“No make-up!”…. Kate Aldrich

The American mezzo soprano Kate Aldric has performed in the main worldwide theatres such as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Hamburg State Opera and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, Germany, Teatro Regio of Torino and many others. She recently gave birth to a child. Her roles include Carmen, Antoine Mariotte’s Salome, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Cesare and Sesto in Giulio Cesare, Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Arsace in Semiramide and Fenena in Nabucco, among the others.
Aldrich rose to international fame in 2002 through her starring role in the Zeffirelli production of Aida. That same year she won the CulturArte Award at the Operalia International Opera Competition, in 2006 she won the Alfréd Radok Award and the Thalia Award in the Czech Republic. For more information on her singing activity, please visit her official webiste.

Which is the main feature of your personality?
Introspective, analytical and curious.
Your worst flaw?
I can be very stubborn.
Which is your star sign?
Scorpio.
Are you superstitious?
Yes.
What did you dream to become as an adult when you were a child?
Ice skater, actress, singer (not necessarily opera, I’m not sure it would have occurred to me!).
Which are your favorite readings?
Almost anything by John Irving, Arundhati Roy, historical novels, books about cultures that I do not know, and I have a rediculous travel guide collection. I think I will start a library…
Which is the book you have loved the most so far?
I couldn’t pick just one-  A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving,  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour,  Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund, I could go on…
Did your family influence your choices?
Definitely, but when I was ready to make my own choices in life they always trusted me to take the path that I felt was right. They were incredibly supportive of my decision to go to college for music and not something more “safe” like medical school or business school.  Of course it is a chance one takes pursuing a field like music that things might not work out, but I knew if I didn’t at least try I would always wonder “what if?”…
Was music a vocation?
Yes, I think I was always drawn to it since I was very little.  I played the french horn for many years, and was actually pretty good at it at one time (don’t ask me to play now though, I have completely lost the lips for it, and I can’t play a scale without sounding like an injured elephant.) I played the piano a little bit, and the trumpet, and when I was around 16 I began to take voice lessons.  That was when I knew singing was what I wanted to do. I didn’t think opera, however just yet.  First I sang some Italian art songs with my voice teacher, and I was in a choir. Next I joined a rock band for a few years, and almost didn’t go to college to study music so that I could stay with my band. Then I went to college to study classical singing. While I was there I began to sing jazz, and I almost changed my direction of study at that point, but then I discovered opera, and I was hooked.
What’s missing in your life today?
I feel like right now in my life I have so much.  I do miss my grandmother who passed away in 2003…
The greatest disappointment?
Not being able to know all of my grandparents now that I am an adult, and hear their stories.
Which is your most cherished memory?
Most of them are quite personal, but I can tell you that i will never forget making my professional debut at the Arena di Verona in 2000, and walking out on the stage and seeing thousands and thousands of twinkling candles, and thinking, this is it; nor will I forget the experience of having taken part in Aida with Franco Zeffirelli in Busseto in 2001.  I think the ‘first time’s’ are the most memorable.
How important is money to you?
Money is only important at times when there is little of it.  When I have enough to get by comfortably, that’s all that matters to me.
Which is the item you like spending money on the most?
I have to admit it- I love clothes. I also love good food, so I like to try new restaurants while on the road.
Do you collect anything?
Nothing for the sake of having a ‘collection.’ I don’t think I will ever understand the point of collecting things just to maintain a ‘collection!’
Do you have a recurrent dream?
Not exactly, but I have recurring themes.  I remember my dreams pretty much every night, and they are wild.  One recurring theme is the end of the world.  I am on a beach, it is dusk, and I can see out over the ocean some sorts of explosions, and I know it is all over, and I just have to wait for the aftermath.  Another one is not being prepared for a job- I think a lot of singers know this dream:  I suddenly remember that I have a performances, but I realize that I don’t know the opera, and I am not in costume or make-up yet, and I have to pack a suitcase and somehow get to the theatre in a few minutes. Of course when I arrive at the theatre I hear the beginning of the music of my entrance, and I am running to stage while getting into costume; that sort of thing.
What are you afraid of the most?
I’m afraid of being out of control, and I’m afraid of feeling afraid. Obviously I have to keep both in check in this sort of business!
Which is your most ambitious dream?
Having a healthy family while continuing to do what it is I do.
The moment you felt the proudest?
When I first began singing professionally, and I realized that I was not going to have to take another non-performing job to pay the bills.
Your biggest challenge?
To continue to be able to not allow my professional life to define who I am, and maintain a healthy approach to the business without getting caught up in the anxiousness or paranoia that can understandably affect some singers.
What or who makes you feel embarrassed?
