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Speed Interview – Brenda Rae

Wed Dec 4 2013

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On 15 December, soprano Brenda Rae joins us for a concert performance of Fantasio, in association with Opera Rara.  We spoke to her about nerves and Star Trek…

How did you get into music?
It’s hard to remember a time I wasn’t into music! There was always music at home and my mom loves playing the piano, but my parents didn’t have me take lessons until I asked for it. I started taking piano lessons and singing in a choir when I was nine.

When did you realize you wanted to make music your career?
I think I was five years old! I always loved singing. I wanted to be a writer and artist for quite some time as well…

Do you still get nervous when performing?
It’s incredibly rare for me to get nervous. I used to get nervous for choir concerts when I was younger, but when I was about 14 I realized how much fun I had performing, so why ruin it by being nervous? That mentality still seems to work for me!

What has been your worst concert experience?
I tend to try and forget about those bad experiences, but a few nights ago, I had a bizarre experience! I was singing a recital in which I didn’t leave the stage for the whole recital, and after the first song, I noticed a stinging on my lip. The stinging sensation got worse and worse, and when I was finally able to leave the stage, I looked in the mirror, and saw a tiny dead spider on my lip. It had been there the whole recital! Pretty gross…

What’s special about Fantasio?
Well, I’m still getting to know the piece, since I’m jumping into this project pretty late, but what struck me right away was how much beautiful music there is! With unknown pieces, there can be a good reason they’re unknown, but this piece seems to be a real gem.

Who’s your musical hero?
Oh this is a hard question! So many different heroes for different reasons… Let’s go with Imogen Heap right now. I love her creativity and she just makes me happy!

What are you listening to at the moment?
At this very moment, Oh Land.

What was the last good film you saw?
I just watched Star Trek: Into Darkness again. I’m a sucker for sci-fi and fantasy! Plus, how can you go wrong with Benedict Cumberbatch?

If you had one piece of advice to give to aspiring artists, what would it be
Don’t try to compare yourself to other artists. One of your greatest assets is your uniqueness, and we all have our own path to take!

What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
They bring SO much life to the music! Before I wanted to be an opera singer, I wanted to be a rockstar, and when I sing with the OAE, they perform with such electrifying energy that I feel it’s not too far off from rockstar status!

Who would you most like to meet and why?
I have a bit of an irrational fear of famous people, so let’s just say Gandalf. Because wizards are awesome. Obviously.

Which book do you think everybody should read?
Umm, how about The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Send us the best photo on your phone.
This was in Santa Barbara just last week. Any gig where I get to see sunsets like this is A-ok by me!



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