When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an astronaut! Star-watching has always been a hobby of mine, and science fiction is one of my favorite genres. I even looked into the astrophysics department at UCSD when I was a freshman, because I was that serious about it, and I loved my math and astronomy classes. However, when I found out that I would need to major in physics first - I decided that it was better to just keep it as a hobby, and take writing classes instead...!
In my free time, you can usually find me...
I love to read (I usually have around 5 books going at the same time), paint (I'm currently experimenting with palette knives instead of brushes), dance flamenco, exercise my somewhat-rusty Italian, and practice yoga. I still sing, though these days it's mostly at my piano. I started riding a bike while I was in Minneapolis, as all the lakes have dedicated bike paths, and I loved discovering my town that way. I'm looking forward to riding my bike along the river in Portland!
When did you fall in love with opera?
I wasn't exposed to opera at all while I was growing up, though I played the piano. When I started singing for fun in college - I was tired of writing so many papers, and wanted a distraction - my voice teacher gave me an aria to sing. I thought that was hilarious, as I didn't know a thing about opera at the time. But the moment I started singing the aria, it did something to me that I had never experienced before - I felt an intense joy and happiness at creating this music, and using my voice in a way I'd never attempted before. It was the strangest feeling, to suddenly love this music and the act of singing, while not even knowing what I was singing about (the aria was in Italian). I knew right then that I had to find out more about opera, and what it was all about. The first full opera I ever listened to was Cavalleria Rusticana, by Mascagni. Not knowing a thing about the plot, I remember popping it into my CD player, and as soon as the music started playing, hearing those dramatic voices singing... I had goosebumps from head to toe. I never knew that just hearing music could affect one so physically and completely. Right then and there, I decided I would become an opera singer. One voice lesson changed my whole life, and I'm so glad it did. It has given me so much joy, discovering how much the voice can lift us up with beauty and joy, and I want nothing more than to help others discover this, too.