Andrea Carroll, Soprano
Role: Pamina, The Magic Flute
Can you give us a little background about yourself? Where did you grow up, etc.?
I grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, but was born in Bangkok, Thailand! My dad worked for the World Bank and we were overseas for the first six years of my life– living in Nepal and Bolivia before returning to the Washington D.C. area (where both the world bank headquarters and my dad’s side of the family are). My mom is fully Guatemalan, my dad is half Hungarian, half Austrian and was raised in Rome and Chile before moving to the US. So a very international mix! I’ve always been surrounded by many languages and cultures, so an easy and natural transition into this art form and industry for me. There are no musicians in my family, but a huge appreciation and support for the arts. I studied at the Manhattan School of Music, was a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and have been living in Vienna, Austria for the past four years working at the Wiener Staatsoper. (Fun side note: my paternal great-grandfather saved up his pennies as a young man to go watch operas in the standing room section of the Wiener Staatsoper. Talk about full-circle! I always have to pinch myself).
I saw a few as a teenager and was totally hooked! I knew I wanted to be a performer and singer from a very early age and was completely obsessed with musical theater. Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bernstein, Kander and Ebb, Lerner and Loewe.. you name it! I thought I was destined for the Broadway stage and was quite a theater nerd by the age of 11/12. I started taking private voice lessons with a retired opera singer who heard operatic potential there and gently started pushing me in the classical direction. I enjoyed the vocal exercises and the technical aspect, but pushed back and hesitated at first, remaining stubbornly set on making a career belting like Ethel Merman and Patti LuPone. My grandparents were season subscribers to the Washington National Opera and convinced me to come along. In short succession I saw both La bohème and Don Giovanni… my jaw was on the floor. How did these sounds come out of these bodies with no amplification? Getting to sing in Italian, German, Russian, and French? The rest was history. I switched gears and never looked back. My all night musical binge-sessions transitioned from Barbara Streisand to Joan Sutherland, Mirella Freni, Renata Scotto, and Anna Moffo. I was drunk with the opera bug and still am! Musical theater still holds a very special place in my heart and I’m always excited when it makes its way into my performance schedule (Carousel, West Side Story).
Are you excited about performing with this seriously-international cast?
I feel so lucky to be working with this melting pot of a cast! I love how much of a cultural mix there is in the group, which will surely bring wonderful and diverse flavors and energy to the production and performances. I’m especially honored to be singing my first Pamina with some real Zauberflöte experts. Morris Robinson, Olga Pudova, and Markus Werba have performed their respective roles (Sarastro, Queen of the night, Papageno) many times all over the world– I’m so looking forward to soaking in their knowledge and experience about the piece, learning from them, and growing into Pamina alongside them.
How you feel about making your Dallas Opera debut? Do you think the role of Pamina is good role to introduce yourself to our audience?
I couldn’t be more thrilled to be making my Dallas Opera debut. Texas is very near and dear to my heart, as I have spent a lot of time working in Houston. I’m so looking forward to getting to know the DFW area, audiences, and building a new relationship with this amazing house. Although I’ve sung several Mozart ladies many times (Susanna, Despina, Zerlina), this will be my first performances of Pamina. I have been wanting to sing Pamina for years: she’s an iconic role and feels like a great fit for me both vocally and dramatically. She is a young woman with so many interesting layers to explore: innocence, courage, loyalty, passion. I can’t wait and so hope I do her justice.
If you met someone who never listened to opera before which would you have them listen to/watch first and why?
I would steer them in the direction of a true classic– be it comedy or tragedy. The comedies I always recommend are: Elixir of Love and Don Pasquale (short, sweet, funny, easily accessible and sure-shot crowd-pleasers). For tragedies: La bohème and Rigoletto (c’mon… need I say more? Sweeping lush melodies with a heart-wrenching endings). And honestly, Zauberflöte is a great introduction to opera as well! Easily recognizable and beautiful famous melodies, comedy, lush imagery and history. You can’t go wrong with Mozart!