Q&A with Susannah Biller

Susannah Biller travels to the Indianola this summer for her second season with DMMO. Previously performing as Eurydice in DMMO’s 2016 production of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, Biller returns to the stage as Rosalinda in J. Strauss’s effervescent and sparkling comedy, Die Fledermaus. 

In our second artist Q&A of the 46th Festival Season, Susannah Biller answers questions about her love of onstage collaboration, her first encounter with opera at age 3, and her aspirations of being on the DIY network!

Photo credit: Dario Acosta

Q: Did you come from a musical family/when did you discover opera?
My aunt is an opera singer and was a mezzo-soprano at the Met for almost 27 years. She was performing Carmen at Cincinnati Opera and was my first show, at just the age of 3. Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared to see my aunt stabbed multiple times and was inconsolable until I knew she was okay.

Q: What is your favorite part about this role/opera?
It’s hard to pinpoint one favorite thing about this opera and role, but one major stand-out is the music. It is truly one massive ear worm and you can’t help but sing along. Robert Moody is incredibly knowledgeable about Viennese operetta, and it has been a gift having him on the podium. There’s so much comedy and it takes a great director to bring it to life. Rosalinda can usually be the more serious character, but David Gately has given me so much to work with.

Q: What are you most excited for this season?
Getting the chance to sing my first Rosalinda and watching my colleagues tear it up on stage. I learn so much from watching my friends and colleagues onstage.

Q: What is your favorite show/role you’ve ever done?
Eurydice in DMMO’s production of Orphée et Eurydice in 2016. It was such a gorgeous production with the sets, costumes, direction and truly stunning music. To me, it is my favorite production to date.

Biller as Eurydice and Jennifer Johnson Cano as Orphèe in DMMO’s 2016 Orphèe et Eurydice; PC: Michael Rolands

Q: What is your dream role? Also, if you could sing any role (regardless of fach), what would you most like to sing?
There are several dream roles and it’s hard to chose. My top choices are: Anne Trulove (Rake’s Progress), Lucia, Ilia (Idomeneo), and Giulietta (Capuletti). Regardless of fach, it would be the following: Erda from Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Charlotte in Werther, and Nick Shadow (Rake’s Progress).

Q: What other career would you have pursued if you weren’t singing?
Spray foam technician – after watching the DIY network, it seems like a great job and one that goes with my OCD tendencies.

Q: If you could have any superpower, which would you choose and why?
Ability to fly. That way I wouldn’t need to take airplanes again. Lol!

Sand hubby
Biller with her husband, Austin Kness – a former DMMO Apprentice Artist!

Fast Facts!

Hometown: Georgetown, TN
Family: Dr. Tom and Martie Biller and Bob and Linda Meier
Education/training: University of TN and Northwestern
Favorite composers: Donizetti, Stravinsky, Elgar, R Strauss, Barber
Favorite operas: Falstaff, Rake’s Progress, Rosenkavalier, Jenufa
Favorite book: Strapless, The End of Your Life Book Club
Favorite food: Tandoori Chicken, Pad Se Eew, Fried Chicken, Fried Okra
Favorite beverage: Moscow Mule, Stiegel Radner, La Croix Apricot flavor

Website: www.susannahbiller.com


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