words while the rest of the class learned the normal spelling words.  So, I actually decided I wanted to be an ‘opera singer’ after hearing someone say it once when we were (with BCCC) performing the St. Matthew Passion with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and I thought, “Being paid to sing for the rest of my life? Sounds like the job for me!” So, that was pretty much how I decided. Only once I was in my junior year of high school and preparing for my upcoming college auditions, did it really dawn on me how much work and how much MONEY it took to actually become an opera singer.  (Money actually more than work, sometimes- much to my dismay and frustration.)

Dortmund, Germany, where Julia now lives

Have you liked being in Germany? How long will you stay in Germany? Why did you relocate there?
I like Germany a lot.  I plan on staying here indefinitely until I receive my next engagement, and then, I’ll go where that happens to be.  At this point, I still have to remain very flexible and not ‘settle down’ too much anywhere really, because I never know where I’ll be for the next year, few months, and even the coming week, sometimes.  I actually decided to make Germany my home base for a while now because I am at a transitional point in my life (my formal education is finished, I worked and lived in New York for a while, my boyfriend lives here) and I thought simply, “This might be the best time to do something like this, and if nothing else, at least I’ll be fluent in German and have experienced a totally different way of living than what I was used to in the USA, and that can never be a bad thing.”

Julia Katherine

Any updates on new roles/achievements that have you excited?
I am excited to be singing this July the role of Konstanze with Oper Schloss Laubach in Mozart’s Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail.  It will be my first time singing the role, my second professional engagement in Germany, and the people who direct the program and with whom I get to work have thus far been really lovely and have extraordinary credentials musically speaking, so I am really excited to work on the role with them this summer!

What has been the greatest thrill in your career thus far? Greatest challenge?
The biggest thrill thus far for me actually happened last summer when I realized that my career as an opera singer is finally something that I believe can really happen- 100%, and that I am ready for the challenges it presents and that I am capable enough to overcome them and be successful in this field.  That feeling was simply amazing and I actually experienced it through my participation in Joan Dornemann’s IVAI in Virginia and through singing my first leading role as Rosine in Der Barbier von Sevilla in Bad Orb, Germany.  Those two experiences were the greatest thrills thus far, and also the greatest challenges.  They required so much of me physically, mentally and personally, but in the end those were the most rewarding things that I could have given to make both experiences as successful as they were.

Do you have any favorites? Composer? Opera? Role? Venue?
My favorite composer- ha!  Hard to choose between so many good ones.  I’ll give you the short list: of the composers whose works I have sung, I like Mozart and Strauss best, and of the composers whose works I haven’t yet sung I like Janacek, Rachmaninoff and Britten best.  Since I’m a huge opera fan as well as singer, I love so many operas- off the top of my head my favorites I’ve seen are: Ariadne auf Naxos (actually that’s my VERY favorite one of all-time), Peter Grimes, Die Zauberfloete, Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail, Susannah, Vanessa, Jenufa, Simon Boccanegra, Il Barbiere di Siviglia (especially the new Bart Sher production at the Met with the orange trees!), Lucia di Lammermoor, From the House of the Dead, War and Peace and Thais.

Do you miss the US? When are you coming back to States?
I do miss the USA, but perhaps because I miss the people there more than anything. I’ll be coming back to the States in the middle of May of this year and staying until the end of June.

Julia as Rosine

Are you *now*  fluent in German? What’s your favorite repertoire?
I am now fluent in German- yay!  My favorite German repertoire- definitely everything Strauss, Richard and Johann- both are wonderful.  Also Schubert is simply superb. And who can forget the Bach cantatas and Mozart’s art songs? They are also wonderful, in addition to his great German Singspiel pieces- Magic Flute and Entfuehrung.

Where would you like to be in five years? In ten years?
In five years I’d like to be married and singing at major opera houses.  In ten years I’d like to have children, some pets, still be singing internationally, have written some books, started a television network and done something to bring back the world focus to how important the arts are to everyone, and not just for those who can ‘afford’ them.

What is something most people don’t know about you, something not on your professional bio?
Hmm….that’s a tough one.  I love all animals, especially dogs and frogs, and if I weren’t an opera singer I think I’d open my own zoo, or simply have a ton of pets.  I also love to write, but if you read my blog, you could have already guessed that one!

