Grace has been practicing opera for a decade now and she’s one of our strongest vocalists. She starred in her first world-tour opera production Pandora’s Locker and was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company and Classical FM radio station. She has won competitions and sang in 5 productions for Opera Atelier. Find out what she has to say about her amazing career.
You’ve been an opera singer for 10 years now! Did you always know you were going to be an opera singer?
My piano teacher wanted me to take singing lessons because she thought it would help me to bring out the melody more in my piano pieces. At age sixteen, when I premiered in my first starring role, I experienced delving into a character that was both similar and different from me. Pandora was a teenager, with angst and peer pressure, but the challenge was that I had to portray something I had never experienced, which was not knowing who her father was. I loved that using music to tell a story allowed me to express the emotional turmoil of the character vividly, and this was how I got hooked on opera.
What are the biggest misconceptions about opera?
One common misconception is that a successful opera career is limited to singing in a big, prominent opera house such as the MET. I have many colleagues who have fulfilling opera careers. Some of them perform regularly in opera houses in smaller cities, run a local opera company, or travel as an opera critic
Another misconception is that all opera is very serious and dramatic (think Wagner) but there are operas that are humorous and light (e.g. Mozart’s The Magic Flute)!
You’ve been pretty passionate about our foster care program. Have you had an experience similar to this before?
The mentors in my life helped me to develop a good work ethic and challenged me to achieve beyond what I thought was possible. I want to provide reliable mentorship for others and create a consistently safe environment where they can feel comfortable to ask questions and learn from mistakes.
What kind of advice do you have for young vocalists who are trying to find their voice?
Technique and story-telling are essential for the young singer to find their voice. No one will ever have the same voice as you do and no one will tell your stories as well as you can. I’d always advise to get a solid technical foundation because once you get the basics down, you can grow exponentially and prevent harming your voice.