Canadian soprano Kaela Bosch, featured performer with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival

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Belezza, Fedra, Ore 2 in Cavalli’s L’Egisto

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“I still regularly rock out to a couple of Veggie Tales songs and I feel no shame about it.”

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

I’m from Waterdown, Ontario. I very vaguely remember seeing The Magic Flute with my class in elementary school but there was a very long hiatus until opera came back into my life following that. I think I’m a bit of an odd duck because I actually have practically no experience in musical theatre. I didn’t grow up with any MT outside of watching The Sound of Music at my grandparent’s house. In high school, I chose to take art instead of music and so all of my musical experience was in choir and then private lessons where I was immediately drawn to western classical song. Actually, for years, my mom and sister managed to make it to all of my choir and orchestra concerts, which was pretty impressive. Even if they don’t always understand it, my entire family will always try to be there to support me. I’m very thankful for them.

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

I started studying voice in an official capacity in tenth grade after playing violin for five years. I realized that while I enjoyed the violin, singing was what I truly loved and it became my primary focus. I then began RCM exams and I took a semester off in grade twelve to homeschool and prepare for university auditions. Currently, I’m returning to Wilfrid Laurier for my Opera Diploma with Leslie Fagan and I’m thrilled to continue studying post-bachelors degree.

What are your dream roles?

I really love the role of Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo. I think her machinations and descent into madness are brilliantly written to show off the voice. She has so much stage presence and haughty composure that completely dissolves in one big moment and that dissolution fascinates me.

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

Méphistophélès. There’s just something about a good, rich bass voice that is so far from what I sing. I think that would be a tonne of fun. The character is sardonic and suave and such an interesting devil.

Who are your favourite performing artists?

I always melt listening to Jessye Norman. Always. Additionally, I love Elly Ameling and Angela Gheorghiu.

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

I still regularly rock out to a couple of Veggie Tales songs and I feel no shame about it.

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?:

In terms of racism in opera, as a white person, I think it’s important to do a lot of reading about the cultural backgrounds of pieces and eras. When there is backlash against the whitewashing of the very few roles explicitly designated for persons of colour, someone should never be able to say that they didn’t know because nobody told them. I don’t think there’s room for ignorance in this industry. It is not the job of the oppressed to teach the oppressor. I don’t have a solution to the many issues of racism in opera. I wish I did… but I have a great desire for more people to do their research and to just listen when people speak about their experiences being marginalized in opera instead of talking over it. I think opera is relevant because it deals with fundamental struggles of being human. The words from so many years ago are still applicable because it’s about humanity. Organizations like Opera on Tap and Sing for Hope are doing a great job of breaking the stigma around opera being uppity and highbrow by bringing it to accessible places. I love that. People can’t realize that opera is relevant if they have no means to go.

Thanks, Kaela!  Don’t miss the final performance of L’Egisto on Saturday evening at 7:30 pm at the Studio Theatre in the basement of the  Dalhousie Arts Centre!

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