Interview with Karen Van Spall

0 Comments 11 May 2015

Karen Van Spall is a mezzo soprano opera singer who has worked on many plays such as Dorabella (Così fan tutte) and Madame Butterfly. After spending time with different Opera companies she then did vocal tuition at the Brisbane Conservatorium Opera School and in London. Now she is an occasionally guest performer at companies such as Opera Australia and is still pursuing her singing career.

What made you want to become an opera singer?
I just really loved the art form because it uses all of the art forms.

What is the best thing about it?
That it is epic story telling.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
I am working two shows, one called Spice Roots and the other called Come into the Parlour Maud. Spice Roots is a show in modified cabaret format celebrating the foods, wines and music inspired by exploration of the spice routes. Come into the Parlour Maud is a recreation of a salon style/drawing room concert.

What are your major influences?
My main influence is the production aesthetic of the “Poisson Rouge” in New York and London where they aim to present fine classical music in a lounge environment.
Is there any key moment that you remember was the best?
Once when I was touring with Opera Australia, we were performing Madame Butterfly in the Daintree rainforest at Karnak, the home of Diane Cilento (Sean Connary’s ex wife). One of my colleagues, was bitten by a highly venomous snake called a dugite, and while it wasn’t a fabulous singing moment, the event made the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Because a lot of operas are in other languages such Italian and German, do you struggle with pronunciation?
Yes but I did studies in German, French and Italian at university and opera companies employ language coaches to help singers refine their pronunciation. Other languages commonly sung in are Russian, Czechoslovakian, but also Finnish, Polish, Mandarin and English.
What do you think about the music education in recent times? Do you think it supports young musicians?
No I think that there is a devastating lack of funding for interest in the Arts in the national curriculum. If music was supported as well as sport in our education system we’d see unprecedented outcomes.

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This post was written by who has written 9 posts on The Signal Express.

I'm Maria Dunne, a chick who has been referred to saying "coolio" too much compared to the average teenager. I have a enjoy writing about music, film, food, video games and sharing my own point of view. My hobbies include reading, writing, quoting lines from movies, binge watching tv shows, going on Buzzfeed, preforming internal monologues and debating pointless hypothetical scenarios.

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