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Meet the Artist: Daniela Mack

Caitie Quick – February 4, 2016

Learn about mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, who sings the title role in Carmen!

Tell us how you got your start in opera.

I was exposed to classical music by my parents in my early childhood. My father had the radio on NPR every morning on our way to school and listened to the opera broadcasts every Saturday. I saw my first opera, La traviata, when I was 7-years-old, and I remember loving the spectacle, the costumes, and the story, although I was really upset that Violetta died at the end. I always had a love of music, but when I started taking voice lessons at 15, I began to seriously consider a career in music.

Do you have a favorite aria?

I know many of us feel that our favorite piece is the one that we are currently working on. I think the reason for this is that we spend so much time and energy getting to know a score, studying it, working it into our voices, and living with a character, that it inevitably stays close to our hearts. This is especially true for me with Carmen because it is a piece that I have lived with for many years, and each time I pick up the score to study I notice something new, or sing a phrase a different way. It's a testament to the genius of the score.

Do you have a dream role?

I would love to perform Charlotte in Werther. I was the assistant director on a production of it in college, and fell in love with the score immediately. It is so heartbreaking and beautiful, and is one of the meatiest roles for a mezzo-soprano. Also, on a completely opposite end of the spectrum, give me any Handel mezzo-soprano role any day of the week! I am a huge fan of Baroque music, and there is a wealth of varied repertoire for my voice type written in this period.

What was your first opera performance like?

My very first performance in an opera was as a chorus cigarette girl in Carmen during my freshman year at LSU. This was the first time I was on stage in any production; I was completely green, but in awe of everything that went into producing an opera. My first leading role in an opera was Angelina in La Cenerentola with the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco. I was still a young artist, and it was a fantastic experience because so many of the singers that I admire sang that role - it was a dream come true to follow in their footsteps. More importantly, it was in that production that I met my husband, Alek, who was Prince Charming to my Cinderella!