I met Zhanna when I was costuming the production of Carmen for the New York Opera Exchange. She was Michaela and her spirit and sound, and occasional run-ins on the NYC subway, left a lasting impression on me.
I was excited to highlight Zhanna as she debuted her role As Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Geneva Light Opera.
I asked Zhanna some questions about the role and as an artist in the classical arts... read below!
TCNY: What do you think of this Donna Elvira, can you relate?
Z: Donna Elvira is a fantastic character! She is passionate and takes matters into her own hands, in a time when that kind of behavior from upper-class women was looked down upon.
I completely understand her choices and feel for her. Don Giovanni’s behavior drove her to the brink of insanity.
TCNY: How do you prepare for a role like this?
Z: I have sung the role several times and each time I discover new facets to her personality, new vocal colors and never grow tired of working on this role.
TCNY: As an artists what are your days like?
Z: When I am away on a gig during my days off I turned to look at music for my upcoming engagements, go for walks, do business online, catch up with friends and family. One thing I always do is before going to sleep I look over the role I’m currently working on and make sure I remember everything I need to remember for the upcoming day.
TCNY: What does living in this moment feel like for you, why do you choose this profession?
Z: Most of what we go through has nothing to do with glamour, which is a huge misconception. Most singers I know choose this profession because we love the music and we love performing. I love cracking open a new score and realizing how much is ahead of me - from learning the notes to researching the character to even (!!) being grilled by my teacher and coach. It is a constant, never-ending learning process and to me, that is the most interesting part of our industry. And then of course, we get to travel and play dress-up. We're lucky!
Lucky indeed! Thank you so much for sharing your insights in to your world!