New Classical Tracks®

Soprano Nadine Sierra is 'Made for Opera'

Nadine Sierra as Ilia in Mozart's 'Idomeneo.'Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera


New Classical Tracks - Nadine Sierra (Extended)

34:30

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June 01, 2022

Nadine Sierra — Made for Opera (DG)

New Classical Tracks - Nadine Sierra

“My grandmother was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. She had a beautiful voice and always loved music, especially classical and opera,” soprano Nadine Sierra said. “She wanted to become an opera singer, but my great-grandfather didn't allow her to pursue any kind of career. My whole life has been prepared and made for opera.”

Sierra dedicates her latest recording, Made for Opera, to her grandmother. It explores the operatic heroines that include Lucia from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Juliette from Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet and Violetta from Verdi’s La Traviata, who all had little control over their own destiny. 

“We find that female roles played by women in opera are about women that cannot make decisions for themselves despite being these iconic figures. These are also women who are in a social prison. My grandmother grew up in that social prison. Today I have the power and the privilege to choose my destiny.”

Tell us why you're careful about choosing a role at the right point in your career.

I didn't start to sing Violetta until recently. I felt that in my own life I had not experienced enough to play this character as believably as possible. I felt I needed to live a few more years in order to understand her.”

Tell us about the story and sections you've chosen to highlight on this recording from La Traviata.

“I decided to showcase Violetta in Act One and Three. In Act One she has her famous aria starting from ‘È Strano! È Strano’ and ending with ‘Sempre Libera.’ In the aria she meets Alfredo for the first time, and he tells her that he's in love with her.

“I also highlight her last aria, where she's dying. Alfredo has a sister and the more time he spends with Violeta ruins his sister's reputation and her possibility of marrying into a good family. So, Violetta makes the sacrifice. She lies to Alfredo telling him she's not in love with him anymore and she can't be with him. She sacrifices herself for another woman's love, which I love about Violetta. She's a special and empathetic character.”

How did working with a woman director give you a different perspective on Donizetti's character Lucia?

“This particular female director and I have both experienced things in our personal lives that are similar. Whether it be in a relationship or even a situation with a family member, we were able to better communicate what we wanted with the audience about Lucia.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Resources

Nadine Sierra — Made for Opera (Amazon)

Nadine Sierra — Made for Opera (DG Store)

Nadine Sierra (official site)