Monday, January 6, 2014

Meet the District Winners 2014: Sheila Carroll

Sheila Carroll
Age 27

Aria choices for the Region Finals (subject to change)

1. Non mi dir - Don Giovanni - Mozart
2. Non so le tetre immagini - Il Corsaro - Verdi
3. Depuis le jour - Louise - Charpentier
4. I want Magic! - A Streetcar named Desire - Previn
5. Song to the Moon - Rusalka -Dvorák

Opera Idols: Tell us a little bit about yourself

Sheila Carroll: I am from a small town in central Pennsylvania called Lock Haven. I did my Bachelor's at Westminster Choir College and my Master's Degree at Manhattan School of Music and have lived in Manhattan since, a little over four years now! I also attended Juilliard Pre-college when I was in high school, and that was a formative experience for me as a musician and singer. My first full role was Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro. I've also sung Donna Anna, First Lady, Pallas Athena (Ecccles' Judgment of Paris), and Lady Billows. 

OI: When did you know you wanted to become an opera singer?

SC: When I was in elementary school I loved singing in the children's choir, so I also joined the choir in middle and high school. My parents loved musical theater and took us to see shows growing up, and we loved it too. I first came to opera through 'crossover' musical theater and artists, but once I heard opera and started studying my first art songs and arias with my first voice teacher at age 14, I never looked back. I loved the music and the poetry and I knew my voice was meant for it. It may sound strange, but though I wished then to belt out show tunes, my voice was naturally suited to opera. When I started listening to opera, I was so amazed by the music and the things these singers could do with their voices. The first opera album I was ever given was a catalog of Kirsten Flagstad's early recordings and I played it until it wouldn't play anymore!

OI: How will you be preparing for the Regionals in the next few weeks?  On the day of the auditions, do you have any rituals you follow?

SC: I will be taking voice lessons and coachings and generally trying to keep my routine the same. I will probably be more vigilant about getting good, regular exercise and sleep. As much as I love to socialize, singing and vocal rest are the perfect excuses to indulge my homebody tendencies. And like many singers, in winter rely on my humidifier, a warm scarf (or two) and a good cup of hot tea. In the week leading up to the audition I will be on a family vacation in Florida enjoying the sunshine. I'll have to be careful about having too much fun, but I'm lucky I'll be able to relax (I hope)!
On the day of, I don't have any rituals per se, but in high pressure situations like this competition, I try to concentrate on small tasks rather than live in the nervousness and anticipation of the event. When it comes down to it, my goal is to enjoy performing and do the best I can do. If I walk off the stage and feel like I had fun and gave a good representation of myself as a singer, then I'm happy. 

OI: Do you have a favorite opera, aria or composer?  Do you have any 'role models' in the opera world?

SC: It's so hard to choose favorites! I am a huge Mozart fan in general and I also love Puccini, Verdi and Rossini. My favorite opera is Le Nozze di Figaro and my favorite aria is La mamma morta. I know so many singers whose incredible talents I look up to! I love Kiri Te Kanawa, Mirella Freni, Montserrat Caballe, Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas, to name a few. I am also a huge Stephanie Blythe fan and lucky for me she often performs in New York. I've seen her sing full productions of Wagner and Handel operas in the same week with stunning singing, drama and style!

OI: What would your dream role be?

SC: It was always a dream of mine to sing Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, and two years ago I finally got to do it. It was my first full length role with orchestra, and it certainly was a dream come true. Going forward, there are so many! One day, I would love to sing Manon in Puccini's Manon Lescaut. I would also love to sing Blanche in Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire and Vanessa in Barber's Vanessa.

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