Friday, August 12, 2011

Interview with Heather Phillips

Heather Phillips was a Kentucky Opera studio artist in 2008 & 2009.  In our Brown-Forman 2011/12 Kentucky Opera Season, Heather Phillips will be one of the mainstage artists - Micaëla in CARMEN.   
Recently Shane Shapps of 520 East Brands had a chat with Heather about Opera, Louisville and everything inbetween.

When did you know Opera was your future?

“Probably when I first saw my first opera at the age of about 13. My Mother and I went to see Puccini's Madame Butterfly at Cleveland Opera and I was blown away. Even though our seats were in the "nose-bleed" section of the balcony of the theatre and I couldn't really see a lot of detail of what was going on onstage...I was so deeply affected by the power of the voices, the orchestra and the music. From then on, I was instantly hooked on Opera and had to find out more about it.”

How long have you been studying/practicing Opera?

“A little over 10 years now. I started private voice lessons when I was about 15 or 16 years old and after high school studied for 6 years at the Conservatory in Cincinnati, where I earned my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Vocal Performance. After that, I apprenticed with the Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City as well as other summer programs in between. I still however, and always will, consider myself a student of’s an art form with a rich history that is over 400 years old. There is always something new to learn. That's what makes it so intriguing to me.”

What's the greatest city you've been to? 
“Well in my travels thus far, I have visited a fair amount of the bigger or what you might call ‘grand’ cities. I lived in NYC for little while, and I recently visited Paris, which I loved, just last year. However the best city I've been to has to be Lucca, Italy. It’s a wonderful "little" city in Tuscany just an hour or so away from Pisa. It’s the birthplace of the famous opera composer Giacomo Puccini, and I spent a summer there studying Italian and singing in an opera production. To me, from the food and wine, to the history and culture and atmosphere of the was heaven on earth.” 
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Heather Phillips with Jake Heggie in
Kentucky Opera's Composer Workshop 2009
 Wow. Those are some amazing cities. You are a very lucky person. What makes you look forward to returning to Louisville? 
“Definitely the people at Kentucky Opera - they were a real support system for me while I was a studio artist, right out of college. But I'm not only looking forward to seeing the people that work for the company, but the audience members and supporters of the Opera that are a part of the community of Louisville - a very social and fun-loving group.
What's your favorite part of the city? 
I really enjoyed the Riverfront and the park near the river and near the "Belle of Louisville.” That area is great for an afternoon run. But I also liked the restaurants and shops on Bardstown road.

What's your favorite local restaurant in Louisville? 

“Proof on Main was a great place for its atmosphere and great food. The other artists from the company and I would go there a lot after performances.”
Watch these videos to hear Heather sing Poulenc

 and Mozart 

And on this very blog where she is Learning to fly for Kentucky Opera's Hansel & Gretel.
Here she is as one of the daugthers in Kentucky Opera's Pirates of Penzance. (green dress with the orange feather)

We are always glad to see our Studio Artists succeed, watch this shining star soar!

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