A new face to the Vera Causa Opera stage, we are so proud to welcome coloratura soprano Nansee Hughes as a Featured Artist this year. Nansee is joining us all the way from Camrose, Alberta, and has graced opera and concert stages Canada-wide and internationally. Get to know this wonderful and talented singer here in this interview!
What's your story? How did you end up in the world of opera?
I grew up in small towns where there were no real music programs in the schools. I fell in love with music from an early age, singing anything and everything. I’ve been told that I started singing before I started talking and at the age of two years old was putting on shows in our living room. I was always exposed to various genres of music, which is why my taste in music is so sporadic and eclectic. My mother was a huge Elvis, Beatles, and ABBA fan. My father listened to Gregorian Chant, opera, and anything classical. I have three siblings all with different tastes in music. I knew early on, when my school friends were wanting to be teachers and firemen, that a career in music was for me because I always felt a connection to music. From the time I was very young, I didn’t want music to be just a “casual” thing that I did on the side for fun. Every production I am in makes an incredible impact on me as a musician and every time I perform it instills an even deeper sense in me of why I love music, and want to sing and be a musician.
What do you like about opera?
The sheer athleticism required to perform operatic repertoire continues to astonish me. An opera singer must care for their voice and train for years in order to sing at the professional level. The best of the best make it look effortless, all the while traversing the stage in elaborate costumes and conveying the power and emotion of characters. I also love that you can sing the same role for your entire career and you will find something new within that character every single time.
What has been your favourite project as a performer thus far?
That’s a difficult question! Every role that I have done has brought so many different things to me! Most recently I would say my favourite roles have been singing Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi by Bellini and Lillian in Michael Cavanagh and Jeff McCune’s work, Y2K Black Death Oratorio. As educational opportunities, I really learned a lot from the Centre for Operatic Studies in Italy (COSI) and this summer when I went to the Franz Schubert Institute in Austria.
What are some of your other interests besides singing?
I love reading - especially accurate historical fiction and biographies. I really enjoy travelling and learning about various cultures and feel most at home in Germany and Austria. I also love languages and learning how to speak them so that I sound like a native speaker. And I like baking!
Give us a fun fact about yourself!
I love musical theatre and have been dabbling in the genre for the last four years!
What drew you to be a part of Vera Causa Opera?
I actually met Dylan when we were in Italy participating in COSI together and then met up again during Opera NUOVA in Edmonton the next year. When I found out about Vera Cause Opera, I knew I wanted to work with him again!
What are you most excited for in VCO's 2019/2020 season?
I’m incredibly excited for a lot of things! I’m excited that I get to be my favourite dinosaur ever! And I’m excited I get to be the bad guy - as a coloratura there’s really only one bad guy (who is misunderstood in my opinion!), and I’m excited to sing so many beautiful roles in the Ravel! It’s not often that I get to play with my whistle register!
Come and see Nansee as The Fire, Princess, and Nightingale in The Child and The Spells, as Dame Gothel/Pteradactyl in Rapunzel/The Dino Opera, and in Community Opera Fest 2020.