10 Questions with Emily Fons

Wisconsin native mezzo-soprano Emily Fons made her debut with SDO in 2015 as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Her success in opera has included appearances with the Atlanta Opera, Kentucky Opera, the Berlin Philharmonic, Opéra de Lille, and the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy in Tokyo, Kyoto. Emily also created the role of Ruby in Santa Fe Opera's world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's GRAMMY nominated Cold Mountain. We're excited to host her (and her dog) when she gets in to San Diego in less than two weeks!


1. What was your last gig before coming to San Diego?
My last gig was the title role in Cesti's L'Orontea with Haymarket Opera in Chicago.

2. How do you relate to/feel about your character (Cherubino) in The Marriage of Figaro?
I just love Cherubino. I feel like he is the child inside of me that needs to be nurtured and allowed to play and explore and get in trouble and find his way. I love the freshness of his experiences and his emotions, I love the emotions he brings out in the other characters! He is a wonderfully lovable catalyst :) .

3. 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.
I would love to sing Charpentier's Médée. I would love to take on the Character of Medea and find all the interesting nooks and crannies of her emotions, experiences, and choices. I also love early music and would love to sing "Quel Prix De Mon Amour", one of Medea's most beautiful pieces in the opera. 

4. What was your introduction to opera and how did you decide this was the path you wanted to pursue.
My mom is a voice teacher and classical vocal music was always just kind of in the background of my life. I knew that I loved performing and story telling since I was a small child, but it wasn't until college that I really started to feeeeel the beauty of opera. It's such a full body experience and such a challenging, rewarding, frustrating, overwhelming, satisfying art form. I also love the people. My colleagues are the best part of this unique and crazy world. I have found confidants, friends, and mentors that have made my life really full. 


5. Name a singer you loved working with in the last year.
Melinda Whittington! Melinda is such a beautiful singer and a beautiful person. I had the pleasure of working with her in North Carolina.

6. What are your hobbies that keep you busy outside of music?
Trail running!! The trails are my happy place. My dog Lupita comes with me on my trail runs. We've run trails together all over the US and even in Canada. This summer I did a 1/2 marathon on the Maah Daah Hey trail in North Dakota. My bucket list run is to run the Grand Canyon from rim to rim...gotta train hard for that one!

7. Fill in the blank: "If I was not an opera singer, I would be ____.”  
I would either work with animals, or if I could go back in time, I would get into law enforcement and be a detective. 

8. If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why? 
I think I'd trade lives with Hoda Kotb, I bet she'd love living the life of an opera singer for a day, and I really want to know what it's like to host the Today show :). Doesn't it seem like so much fun!? Aside from the fun, I think it's a fascinating time to be in the media. I'd like to learn about how the news is produced and what it's like to present information that you don't spend months memorizing ;-).

9. Name three artists, bands, or composers on a current playlist that aren't opera related. 
I'm going to go with podcasts. I like Criminal, Radiolab, and This is Love.


10. What are you most looking forward to doing in San Diego while you’re in town?
Well I'm going to have my dog with me, so we're going to enjoy Balboa Park and Fiesta Island for swimming and beach fetch! I also have a childhood friend who now lives in San Diego so it's going to be great to reconnect.


(Bonus) 11.What’s next for you after your gig in San Diego?
I'll be singing with Seattle Opera in Mason Bates' the (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.  

Photo Credit - Sophie Branen

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