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Q & A with Mezzo-Soprano Kira Dills-DeSurra


Kira Dills-DeSurra alongside the Opera Colorado Refrain and Orchestra within the 2022 manufacturing of Cavalleria rusiticana. Picture: Opera Colorado/Matthew Staver

By: Jennifer Colgan

Opera Colorado’s fortieth Anniversary Season kicks off with a spectacular semi-staged manufacturing of Cavalleria rusticana.  If you’re a longtime Opera Colorado attendee, you’ll acknowledge a number of faces on stage, together with mezzo-soprano Kira Dills-DeSurra as Lola. Kira has carried out in a number of Opera Colorado productions going again to 2018. Study a bit about her historical past with the corporate and why she is trying ahead to this particular efficiency of Cavalleria rusticana.

Be a part of us September 10 at 7:00 p.m. for Cavalleria rusticana and mezzo-soprano Kira Dills-DeSurra’s efficiency. Tickets begin at simply $39>>

 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR HISTORY WITH OPERA COLORADO.

I used to be one in all Opera Colorado’s Artists in Residence from 2018 via 2020. I had the privilege of working with the corporate for 2 seasons—my second was in the course of the pandemic. Loads of corporations needed to let their artists go, and it was wonderful that Opera Colorado maintained our contracts and housing and made certain that we had been taken care of throughout that point. They actually look out for their very own.

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS FROM YOUR TIME WITH OPERA COLORADO?

Kira Dills-DeSurra sits facing the right, in costume as Gertrude Stein.
Kira Dills-DeSurra, mezzo-soprano, performs in After Life by Tom Cipullo on the Kirkland Museum in 2019. Picture: Opera Colorado/Kelly Maxwell

Do I ever! It’s so onerous as a result of there are such a lot of, from mainstage to neighborhood performances. An enormous one was After Life by Tom Cipullo on the Kirkland Museum. I performed Gertrude Stein, who has a autopsy reunion with Picasso, they usually speak about their lives and relationships round World Struggle II. It ties into the Holocaust and the way their artwork may need helped or harm what was occurring on the time. It was an attention-grabbing piece, and Tom Cipullo himself attended. I like new work and respect that Opera Colorado seeks to inform tales in new and revolutionary methods.

Kira Dills-DeSurra in costume as Cherubino
Kira Dills-DeSurra performs as Cherubino in Opera Colorado’s Scholar Matinee efficiency of The Marriage of Figaro. Picture: Opera Colorado/Jamie Kraus

Opera Colorado additionally has a tremendous efficiency alternative for its Artists in Residence referred to as the Scholar Matinee. We get to cowl greater, mainstage roles on the Ellie, with full orchestra, in a barely abridged efficiency for college kids. I obtained to try this with two roles, one in all which was my dream position of Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro. The second scholar matinee position I had the chance to play was Rosina in The Barber of Seville, which is a large endeavor. I additionally got here again within the 2021-22 Season to be featured within the Scholar Matinee for Carmen as Mercedes, who narrated this system for the youngsters!

 

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO SINCE YOUR ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE DAYS?

All through the pandemic, I’ve been capable of work greater than I believed was potential, partly due to the coaching and sources I obtained at Opera Colorado. Some roles I’ve taken on embody Frida in Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Lady within the Phrase with Central Metropolis Opera and Opera Steamboat and Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus at Central Metropolis Opera.

A pal and I additionally put collectively a program at a neighborhood gallery, BRDG Undertaking, referred to as Interaction, the place we curated a program that concerned singing and visible artwork. We recorded music, and visible artists created items primarily based on what they felt, heard, or skilled whereas listening to it. There was a gallery exhibiting all of the items of artwork—it was such a cool technique to see how folks react to opera or music otherwise. Everybody heard the identical program, and the artwork was so wildly totally different.

