Oct. 30--Why you should know her: Tetriani is starring in Opera on the James' season opener, a pair of one-act plays by Puccini. She sings the title role in the drama "Suor Angelica" (read more about the other one act, "Gianni Schicchi," here).
Tetriani grew up in the Republic of Georgia, where she discovered music at a young age.
After immigrating to the U.S. with her family at 16, she completed another year of high school in Brooklyn before trying out for and being accepted to Juilliard.
The soprano went on to earn her masters of music in opera at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. While a student there, she auditioned for, and eventually landed, her first professional role, with German opera company Staatstheater Stuttgart.
"I almost didn't believe my ears because I was still a student. It was a crazy experience," she says. "[I was] flying back and forth every couple of weeks. ... It was a time when I realized the relationship you have with your body as a singer, and the care that it takes. The stamina goes beyond the body. It's stamina of the mind."
She since has appeared as Mimi in "La Boheme," Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni," and Nedda in "I Pagliacci," among other roles.
In "Suor Angelica," she plays a noble-born woman who is disowned by her family and sent to live in a convent after having a child out of wedlock.
What is your first memory of hearing opera music?
"I grew up in a home where we listened to music all the time. My mother was a physics teacher and a pianist. My parents always took me to the opera. I grew up listening to beautiful music. I was a pianist for awhile [too], and I sang in choirs.
"The first opera I saw was 'Othello.' ... When I heard the orchestra, and the beautiful singing that was soaring above the orchestra, it touched me and inspired me. It just stirred something in me."
When did you decide to pursue it as a career?
"When I started singing, it felt so organic that I didn't even question it. ... It's just something I do. When we immigrated to the States, my mother has always been my best friend and biggest supporter. ... She always told me to stick to my passion. When we moved to the States, she wanted me to go to music school.
"I think what I love about the opera is the challenge to make it all work and come together."
How much are you traveling for different roles in a given year?
"There are years when I have 3, 4 [and] years when I have five gigs. It doesn't just depend on the business. It also depends on me. There are times when I want to stay home."
Tell us more about this role in particular.
"The role is amazing. I would say the most difficult part about this role is the emotional demands. ... It's so tragic. She's really the victim of the ... circumstances. Still, she's a very tough and resilient person. [But] she really breaks down and collapses in the middle of it.
"The music is amazing, some of Puccini's best. Every note ... makes sense within the story. There's nothing extra. It's just perfect.
How do you prepare for such an emotionally demanding role?
"It's a fine balance because you have to be in control of your instrument. You want to stay relaxed ... At the same time, what the character is experiencing is really tense. You have to negotiate that.
"You can't phone it in. ... You have to feel those things, and yet stay in control of [your voice]. You have to make the right choices. I would say this is the most emotional role I've ever done. ... It becomes more and more intense."
Getting to know her
What are you reading? "'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle. I love it because I think, especially for our art, it's important to learn to be in the present. You have to shut off your brain and stay in the moment. ... It's live theater. You can't go back and fix it, so you just have to be in it, and that's probably why I'm in this business, because I love that."
What are you listening to? "Recently, I've been listening to a lot of Paul McCartney, because I love the way he keeps reinventing himself. ... I love operatic singing. Diana Soviero. I love Renata Tebaldi. I like symphonic music also. Mahler and Mozart, always."
What are you watching on TV or online? "I liked 'House of Cards.'"
What's the last movie you saw in theaters? "I loved 'Gravity.' It's amazing. I saw it twice."
(c)2013 The News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.)
Visit The News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.) at www.newsadvance.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
Most Popular Stories
- Boehner Lashes Out Against Ted Cruz, Far Right
- TFA Recruiting DACA Recipients
- Hawaii Official Who Release Obama Certificate Only Victim of Plane Crash
- Holiday Shopping Off to a Slow Start This Season
- Ford Plans New Cars, Jobs in 2014
- Gold, Silver Slide on Prospects of Fed Exit
- 'Rape Insurance' Bill Passes in Michigan
- Ted Cruz Coloring Book Selling Briskly
- Kim Jong Un's Uncle Executed
- Scotch Whisky Sales Raise Distillers' Spirits