Montreal mezzo Rose Naggar-Tremblay: featured artist of the 2017 Halifax Summer Opera Festival

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Carmen in Bizet’s Carmen

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“Carmen was always my dream role. I feel blessed to be able to sing it for the first time this summer.”

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

I was born and raised in Montreal. I’ve always wanted to sing but growing up I wanted to be a songwriter. I got interested in opera when I was 12 years old. I loved theatre back then, and my piano teacher realized that my voice was naturally “placed” in a high lyrical resonance. She encouraged me to try out voice lessons. I fell in love with the repertoire and kept on studying it ever since.

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

I had to beg the voice teacher of my music school to take me in at 12 years old. I started in her choir but after insisting for weeks she agreed to give me lessons. It was a bit early because my voice was not fully developed yet, but I couldn’t wait.

I just finished my undergraduate degree at McGill University and I’ll be joining l’Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal in the fall.

What came first for you, theatre or music?

I grew up playing the piano and going often to the theatre to see my aunt play. I joined improvisation leagues, choirs, drama clubs and all kinds of talent show as soon as they would let me. My love for music and theatre grew simultaneously.

What are your dream roles?

Carmen was always my dream role. I feel blessed to be able to sing it for the first time this summer. She is just such a complete character. She is fireworks, constantly surprising you with her dancing and her playfulness but also her courage and her tragic soul. I also love to sing in my mother-tongue, it feels more connected that way.

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

I wish I could be a soprano just to sing Norma.

Who are your favourite performing artists?

If I am studying a piece, I will listen to Maria Callas for the musicality, Joyce Didonato for the interpretation, Maureen Forrester for the sheer beauty of her voice. On my free time I mostly listen to Quebec’s songwriters. It is the modern day’s way to consume poetry.

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 we need to recognize how mentalities were back then and discuss it with the public via panels, program notes or even blogs (why not?). I don’t think we should try to change the works, it would be like denying that these issues ever existed. Instead we should try to understand where they came from. I think the operatic world has much to look forward to, with the new generation of brilliant composers and librettists and performing artists.

What are you most looking forward to about this summer?

I am looking forward to work on my dream role for the first time, and meet a new team of artists. I am also just looking forward to breathe the fresh sea air. I just can’t wait to be there!

Thanks, Rose!

Are you a participant or staff member this year? Why not submit your own answers to our questionnaire!

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