This summer time, Opera Colorado introduced me again for an additional very thrilling venture, a recording of Steal a Pencil for Me by Gerald Cohen and Deborah Brevoort. The unique mezzo-soprano featured in Opera Colorado’s world premiere of the manufacturing had one other contract, so that they requested me if I used to be . It was simply such a tremendous expertise. I had by no means completed an expert recording earlier than.

 

THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME SINGING LOLA. WHAT IS YOUR PREPARATION PROCESS FOR A NEW ROLE?

Kira Dills-DeSurra causing drama as Lola in Cavalleria rusticana
Kira Dills-DeSurra performs the position of Lola in Opera Colorado’s 2022 manufacturing of Cavalleria rusticana.
Picture: Opera Colorado/Matthew Staver

First, I look to see if there’s any supply materials that the libretto relies on. I contemplate myself a storyteller, and I prefer to get acquainted with the character in any manner I can. I additionally actually like to dig into the rating. One of many first issues I do is tab and spotlight my components, then I am going again via and translate the entire opera. I take heed to the entire piece with the libretto and ensure I perceive what the complete story is. After that, I communicate the textual content like a monologue, after which I work within the rhythm and music. I additionally have a look at the orchestration to see what else the music is saying.

With Lola, it’s sort of onerous as a result of she’s not the nicest girl… she causes some drama. I work onerous at discovering what makes her human—I by no means need her to really feel like a caricature. David, the director, referred to as me previous to the present and gave me some concepts about his idea.

 

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT TO PREPARE FOR A SEMI-STAGED PERFORMANCE VERSUS A FULL PERFORMANCE?

I’ve to say, the half I’m challenged with probably the most is discovering my very own clothes! In some methods, it offers me a lot extra freedom to make Lola who I would like her to be and produce a few of Kira to that, versus somebody dressing me. Then again, it’s like while you open Netflix and have so many choices and find yourself scrolling for hours as a result of it’s an excessive amount of stress!

David is an excellent director. Regardless that it’ll be “semi-staged,” we’ll nonetheless be capable to inform the complete story. The music is so stunning, and it actually helps inform the story. The staging additionally makes it extra intimate of an expertise, and it some methods, it is going to be simpler to seek out the reality in it.

I’m additionally excited to have Ari [Pelto] on stage, to really feel the orchestration in actual time with out the delay of the pit. Seeing what Ari is like bodily and the orchestra takes it to a brand new degree. The viewers ought to be enthusiastic about this uncommon alternative to see them in motion.

Maestro Ari Pelto and the Opera Colorado Orchestra
Maestro Ari Pelto conducts the Opera Colorado Orchestra in Cavalleria rusticana (2022).
Picture: Opera Colorado/Matthew Staver

IS THERE ANYTHING THE AUDIENCE SHOULD LISTEN OR WATCH FOR IN CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA? ANYTHING YOU ARE PARTICULARLY EXCITED ABOUT?

The Intermezzo is so stunning. A lot of the story is instructed within the orchestration together with the singing, and the orchestra is sort of like its personal character.

I am so excited to work with two powerhouse mezzos I’ve been a fan of for my entire profession, Catherine Martin and Catherine Prepare dinner. That is such an incredible group of individuals that may have nice chemistry, particularly with David facilitating. Regardless that it’s a brief opera, the viewers will really feel one thing for all these characters, and that’s what artwork is about.

FINAL THOUGHTS?

It’s so fantastic to be introduced again to Opera Colorado, an organization that invested in me and believes in me. This can be an electrical efficiency I hope nobody misses as a result of I feel folks can be speaking about it for some time. Blissful Birthday, Opera Colorado!

 

Be a part of us September 10 at 7:00 p.m. for Cavalleria rusticana and mezzo-soprano Kira Dills-DeSurra’s efficiency. Tickets begin at simply $39.>>

 

What questions would you ask Kira? Have you ever ever seen a semi-staged manufacturing earlier than? What are you most trying ahead to seeing or listening to in Cavalleria rusticana?

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