20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS WITH: Soprano Kate Royal

Classic Arts Features   20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS WITH: Soprano Kate Royal
Soprano Kate Royal contributes to our offbeat questionnaire series.


Her rich lyric soprano, ambitious repertoire choices and striking good looks have quickly made her an artist in demand at major opera houses, as well as concert and recitals halls, around the world. An exclusive EMI Classics recording artist, she has a new album coming out on March 8 that will likely find wide critical acclaim and an enthusiastic audience. Royal describes A Lesson in Love as "a song cycle that I have devised, telling the story of a young girl's first experience of love."

1. A few works of classical music that you adore:

Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Puccini's Turandot and Richard Strauss's Arabella

2. Classical music recordings that you treasure:

Strauss's Four Last Songs sung by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf _ the reason I became a singer

3. Favorite non-classical musicians and/or recordings:

Joni Mitchell's Blue and Kate Bush's The Red Shoes

4. Music that makes you cry _ any genre:

"Mache dich, mein Herze, rein" from Bach's St Matthew Passion

5. Definitely underrated work(s) or composer (s):

Canteloube's Chants D'Auvergne and Franz Schreker, an Austrian composer of the 1920s

6. Possibly overrated work(s) or composer (s):

John Tavener

7. Live music performance(s) you attended _ any genre _ that you'll never forget:

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Shostakovich at the Royal Opera House, directed by Richard Jones. And my husband Julian Ovenden singing Sondheim's "Being Alive" at the London BBC Prom.

8. A few relatively recent films you love:

The Kids Are All Right, Black Swan and Easy A

9. A few films you consider classics:

Fanny and Alexander, Wish You Were Here, Vertigo

10. A book (or two) that is important to you (and why):

Delia Smith's How to Cook Book 1, because I can never remember how many minutes it takes to boil an egg. Jane Eyre because it is the most wonderful character study and template for many of my operatic roles.

11. Thing(s) about yourself that you're most proud of:

My work ethic

12. Thing(s) about yourself that you're embarrassed by:

My inability to speak another language

13. Three things you can't live without:

English Real Ale, Clinique Almost Makeup, and my Marchesa no-crease evening gowns

14. "When I want to get away from it all I ..."

Go running and end up at the cafe eating cake

15. "People are surprised to find out that I ..."

Can tap dance

16. "My favorite cities are ..."

Paris, Amsterdam, New York

17. "I have a secret crush on ..."

Barack Obama

18. "My most obvious guilty pleasure is ..."

Biting my fingernails

19. "I'd really love to meet _ or to have met ..."


20. "I never understood why ..."

Seemingly simple questions are so difficult to answer


21. Question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer to that question):

Q: Would you like to try for one day what it feels like to sing with the voice of Luciano Pavarotti?

A: Yes please!

Past installments of 20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS:

Baritone Paulo Szot

Baritone Nathan Gunn

Bass-Baritone John Relyea

Pianist Yuja Wang

Pianist Kirill Gerstein

Organist Cameron Carpenter

Choreographer Peter Martins

Soprano Diana Damrau

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein

Pianist David Fray

Violinist Sarah Chang

Pianist Ingrid Fliter

Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato

Pianist Yefim "Fima" Bronfman

Soprano Sandrine Piau

Soprano Natalie Dessay

Harpsichordist and Conductor Christophe Rousset

Guitarist Xuefei Yang

Tenor Giuseppe Filianoti

Soprano Nicole Cabell

Pianist Jonathan Biss

Tenor Ian Bostridge

Soprano Danielle de Niese

New-Music Sextet eighth blackbird

Composer and Violinist Mark O'Connor

Composer Jake Heggie

Composer Ricky Ian Gordon

Pianist David Greilsammer


Albert Imperato, a music promoter who co-founded 21C Media Group in January 2000, writes frequently about the arts for various publications and blogs.

His new series, 20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS, is his take on (and nod to) Vanity Fair's "Proust Questionnaire." Email him at aimperato@21cmediagroup.com.

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