Readers, if you’re like the folks on our Opera Canada team, you have a running list of questions that you’d love to ask your favourite Canadian operatic artists. So, we’re asking. In our series of interviews, called Shop Talk, we’re checking in with Canada’s singers, directors, conductors, and more, to ask them some of our most pressing curiosities. Next up: Shop Talk with star Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta:
What’s an onstage memory that you’ll have forever?
“I think I just had my most memorable onstage experience in the opera I performed last month in Lyon (June 2021). It was Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires, directed by Yaron Lifschitz of Circa Contemporary Circus. Naturally, working with a company of circus acrobats, I asked them nicely to let me join in the fun and perform a mini trapeze act during one of my scenes. I will truly never forget it! I’ve been DYING to fly in a show since I was a kid. It always seemed that everyone else I worked with got to fly on stage, but it was never my turn. Well, now I’ve had my turn and it was a big yes from me. Such fun.
What would you consider a great opera for someone’s first time seeing one?
“I know it’s cliché, but Bohème is really perfect. It’s not too long, with a simple storyline, beautiful and recognizable melodies, and identifiable characters. It was my first opera, and it worked for me!”
If you could do any other job in opera – singer, conductor, director, stage manager, designer, etc. – which would it be?
“I would enjoy being a follow-spot operator! I’ve actually done it once, for a production of Lucretia in Aspen, and it really did it for me.”
Who’s on your opera roles bucket list?
“Ariodante, Tancredi, Romeo, Komponist, Stephano, Niklausse, and Meg or Jo (Little Women).”
What’s something tricky about singing in English that non-singers might not think of?
“All the dipthongs & tripthongs, and also navigating the many and varied accents in English!”
Readers, which Canadian artists do you want to see featured in our Shop Talk interview series? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.