Corona Sérénades: Q&A with Kathryn Frady, soprano (É.-U.)

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Meet Kathryn Frady, soprano (USA), singer for Corona Serenades


The British-American soprano Kathryn Frady has worked as both a performer and director in the United States, Europe and South Africa. As executive artistic director of Marble City Opera in Knoxville, Tennessee, Kathryn has produced and directed more than 35 new productions and world premieres. Recent productions include Cold Sassy Tree at Amarillo Opera, Tosca at North Carolina Opera, The Barber of Seville and L’elisir d’amore for Wichita Grand Opera, Barber for Knoxville Opera and H.M.S. Pinafore for The Living Opera. International credits include work on Carmen for Opera Africa in Pretoria and Johannesburg, Amelia Lost with the Opera in the City Festival in London and L’elisir d’amore for the Centre for Opera Studies in Sulmona, Italy. In February Kathryn directed the premiere of an opera about Harlem Renaissance artist Beauford Delaney at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Her wide repertoire encompasses Tosca, Micaëla, the Queen of the Night and Strauss’s Four Last Songs. Kathryn holds bachelor and master degrees from the University of North Texas.

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How has the crisis affected you?

I was in Santa Fe, New Mexicao when the government began shutting things down. Our performances were in jeopardy, but the artistic director of the company worked with the governor to allow us to perform as long as there were only 50 people in the audience. They even sent a guard to count how many people entered the venue. I felt very fortunate to be able to continue with our performances! It took me about five days to travel back home because of flight issues and audition cancellations. I have had auditions and performances cancelled and postponed. I also run an opera company and am facing decisions on a daily basis of how best to move forward.

What are your five favourite operas?

So difficult to choose!

I love all Puccini operas, but Tosca is my favorite. The drama and the music go perfectly together. It basically stages itself. Act 2 is epic, dramatically and musically, start to finish.

Carmen. I love Maria Callas and her interpretive skills. She was an amazing singing actress who was principled in her artistic choices. She wanted to create and make great art in the moment, and I very much respect that.

I Pagliacci. Filled with drama, but the score is glorious. I love how the musical motives are repeated throughout.

Salome has always intrigued me. I saw it performed at the Dallas Opera and at the Metropolitan Opera starring Patricia Racette. I was on the edge of my seat. It is a role I would love to be able to perform it one day. The opera is perfect in length and the story is everything you want an opera to be.

Emmeline by Tobias Picker had a similar effect on me – and I watched it on my computer at home! It also starred Patricia Racette.

 What movies, television shows and books do you recommend?

There are some wonderful television series and movies. Some of my favorites are based on true stories: Dark WatersHarrietA Beautiful Day in the NeighborhoodBombshellRichard Jewell. A fantastic series on Netflix is Selfmade. Books: If you’re looking for something light and fun, I recommend anything by Sophie Kinsella.

Could you talk about Marble City Opera?

I actually co-founded the company in 2013 in Knoxville, Tennessee with a friend of mine who relocated soon after to California. MCO’s mission is to make opera more accessible by performing new works and traditional works in non-traditional and site-specific locations. I didn’t exactly take on the project as much as the project decided to take me on! Simply put, it was an accident! I did not set out to start or found an opera company, but my friend and I wanted to put on a show. We chose a small chamber opera, Face on the Barroom Floor and found a Fringe Festival in Atlanta to perform at. In order to raise money for our trip to Atlanta we performed at a local bar in Knoxville to sold-out audiences. The community of people who attended, along with the local newspaper and arts critic, urged us to do more, and Marble CIty Opera was born!

Why did you join CORONA Serenades?

I love the idea of sharing my gifts with people who may enjoy them and/or be cheered up by them. We are living in strange and uncertain times where many people are isolated or putting themselves at risk to help others. If I can bring them a little bit of happiness through my singing, I am excited and honoured to do so.

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

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