MYOpera BLOG

Alumni Spotlight – Alyson Spina

Alyson Spina played Columbine in MYOpera’s Triple Bill in April 2013.

Alyson Spina magicien-5

Alyson Spina as Columbine in MYOpera’s Triple Bill, April 2013

 

Where are you from? Sudbury, Ontario.

Where do you currently live? New York City

What’s your favourite MYOpera memory? Playing a marionette! So fun. It hardly goes without saying, though I will say it (!), that the administrative staff at MYOpera were amazing with us. They were so supportive and encouraging wih the singers, and never hesitated to give us their attentions when we needed it. Not every company is like that.

What role did MYOpera play in your career/life? It was my first professional opera gig. I was fresh out my Master of Music degree in Opera Performance at the University of Toronto.

What have you been doing since MYOpera? I have since completed my Artist Diploma at the Aaron Copland School of Music here in New York, and have been going back and forth between Canada and the USA to sing for various shows and concerts since!

What’s your favourite opera (to watch/listen to)? Oo, that’s a hard one. I tend to like Mozart, comedies, lighter ltalian, some French.. I just saw a great production of Le Nozze di Figaro last night at Sarasota Opera. At risk of sounding cliche, since you’re hardly ever hard-pressed to find a place not performing Le Nozze, I’d still have to say it’s one of my all-time favourites.

What’s your guilty pleasure song (any genre)? Oldies, classic rock, jazz, Broadway. I just compiled a new playlist a few days ago called Happy Together. The Beach Boys, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Monkees, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald. I like feel-good music! Favourite song right now? Every Day, by Buddy Holly. Last week it was When The Ship Comes In, by Peter, Paul & Mary. Next week it’s going to be I Got You, Babe, by Sonny and a Cher.

Traveling is always an adventure! What’s your favourite/most memorable travel experience? I would have to say Switzerland. The hills are alive! I was there for the 2013 Verbier Music Festival. Incredible musical experience, and an unbelievable setting in which to have it. Hiking in the Swiss Alps was pretty surreal for me. One of the things I found so interesting is the fact that you’ll find water running in wider streams the further up you are, but as you progress downwards the water splits into smaller streams. These streams are all headed for their own town below. Each stream is the water supply for their own designated place below. So neat! An Eco ‘System’ for sure.

Do you have a signature dish/meal that you make? Tell us about it! I haven’t made it in awhile, but I do make a mean Thai green curry chicken. I’d say it use to be one of my big signature dishes. Of course, I am definitely capable of whipping up a classic Italian pasta dish (and variations of it)!

Singers/Artists are busy people! What’s your favourite snack when you’re on the go? A banana! Bananas are amazing in so many ways. If there’s a juice/smoothie bar nearby, that’s always my preference if I don’t have anything else packed! Super nutritious, packed with energy, and light as a feather.

Alumni Spotlight – Stephanie Tritchew

Stephanie Tritchew played The Witch in the MYOpera production of Hansel & Gretel in April 2014

IMG_49282

Stephanie Tritchew as The Witch in MYOpera’s Hansel & Gretel, April 2014 Photo: Greg King

Where are you from? I am originally from St. Catharines, Ontario

Where do you currently live? I currently live in Calgary, Alberta

What’s your favourite MYOpera memory? When I was in MYOpera, my castmate Ally and I were both preparing for the Eckhardt Gramatte competition and we were singing in MYOpera’s Hansel and Gretel. My favourite memory was being backstage and eating cotton candy and gummy candies (prop food–sorry!!) whilst trying to cram contemporary music into our brains

What role did MYOpera play in your career/life? MYOpera was great for me for a few reasons. Firstly, being a young artist, it’s always amazing to have stage experience and another role to include on my resume. I was very busy during the production time, so it really challenged my time management. I found our production useful because it was unconventional, and it’s always really useful and interesting to work with a director’s new concept. And lastly, as a young mezzo, I don’t get much opportunity to sing German opera. It was really challenging from a memory standpoint but also, the witch’s part is very wordy. Singing a lot of fast German was tough!

What have you been doing since MYOpera? After MYOpera, I competed in the Eckhardt Gramatte competition, went on tour with The Bicycle Opera Project and I am currently an Emerging Artist with Calgary Opera.

What’s your favourite opera (to watch/listen to)? Hard question! If I can only choose one, I think maybe Dialogues des Carmelites by Poulenc.

What’s your guilty pleasure song (any genre)? Also a hard question! My answer always changes but right now I’m loving Anthony’s Song (Movin’ Out!) by Billy Joel, Papa Don’t Preach by Madonna and All About the Bass by Meghan Trainor.

Traveling is always an adventure! What’s your favourite/most memorable travel experience? My absolute most favourite travel experience was spending 2 months in Italy during the summer of 2012. Probably the best summer of my life.

Do you have a signature dish/meal that you make? Tell us about it! I love making appetizers! When I was 18, I worked as a hostess at Montanas Cookhouse and I used to get antijitos after every shift. Since I only made like $10/hr. and only got 50% off food, I was spending quite a lot of money on antijitos. I had this really cool manager who felt bad and photocopied the spec sheet for me. So I make those for every event and mine are better than Montanas (if I do say so myself).

Singers/Artists are busy people! What’s your favourite snack when you’re on the go? I’ll eat pretty much anything as long as I have a tea or coffee!

Alumni Spotlight – Laura Brandt

Laura Brandt was Parasha in MYOpera’s Triple Bill, April 2013.

Laura Brandt (McLean) mavra-1

Laura Brandt as Parasha in MYOpera’s Triple Bill, April 2013

Where are you from? I’m originally from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Where do you currently live? I’m currently a member of the emerging artists at Calgary opera and living there.

What’s your favourite MYOpera memory? Favorite MYopera memory is doing our performances together at the crescent school!

What role did MYOpera play in your career/life? MYopera helped keep me busy and gave me a project to focus on during one of those scary transitional times after grad school. I was also new to Toronto and it helped me to connect with other artists in the city!

What have you been doing since MYOpera? Since MYopera I’ve been an emerging artist with Calgary Opera. It’s been an awesome opportunity to learn from the great singers, conductors, and directors who come through, and continue to build my skills and repertoire. I’ll be making my mainstage debut with them this spring as Frasquita in Carmen.

What’s your favourite opera (to watch/listen to)? Favorite opera has to be one of the hardest questions. One of my top two is definitely Salome, and then I love watching Traviata. Last season Calgary Opera did Der Fliegende Holländer and that also became an unexpected favorite.

What’s your guilty pleasure song (any genre)? Right now I’m obsessed with watching the video for Blank Space by Taylor Swift

Traveling is always an adventure! What’s your favourite/most memorable travel experience? Maybe not the best memory but certainly most memorable was when I was doing a summer program in Italy and ended up in hospital with an infection…. I learned so many weird Italian words trying to describe my symptoms and find the right medication. I wrote postcards from a wheelchair while hooked up to an IV. I felt completely nauseous and was writing stuff like ‘having a great time in Italy’

Do you have a signature dish/meal that you make? Tell us about it! Umm I make really good jambalaya? I’m trying to become a better home cook all the time!

Singers/Artists are busy people! What’s your favourite snack when you’re on the go? I try to drink lots of water, my guilty pleasure snack is chips!