Canadian soprano D’Arcy Blunston, featured performer at the 2017 Halifax Summer Opera Festival

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Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen

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“One day I was singing along to the radio in the car with my mom and she turned to me and asked if taking singing lessons was something I’d be interested in”

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Where are you from? How did you first get interested in opera or musical theatre? 

I am from Grand Falls, New Brunswick. I had always enjoyed singing as a child and really it was my parents who got me into studying voice formally. One day I was singing along to the radio in the car with my mom and she turned to me and asked if taking singing lessons was something I’d be interested in. According to her my response was something along the lines of “Oh yes mommy! I’ve never wanted anything more in my life!” Even 8 year old me had it figured out apparently.

When did you start studying voice? Where are you studying now?

I started studying voice at the age of 8 and have been singing ever since. I completed my undergrad at Mount Allison in 2016 under the instruction of Dr. Vicki St. Pierre. In September of 2017 I will be starting my Master’s of Music in Opera Performance at the University of British Columbia.

What came first for you, theatre or music?

Music came first for me. I began taking piano lessons at the age of 6, and although I didn’t stick with it past high school, piano is really what got me into Music in the first place.

My first acting experience, however, came not long after, when I was in the third grade. I played Bottom in a one act adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My melodramatic, and what I’m sure was probably hilarious, death scene earned me the award of best actress at DramaFest.

Being on stage, and performing, has always been an integral part of my life.

What are your dream roles?

I think the role of Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème is a role I’d eventually like to see myself playing. It’s one of those iconic soprano roles that I think everyone dreams of playing. And, you could call it cliché, but there’s also the fact that I’ve always loved RENT the musical, which as most people know is based on La Bohème.

What arias, songs or entire roles belonging to other voice types would you like to perform?

Funny enough, a role I would love to play is Carmen, so it’s pretty exciting that I’ll be in that opera this summer, albeit singing the much more appropriate role for me!

Who are your favourite performing artists?

Literally every album Hilary Duff has ever made (Metamorphosis obviously being the best of these).

What’s the most embarrassing song on your phone/tablet/streaming playlist?

The first ever song I bought on YouTube was TikTok by K$sha, which I now regret as my first legitimate purchase of music online.

How should we as interpretive artists deal with works that are racist and/or sexist? What can be done to make opera relevant to the next generation?:

I think that a large part of being a performer of opera is coming to terms with the fact that operas are a product of their time. To accept this allows me to practice my art and do what I love without sacrificing my personal beliefs.

I also believe that since most operas are thematically rather general, making use of themes of love, loss, jealousy, etc., that it is quite easy to transplant operas from their original settings into more contemporary contexts. This is one of the more obvious ways of making opera more easily relatable to modern audiences.

What are you most looking forward to about this summer?

I’m most looking forward to singing a role that I suits me so well vocally. It’s just such a pleasure to sing. What makes this role all the more exciting is that it is a role I will be singing for years to come so learning it now is truly invaluable.

Thanks, D’Arcy!

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