* * *

Julia blogs at Opera Singing in Germany and Other Adventures. You can follow her on Twitter @operadventuress or friend her on Facebook. More information about Julia is available at her website.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Performers, profiles, Q&A, Singer Sunday, sopranos

bywords for year’s end on Operatoonity? profiles galore! boasted lots of new interviews and profiles in 2011.

Why, you may be asking?

To my mind, interviews comprise the Best of 2011, for many reasons. For one, I love meeting and talking to performers and other stakeholders in the opera/classical world. For another reason, artists in the thick of auditioning, performing, and training lead interesting and varied lives, often around the world.

Profiles are my modest way of rewarding those enmeshed in a difficult, challenging profession with a little more face time in cyberspace. I also have made some enduring relationships and truly meaningful friendships reaching out to opera singers/opera bloggers/artists in related industries and entrepreneurs.

I added an editorial calendar in 2011, which I plan to use again in 2012, because it greatly helped me anticipate and prepare future content. Next year, I’ll have a new editorial calendar with high hopes of doing even more profiles and interviews.

So . . . who all was profiled on in 2011? Thankfully, loads more artists carved out time to talk with me than during Operatoonity’s first year in cyberspace. Some of the artists or their publicists (sometimes their girlfriends) reached out to me. Some I found (okay–stalked) on Twitter. Get ready for a robust list:


Craig Philip Price (February 3)  – get to know bass-bari OperaCraig

Andrew Stuckey (February 21) – meet bari ‘Andrew’ Stuckey

Michael Adair (April 5) – meet @barihunk Michael Adair and Operaplot’s second chair


Michelle Trovato (April 3) – get to know Michelle Trovato, lyric coloratura

Alison Trainer (April 11) – meet Alison Trainer, sparkling coloratura

Samantha Jade Ash (April 13) – meet Samantha Jade Ash, opera lover and opera hopeful

La Toya Lewis (April 15) – meet La Toya Lewis, whose velvety soprano is simply delicious

Amy J. Payne (April 22) – meet Amy J. Payne, British mezzo

Marcy Richardson (April 28) – gaga for Marcy’s #operaplot (a 2011 #operaplot winner)


Nathan Granner and The American Tenors (July 4) – celebrating The American Tenors on the Fourth of July

K.E. Querns Langley (July 6) – meet a teaching tenor, K.E. Querns Langley

Eric Barry (July 8) – get to know the Pavarotti of the Panhandle, tenor Eric Barry

Mitchell Sturges (July 11) – meet @mitchthetenor

David Lomelí (July 14) – chattin’ up David Lomelí: Mexican tenor, toast of NYC!

René Barbera (August 30) – up close & personal with tenor René Barbera, 2011 Operalia triple-winner

Opera Bloggers

Opera Obsession (September 1) – opera is this erudite blogger’s obsession

David Karlin (September 3) – Bachtrack founder’s reviews and posts connect the world to live opera

Zerbinetta’s blog “Likely Impossibilities” (September 6) –  Zerbinetta’s blog, a trove of news and reviews for opera lovers

Stephen Llewellyn (September 7) – up close and personal with Stephen Llewellyn, aka Operaman, two-time #Operaplot winner

Tenor Nicholas Phan (September 9) – half Greek, Chinese. Hence his blog’s name: ‘Grecchinois’

Marion Lignana Rosenberg (September 14) – Marion’s blogs celebrate her devotion to opera greats

 Hairman at the Opera (September 20) – Cardiff ‘Hairman’ has a thing for hair and opera!

Intermezzo (September 30) – Intermezzo – an opera blogger whose actions speak louder than words

Opera Companies/Radio Stations & Recordings/Artists in Related Industries

Canadian Opera Company  (April 6, June 28)  – COC’s contest entries all dolled upCOC nabs three Dora Awards

Sheri Greenawald, Director of the San Francisco Opera and Merola Opera – (August 10) – Merola Opera: where future stars get loads of training and TLC

Opera Company of Philadelphia (September 17 ) – Opera Co. of Phila. launches ‘Carmen’ under the stars

Opera Music Broadcast (November 20) – Opera Music Broadcast, a treat for music lovers & resource for opera companies

Artist Jose Llopis (November 22) – love of opera inspires young Spaniard’s poster designs

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My sincere thanks to everyone who devoted their time to a profile/interview on this year. If you or someone you know is an artist or you know some entity related to opera would make an interesting profile subject in 2012, please contact me with more information at


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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Best of Operatoonity, Classic Opera, Interviews, North American Opera, profiles, Q&A