Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Chat with Marcy Stonikas

Today we hear from soprano Marcy Stonikas, who sings Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. Marcy is finishing up her second year with our Young Artists Program and about to make her mainstage debut. So far, she has sung for Seattle Opera Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos, Luigia in Viva la Mamma!, and Brünnhilde in Siegfried and the Ring of Fire.

Marcy, we heard your lush, lyric soprano voice singing Ariadne this time last year, but these days you’re singing lots of Mozart (Don Giovanni and, coming up next, The Magic Flute). Do you like singing Mozart? What does your voice type bring to this music?

It's true, since I've been in Seattle, I've worked on 3 different Mozart operas (first Così, now Giovanni, soon Flute). I very much enjoy singing Mozart! It can be challenging with its coloratura flourishes and wide range: everyone singing it really has to have some solid vocal technique to do it successfully. I think I'll sing Mozart throughout my career - his operas are done often and are well-known, which is certainly understandable. The music can be challenging but it has such amazing melodies that it's more fun than anything else to be able to sing it!

Marcy Stonikas as Ariadne in 2010 (Rozarii Lynch photo)


You perform opposite two different Don Ottavios, so does your Anna become a different character based on who her fiancé is each night? Or is Giovanni really the only important man in your life?
You know, considering what transpires just prior to the start of the opera between Giovanni and Anna, she doesn't have too much interaction with him, especially not on an individual basis, for the rest of the show. Whereas, Anna's pretty much always walking around accompanied by her little puppy dog of a fiancé, Ottavio. My two Ottavios in this production are very different, so I interact with the two of them differently, but no, my Anna remains pretty consistent and is not really altered by anyone else.

Casting back over your time with YAP, what are some of the things you’ve learned or experiences you’ve valued? What are your immediate future plans?
I have really enjoyed my time in the Seattle Opera YAP. The productions we've done have been exciting and fun and the people with whom I've had to fortune to work have taught me so much - it's been an invaluable experience. I feel that I've come leaps in bounds in all aspects of my performing in my short time here - from breaking down a character to interpreting the music and the text.

My immediate future plans: well, I'm very fortunate to be making my Seattle Opera mainstage debut as Second Lady in The Magic Flute, which is the next show this season! Right after that show closes, I'll be headed to Wolf Trap for the summer where I'll be a Filene Young Artist and will be in 2 operas: Wolf-Ferrari's Le donne curiose and Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann.

Marcy Stonikas as Brünnhilde with Michael Krzankowski as Siegfried in Siegfried and the Ring of Fire (Bill Mohn photo)


Finish the story for us. What happens to Anna when this opera is over?
I've done a lot of thinking about that, actually. After everything that has happened to Anna throughout this show, she's had to do some serious soul searching. And ultimately, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that she might do something as drastic as enter a convent after it's all said and done. I mean, karma being what it is: she messes around with Giovanni, who ends up murdering the most important man in her life (Daddy), and I think it's too much for her to handle...I also think she'd do just about anything to avoid marrying Ottavio.

Marcy Stonikas in rehearsal as Donna Anna, with Andrew Stenson as Don Ottavio (Alan Alabastro photo)


We understand that your husband is an actor. Will the two of you ever perform together? Is it easier to be a supportive spouse when two artists work in different fields?
Yes, my husband is an actor. We actually have performed together already - we met in the American premiere production of Jerry Springer: the Opera in Chicago back in 2007. He was Jerry Springer (the only non-singing role in the show), and I was the Virgin Mary (don't ask...it's a long story!). And there's definitely the possibility of us working together again: he's going to be in Porgy and Bess here in Seattle this summer, as a matter of fact! So, even though I won't be in that show, it gives me hope that we can share the stage again someday!

I think it's great being married to an actor (especially one as self-aware supportive as Brian): we certainly understand the general ups and downs of our industries. We are accustomed to being on opposite schedules while one of us is in rehearsal and the other is in performance, etc. Another plus is that we have a more flexibility when it comes to where we live because we have to be pretty mobile and ready to travel. Of course it's hard when we go through any long stretches of time when we aren't together, but that was something that we discussed a lot prior to getting married.

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