10 Questions with Talise Trevigne

Earlier this year we had the incredible pleasure of welcoming American soprano Talise Trevigne to our Company as Micaela in the season closer, Carmen. When we said goodbye we knew it wouldn't be for long as she is scheduled to come back and reprise the role of Pip she created for the world premiere of Moby-Dick in Dallas. Talise took a few moments from rehearsing Heggie's Pieces of 9/11 in Houston last week to answer "10 Or So Questions With..."

San Diego Opera (SDO): First, welcome back to San Diego Opera – we’re very pleased to have you return to us to reprise the role of Pip in Moby-Dick. Audiences remember you from your wonderful Company debut last year as Micaela in Carmen. What have you been up to these past few months?

Talise Trevigne (TT): Immediately after returning home to New York, I went into rehearsals for Rossini’s Guillaume Tell at Bel Canto at Caramoor. It was a brilliant show with wonderful colleagues. I sang the role of Tell’s son Jemmy – YES another “pant role!” It was the North American premiere of the opera and extremely well received by the critics and audiences. It was also the very first time in which the Act III trio was performed.
SDO: What was it like to create the world premiere role of Pip?
TT: It was THE experience of a lifetime. The chemistry, energy and true love among the original cast members and production team, who I like to call “the crew,” was amazing. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it. To know that Jake Heggie wrote Pip’s glorious music for me is a thrill and honor I cannot describe.

SDO: You’re the only woman in the cast of principals. How did this make you feel on the first day of rehearsals? And what is it like knowing you will be reunited with many of them in San Diego?

TT: It felt wonderful and strange to be the only “girl” in the crew, but the men really made me feel like “one of the guys.” Sometimes this made for some enlightening locker-room moments. You know what I mean. I was only reminded of my femininity when I was baking for them!

I am very much looking forward to being with my boys again.

SDO: Pip has some impressive wire-work in this opera. What’s it like to hang suspended in the sky and sing?

TT: I make it look easy, but it is much more difficult that you can imagine. Thank God for my intense dance and yoga training!

SDO: Do you have a favorite part in this opera?

TT: Many. I love the opening scene when all the men flood onto the ship’s deck. I adore Pip’s mad scene and when Ahab loses his mind at the end of the opera.

SDO: Are there any dream roles that you would love to sing and why? And since we’re dreaming it doesn’t even need to be in your fach…

TT: Dream roles that ARE in my future include Butterfly, Daphne, Lulu,

Thaïs and Alcina. Outside my fach, and my gender, I would LOVE to sing Scarpia.

SDO: What was your introduction to opera and how did you decide this was the path you wanted to pursue?

TT: I sang the Shepherd Boy in Tosca at the age of 16. I fell in love with the music, how can you not fall in love with Puccini, and I was hooked. I moved heaven and earth to get myself to New York to study. The rest is history.

SDO: Fill in the blank section: “If I was not an opera singer I would be__________”

TT: I would love to be a high-end trial lawyer or the next Barbara Walters!

SDO: Two parter: What’s your favorite part of being an international opera singer? What’s your least favorite part?

TT: I love the travel. I hate the travel. Seriously, I love going to new places and being in new situations with new colleagues, but I loathe being away from my family and my home in New York.

SDO: Some people say there is more to life than opera. We think they’re crazy too. But we’ll humor them: do you have any hobbies?

TT: Actually, life is opera. That being said, I do have many interests outside of the opera world. I am a dedicated yogi, I love to cook and bake. I also enjoy reading and hiking and just love exploring new places!

SDO: Do you have a book next to your bed? What is it?

TT: At the moment I have nine books next to my bed. Currently I am reading three including Pablo Nenuda’s poetry, a brilliant historical novel titled “Queen of Cities” and “The Help.”

SDO: Name three bands or musicians on your iPod that aren’t opera related.

TT: Nothing on my MP3 is opera related. Currently in rotation are Adele, Kenna, and Seal.

SDO: Since you’re coming back so soon, any place in particular in San Diego you just loved and cannot wait to visit again?

TT: Little Italy, especially Craft & Commerce for the decadent bacon ice cream sandwich!


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