I was very shy as a little girl, and I think this is part of what drew me to a performing career, so that I could break out of that.  Now it is pretty hard to embarrass me, but not impossible.
Which is the situation you consider the most relaxing?
At home cooking.
Your favorite subject at school?
When I was younger it was music, math and reading.  I took a philosophy/theology course in college that I loved.
Favorite city?
Rome and New York.
Favorite color?
Purple.
Favorite flower?
Calla Lillies.
The holiday or the trip you’d like to take?
Thailand, Africa for safari, or Borneo to see the monkeys.
Day or night?
Night without a doubt.
Tell us your ideal day.
I’d be lying if it didn’t involve a beach and an ocean or sea with palm trees with someone I love.
Which is your hideaway?
I was raised in Maine, and my family still lives there, so I return often.  Maine is so beautiful and so unspoiled, and so much of it remains the same.  It’s really special to go home.  Plus the lobsters are great, the fish incredible, and my town has some of the best oysters in the world, bar none.
The film you love the most?
Out of Africa, The Godfather part II, Gone with the Wind, Waiting for Guffman.
Your favorite season?
Early summer and early fall.
Which is the place where cooking is the worst ever?
Where the cooking is bad, I will stay in an apartment so I can cook at home!  Of course it is cliche now to say that english food is terrible. The reality is that you can eat top level of any kind of international cuisine (Indian, Thai, Sushi, Chinese, etc) in almost any mid-size and larger city, so actually you can eat very well there if you have an open minded palate.  This is the same for the US, Canada, and most of Northern Europe.
How would you define your relation with food ?
I have a very passionate relationship with food. I love to eat, I love to try new things, I love the whole experience of dining, I love good wine, I love to cook, I love to go food shopping even.  Especially in a foreign country.  Food and I are in love.
Your favourite dish?
There is no way I could pick just one.  I love tagliatelle with ragu, almost any kind of indian curry dish,  most japanese cuisine, and a really really REALLY good burger (medium rare, blue cheese, mushrooms, please).  This is hard to find in Europe, but I have scouted out some places. When I return to the US its one of the first things I want to eat! 
The dish you cook the best?
Ok here it comes- I am about to brag. I am told I am a good cook, and I take a lot of pride in it!  Bolognese, Lentil Soup, I make a very good bruschetta which is simple, but its not, if you want it to be really good, Chicken in the oven with lemon and roasted vegetables,  Fava Beans “in Porchetta,” I make a lot of things, but I try to make something new each week so I can learn new techniques.
Red or white wine
?
Red, sometimes white in the summer.
What’s never missing in your refrigerator?
My fridge is always full of vegetables, Always rucola, carrots, and tomatoes, usually a nice layout of cheese, pear juice, when in Italy Vipiteno yougurt, when I’m in the US hummus and homemade guacamole.
What’s your weakness in kitchen?
Snacky things, like cheese, guacamole, sesame crackers (in US), pickles when I have them, but I usually don’t because I cannot stop when I begin, and there is too much salt.
What’s the soundtrack to your life?
I haven’t compiled that playlist yet. I’ll get back to you!
Your favourite singer?
Tatiana Troyanos, Eva Cassidy, Ella Fitzgerald.
What would you want someone who doesn’t know your voice to listen to?
I haven’t made that recording yet… It would be Werther certainly. This is my best role, and unfortunately it is not done so often..
How did your voice change through the years and how do you take care of it, choosing the roles and the repertoire to perform?
When I first began I sang a huge range of repertoire from Haendel to Verdi.  It’s really crazy when you think about it, and I am not sure I would advise to young singers to do exactly what I did, but for me it was the right thing.  I needed to be shown where my boundaries are by pushing myself a little beyond what I thought I was capable of doing.  For the past 6 years or so I have honed in my repertoire to what is really the essense of what my voice can do.  I continue to pay attention to how my voice is reacting to repertoire as the years go on so I can see if it is time to add something, or take something away. I really believe it is a process which has no definite rules so to speak.
If you were granted the chance to chose a role, which one would it be?
I’d love to sing Don Jose because I find his role to be the most interesting in the opera of Carmen.  I have a lot of opinions about him, and how I would play him, though probably no one would ever pay me to sing Don Jose! I also would love to sing Tosca, I love her character and what she goes through, but again, I don’t see that happening any time soon.
Which is the first record you ever bought?
Cindy Lauper- Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.
How’s your attitude towards TV ?
I don’t really watch TV when I have one, but I like some shows that I can watch on the internet.  Having said this, after I have been in Europe for a while and I return to the US, I love to turn on some trashy American television. It’s great for about an hour, then that’s enough.
What do you do an hour prior to go on stage?
Get in wig and make-up, warm up, sometimes do some yoga.
What’s never missing in your dressing room?
Water and cell phone.
What do you think of when looking at yourself in the mirror?
That’s me.
How would you prefer to die ?
With my children grandchildren and great grandchildren nearby (I can dream anyway!).
Your mood at the moment?
Reflective.
What’s your motto
?
It’s not about the cards you are dealt, but how you play the game.

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