I was lucky enough to be asked to interview recent Cardiff winner, Jamie Barton, about her experiences as a singer and about her upcoming recital in NYC this Sunday. I had a lovely time doing the interview. Ms. Barton is a sweet and open person with a great sense of humor. She is completely down-to-earth and humble about her work, which I find quite awe-inspiring. You can learn more about her on her website.
You can find the entire interview over at my OperaRox Blog.
I've excerpted a few quotes from the interview that I believe are most helpful to young singers:
On choosing an undergraduate and graduate school: When I meet high-schoolers, people looking into going into undergrad, and I hear them saying, "I want to go to Indiana" or "I want to go to Juilliard," I say, "You know, that's fabulous, but go to a small undergrad first." I think it's really good to be able to get the experience in undergrad. If you're in a small program, they're going to have to cast you in whatever they're doing. You get a chance to grow, you get a chance to make mistakes, you get a chance to shine. And in a small school, it's like a family. That's what I had at Shorter. And then I went to IU and I had to figure my way out. That's appropriate for that time: to figure out how to fight your way to the top.
On recitals: Recitals are totally a team effort. It's not the singer standing up there and they're the one doing the performing. It is a collaboration. You're both making the music; you're both telling the story. It's vital.
On the challenge of travel: Honestly, the travel is the most difficult in almost every aspect. It's also really rewarding. I now have a worldwide network of friends. When I go on opera gigs, they're also going on opera gigs, and we meet up in random cities and get to discover the city together. We get to spend time together. That's the really wonderful part.
The difficult part is: I haven't been in my own bed since August 21st. With so much travel, especially nowadays, there's sickness. The first week that I was here [New York City] doing rehearsals for Norma, I had come directly from Australia. I was sick as a dog for the first two weeks. That's the hard part: figuring out how you're going to keep yourself healthy. It's also figuring out when you're going to see your pets and your loved ones and your stuff.
On acting: Once you start building a character on fabrication, then it seems hokey. You get really bored with it. When it's the truth, when there's something that people can connect with, that's when it's interesting. That's often really difficult. But that's the cool bit of getting to do it. That's the fun part.