Monday, November 14, 2011

Meet the Happy Couple!

Along with his  Mo.Joe's Corner webisodes, Maestro Joseph Mechavich has interviewed the cast of Marriage of Figaro so you can get to know the amazing artists who will perform in the second production in the Brown-Forman 2011/12 Kentucky Opera season. Tickets are going fast, so you had better get them now if you haven't yet. Call us at 502.584.7777 or just click here. (The Kentucky Center now has a neat feature on their website where you can actualy select the seats you want.  VERY cool.)

Meet the happy couple, Carlos Monzon will sing the role of Figaro, and Anya Matanovic will play his soon to be bride Susanna.

From the Classical 90.5FM WUOL Lunch and Listen 
Want to see more? Our friends at MetroTV have the entire hour long program available online now. Click here to check it out!

Carlos Monzon

Where do you call home? New York, NY, where my wife and baby are (or if this a more technical question then Guadalajara, where I was born and raised)

Who has had the biggest influence in your career and why? My parents, they built our family from the bottom up. They are still working and they are very present in my life as the inspiration that motivates me to be a better person and a better singer every day.

What is your process when preparing a role? Psychology first, I need to know the story, who I am, where I come from, where I’m going, why some characters interact with me and why some don’t. I read the libretto throughout and translate it completely and do research on it. Then I can start working on the music, and, the composer, through the music, usually answers questions that were left unanswered by my research on the piece.

What aspects of your character do you find the most rewarding? Being the “hero” of a story is always rewarding, but mainly Figaro is a very open and transparent person and that’s very refreshing since, with my type of voice, I get to play the villain a lot.

What are the most challenging aspects of your character? Honesty, the simple fact of having to ‘act honest’ is an oxymoron; and considering honesty is possibly one of the strongest attributes Figaro possesses, I believe this to be the biggest challenge along with the wittiness required to outsmart the Count.

What is your one guilty pleasure? Gadgets! I’m very passionate about technology.

What music is on your iPod or MP3 player (or music you like besides opera)? Anything from Metallica to Mariachi music, from Radiohead to Cesária Évora, I really like most music when I consider it has been well made and conceived.

What is your dream role and why? I’d love to play the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann; because they represent more than just an actual evil person or a nemesis. They represent those profound and destructive fears deep inside our subconscious, our split personality… when we become our worst enemy. To me this is one of the most powerful roles to play vocally and histrionically.

Anya Matanovic

Where do you call home? Ah...home. I grew up in the Seattle area and still feel most at home there, but at the moment I am based in NYC. The wonderful thing about traveling to new cities to sing is that each one becomes your home for the duration of the rehearsals and performances. As I was starting this career and working through the challenges of traveling often and being home less and less - my family would quote the beginning of the Emily Dickenson poem - "Where thou art - that - is home".

Who has had the biggest influence in your career and why? There are far too many to name, but it all started with Maria Callas. One listen to the La Divina album at sixteen and I was a changed person. I promised myself that if I could make even one other person in this world feel the way I felt listening to her - then I had to do this. But truly - if I hadn't had the support of my parents every step of the way, I never would have stuck through this.

What is your process when preparing a role? I try to approach each role freshly and to be forgiving with myself. The voice takes time to adjust between different roles and, for me, each new role must settle in my voice over a few months. So I try to start as early as I can with the music and text. I think of it in layers- the line I sing, the text, the rhythm, the harmonies I create and the harmonies around me, the style of the composer, the emotion behind what I am saying, the emotion of the orchestra under me. The way my brain works is that I must work on each of these separately and then start putting them together. Because once you get to the rehearsal process you don't have time to be thinking of any of those things - they should just be there by that point. And that is when the fun really starts....

What aspects of your character do you find the most rewarding? I get to have a blast on stage and sing some of the most beautiful ensembles every written.

What are the most challenging aspects of your character? Keeping track of everything around me and who needs what and which prop goes where - I would be an awful maid! I would have sticky notes everywhere....

What is your one guilty pleasure? BBC period dramas

What music is on your ipod or MP3 player (or music you like besides opera)? Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life Album, The Beatles, Tori Amos, Glenn Gould, Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, Mozart, good mixes from my sister and brother-in-law (though I doubt I could name the bands…but they keep me up to speed on current music coming out), Sondheim and R&H musicals.

What is your dream role and why? Musetta. Luckily, I have already been able to sing it - and in the gorgeous Zeffirelli production in Tel Aviv - where I entered the stage in Act II in a carriage pulled by a horse! She just has fantastic music! She gets to be feisty, but you also see the compassionate side of her in Act IV. And the whole show doesn't ride on her shoulders!


A very special exclusive offer for Kentucky Opera Subscribers!
In honor of The Marriage of Figaro November 18 and 20.

Thomson Smillie, former general director of Kentucky Opera and an internationally acclaimed speaker and writer on opera, has written a user-friendly introduction for the opera newcomer, full of facts and entertaining stories and opinion for the seasoned opera-lover. 

….. hits exactly the right balance between fact, commentary and anecdote. And it reads SO well.”  John Duffus, arts impresario, Bangkok.

Order on-line [see below] PICK UP YOUR COPY(ies) AT A FIGARO PERFORMANCE and save $4.50! on each copy plus the publisher will DONATE an additional $3 per copy to the Honorary Council’s 2012 Campaign!

Thomson will be at the Marketing Desk in the Brown Lobby to autograph copies if desired.

AN INSERTED FLIER WILL TELL YOU ABOUT OUR CHRISTMAS OFFER: discount + personalized dedication and signature + special mailer TO TAKE THE HASSLE OUT OF HOLIDAY SHOPPING and contribute to Kentucky Opera.

it’s very simple:

go to, click on Ky Opera Figaro at the top of the page, complete the order form, enter KY Opera Subscriber Exclusive code: “Figaro”.  Order and pay online – save $2.00 off $16 published price PLUS save $.12 tax ALSO SAVE $2:63 postage and packing = Total SAVINGS of $4.75 PER COPY.