Soprano Vanessa Vasquez, who makes her DMMO debut this summer as Liù in Turandot, answers questions about her recent win at the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, opera, family and, of course, superpowers.
Q: What was it like performing on stage at the Met during the Grand Finals? Are there any specific moments that particularly resonate/stick out?
It was one of the most nerve racking and exhilarating experiences of my entire life! I think what made it so surreal was the idea of singing on the same stage as so many opera legends that I idealize and how I tirelessly dreamed about the day I would get to sing on this exact stage! I couldn’t believe that moment had arrived, almost a decade in the making and then hearing Ms. Fleming announce my name as a winner was the ultimate gift of revitalization along this incredible journey we take as artists.
Q: What excites you most about your upcoming role debut as Liù? Have there been any surprises about the character or the music during your study of the role?
I am so thrilled to be here at DMMO singing Liù because it is my role debut and my first time in Iowa! I might be biased but I find that she has some of the most beautifully sympathetic music ever written. (Spoiler Alert) This will not be my first time dying on stage, however, I have never played a character that inflicts their own death so I am looking forward to trying it out – this may sound like an odd enjoyment but do remember that I am a soprano and we pretty much always die in the end!!
Q: Did you grow up in a musical family? When did you start singing?
I grew up in a house always filled with music, but I think it skipped a generation because my great grandmother was a soprano at her church and used to love singing along and listening to the opera greats on LP.
Q: Do you have any dream roles you’d love to sing one day?
My dream role would be to sing Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, it is arguably the most perfect opera ever written.
Q: What’s been your most memorable role (or production) to date?
I think the most memorable was singing Gilda in Rigoletto because it was a stretch role for me, I honestly didn’t really have a desire to do it but ended up falling in love with the music and its characters. I genuinely hope I get to sing it professionally one day!
Q: If you couldn’t be a singer, what other careers would you have pursued?
Well, my dad would say I should have been a lawyer because I love to argue…
But I think I would have gone into the medical field, even from a young age I always knew I wanted to heal people. My response to the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” was always: a singing doctor!
Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Time travel! It would help with character studies 🙂
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
Education: BA and MM in Voice
Favorite composer: Verdi
Favorite soprano: Galina Vishnevskya
Favorite opera: Le nozze di Figaro
Favorite book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Favorite foods: Mexican/Latin food
Favorite color: Purple/Green