2018 Sara Tucker Study Grant-winner Gabriella Reyes de Ramierez takes a moment between performances to answer a few of our questions about singing al aire fresco and the importance of bringing opera to the community.
Q: How is singing in a park concert different from singing in an opera house?
A: Oh the joys of singing al aire fresco! There is a wonderful freedom singing outside that is different from in the opera house. For one, I love being able to look right at my audience and visually connect with them as I tell stories though music, but I also love being able to pull many focus points in nature for my interpretation! Also, you never know what you’re going to get when you’re in public, so you have to be willing to go with the flow—whether it’s cars honking in the middle of your aria, children playing, or singing along! I love it!
Q: The park concerts are free to the public. How does it feel to bring opera to the community?
A: Community work is vital to the art, so being asked to do these concerts is such a privilege. I love being able to reach out to the local neighborhoods, but I especially feel connected to my Latin American community. As a Nicaragüense-American, I feel it’s important for my people to have representation in the arts. If a child gets to see someone who looks like him for the first time up there singing, you never know the lasting impact that could have on them.
Q: What are some of your favorite pieces that you’re singing in these performances? Do they preview some of your upcoming roles for next season?
A: I have a few favorites but I will say the Zarzuela, but Carceleras from Las Hijas del Zebedo by Chapí is probably the one that I have most fun singing. I love that I can connect with the audience on a personal level since there are many Spanish speakers there! While none of the songs I sing preview any of the roles I’m doing next fall, I do hope I will sing the all full roles one day!
The Metropolitan Opera’s Summer Recital Series brings free opera to all five boroughs of New York. For full dates of upcoming concerts, click here.