The Arts Desk – Thursday 16 June 2016
We are happy to announce that American soprano Katharine Dain has joined the production team for the last three performances in Europe (Paris tonight, Brussels the 22 April and Aldeburgh the 15 June)!
Katharine joined the Talent Development Programme of the Dutch National Opera (enoa member) in 2014; she holds degrees from Harvard University, the Guidhall School of Music and Drama, and Mannes College of Music and recently debuted at the Dutch National Opera in Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus. She has appeared as oratorio soloist in numerous cantatas and is also a passionate and committed chamber musician, recitalist and advocate for contemporary music.
Before starting the rehearsals at the Philharmonie de Paris, we asked her few questions:
When did you realize you were going to become a professional singer?
Although I always loved singing, I didn’t consider doing it professionally until I was twenty. In my final year of university study, I essentially had to decide if I would rather spend most of the year writing a thesis in music theory (I had a cool idea about analyzing Gesualdo and Stravinsky side by side), a thesis in composition (which I also studied at the time), or performing Fiordiligi in a student production of Così fan tutte (Mozart) – my first opera. The latter won out, and my decisions began to fall into place from there afterwards.
Who are your favorite classic, and less classic, composers?
So many that satisfy different needs (personal, musical) in my life – it’s hard even to pick a top ten! Bach’s profound rightness and balance; Handel’s exuberance and sublimity; Purcell’s dissonance; Mozart’s simultaneous pleasure and pain (in the music itself and in the singing of it!); Schubert’s transparency; Brahms’s soulfulness; Debussy’s amazing nuance and sensuality; Schoenberg’s humor and wonder, everything about Stravinsky and Poulenc. Messiaen, Strauss, Britten, Monteverdi, Cavalli, Donizetti, Barber. Gershwin, Kern, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile. I sing a lot of music by contemporary composers, and I’m particularly into Kaija Saariaho, John Adams, and George Benjamin at the moment. Just in the last year or two, I’ve had mind-blowing experiences with Nono, Szymanowski, Crumb, Vivier, Gubaïdulina, and Haydn.
How do you feel about joining the production?
It’s exciting, and it’s a big challenge! I love the huge variety of music in the show, and it’s been fun and absorbing to dig deep into these scores and video footage of previous performances, and to have a few long conversations with the music and stage directors, to try to get as close to the process as possible. My own rehearsal time is very short, so I’m extremely focused on preparation right now. After studying my colleagues’ tiniest motions on a small screen over and over, I’ll be happy to meet everyone in person and get started.
Interview done the 23rd March 2016