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Egad Fizzier Loon 

Pacific Repertory Opera reveals the secret lives of opera singers

The Marriage of Figaro is a comic opera involving several pairs of would-be lovers, some faithful, some less so, recounting their exploits on a single day in a Spanish palace. For a more extensive synopsis, look online. For insights about the habits and lives of the performers who will be bringing the characters of sweet Susanna and gallant Figaro to life, look no further. From questions insightfully generated by Pacific Repertory Opera Marketing Assistant Carolyn Mason you’ll learn that there’s a lot more to opera singers than Viking helmets and spears.

 

click to enlarge AN OPERATIC CAT FIGHT :  Marcellina (Karen Dunn) and Susanna (Angela Cadelago) aren’t above fighting for a man in The Marriage of Figaro. - PHOTO BY DENNIS SCHNEIDER
  • PHOTO BY DENNIS SCHNEIDER
  • AN OPERATIC CAT FIGHT : Marcellina (Karen Dunn) and Susanna (Angela Cadelago) aren’t above fighting for a man in The Marriage of Figaro.

Angela Cadelago, Susanna Richmond, Calif.

NEW TIMES Do you have an unusual hobby?

CADELAGO I’m an avid runner. In 2004, I ran the Napa Valley Marathon (my first) with my dad, who has run it every year since its inception.

NEW TIMES What do you like about being an opera singer?

CADELAGO It’s the ideal blend of individuality with an ensemble.

NEW TIMES Have you ever worn a hat with Viking horns?

CADELAGO It’s just not my look.

NEW TIMES Tell me two truths and a lie about yourself.

CADELAGO I’m allergic to cats, I have a twin, and I can write backwards.

 

Kristen Choi, Barbarina San Luis Obispo

NEW TIMES Do you collect anything?

CHOI I guess you could say everything, including mens’ hearts. Just kidding! I’m a pack rat and never throw anything away.

NEW TIMES What is something people would never guess about you?

CHOI I teach a hip-hop class.

NEW TIMES What do you like about being an opera singer?

CHOI It’s fun! The challenge of delivering a theatrical piece in a different language while acting is awesome.

NEW TIMES If there is one illusion you would like to dispel about opera singers, what would it be?

CHOI We’re not all huge people in Viking hats.

NEW TIMES Have you ever worn a hat with Viking horns?

CHOI Yes, but that’s because that was my school mascot in high school.

 

Karen Dunn, Marcellina Morro Bay

NEW TIMES Do you have an unusual hobby?

DUNN I like to find unusual plants. When I see one when I’m out walking I like to collect it and grow it. I love succulents they’re invincible and they have beautiful blooms.

NEW TIMES Do you collect anything besides plants?

DUNN Currently Lego toys.

NEW TIMES What do you do in your spare time?

DUNN I like to get out and surf. I haven’t been able to do it lately but the joy of finding a good babysitter who can come at a moment’s notice if the waves are good is a real blessing.

NEW TIMES What do you like about being an opera singer?

DUNN It’s all-encompassing. It works all your senses all at once. I like being able to move people with it. I was a shy kid but in opera you can be someone else and it’s exciting.

NEW TIMES If there is one illusion you would like to dispel about opera singers, what would it be?

DUNN That we’re the stereotype—standing around on stage, fat, and don’t have a life. We’re not up in the clouds. We’re like everyone else.

 

Steve Pence, Figaro Tustin, Calif.

NEW TIMES Do you collect anything?

PENCE I have a deep and abiding love for comic books. I especially like oversize, hardbound comics. I generally avoid the term graphic novel as it has come to mean comics being read by people who are ashamed of reading comics.

NEW TIMES What is the best thing you’ve ever received before, during, or after a performance?

PENCE My wife. We met during a student production of Eugene Onegin.

NEW TIMES What do you like about being an opera singer?

PENCE No one gets angry at me for being too loud.

NEW TIMES If there is one illusion you would like to dispel about opera singers, what would it be?

PENCE That we don’t like popular music. After a long day of rehearsing Mozart or Verdi, I find that Tom Waits is good for the soul.

NEW TIMES Tell me two truths and a lie about yourself.

PENCE Pineapple is my favorite fruit, coke is my favorite drink, and zombies are my favorite monster.

 

Lori Stinson, Countess Almaviva Van Nuys, Calif.

NEW TIMES Do you collect anything?

STINSON I collect vintage clothing and jewelry and I collect cookware from the 1950s (like old CorningWare). I also collect music.

NEW TIMES If there is one illusion you would like to dispel about opera singers, what would it be?

STINSON Most singers are just normal people who, at the end of the day, want to go home to friends and family, want to be home at holidays like everyone else. The problem is, the career often takes you away from these things. I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with some very famous opera singers, and they are really down to earth people with a slightly unusual profession.

NEW TIMES Have you ever worn a hat with Viking horns?

STINSON Yes. I sang for a year in the San Diego Opera ensemble. We had a show that featured German music. At one point in our show, I would come out with horns and a spear and sing “Ho Yo Yo Ho!!!” One time at a San Diego high school, I came out doing this and didn’t realize the ceiling was low. I loudly sang my Ho Yo To Ho and lifted my spear high above my head and banged the ceiling at which point pieces of it fell on my head. The kids were in an uproar as well as my colleagues on the stage.

*One of thousands of nonsensical anagrams for Le nozze di Figaro.

 

INFOBOX: Run Figaro, run

Pacific Repertory Opera will perform Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) at 8 p.m. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at the PAC. Tickets range from $12.50 for students and children to $65. To purchase tickets visit www.pacslo.org or www.propera.org or visit the PAC box office.


Arts Editor Ashley Schwellenbach wears dagger-heeled shoes. Send hats to match to aschwellenbach@newtimesslo.com.

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