20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS WITH: Soprano Nicole Cabell

Classic Arts Features   20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS WITH: Soprano Nicole Cabell
Cabell - who shot to fame after winning the 2005 BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff - recently finished gracing the Met stage as Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore. She is the latest to donate her time and musings to our Q&A.

After her stint in the Donizetti classic, the soprano heads to Europe for concerts in Prague and Copenhagen. She returns to the U.S. later this spring for a jazz cabaret series at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and a role debut with Cincinnati Opera as the Countess in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.

Cabell has a successful and critically acclaimed solo CD, Soprano _ on the Decca label _ and her Musetta was recently singled out for praise in the Robert Dornhelm film, now on DVD, of La bohme, with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon.

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

Barber's Knoxville, Summer of 1915; Puccini's Turandot, Henryk Gorecki's Symphony 3, "Sorrowful Songs"

2. Classical music recordings that you treasure:

Anything by Mirella Freni; Anne Sofie von Otter's Artist Album; Teresa Stratas's Weill recordings.

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

Liz Wright's Dreaming Wide Awake; all Alana Davis albums; Stevie Nicks; Fleet Foxes; Coldplay; anything by Ricky Ian Gordon.

4. Music that makes you cry _ any genre:

Everything listed in the first question _ I guess that's why I like them so much!

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

Fernando Obradors; Kurt Weill; Maurice Delage's Quatre pomes hindous (Four Hindu Poems) _ these are amazing!

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

No comment!

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

Ren_e Fleming in ThaÇs at the Chicago Lyric Opera (2002); Denyce Graves, also in Chicago, in a recital at the Chicago Symphony Center (1998 I believe); Sarah McLachlan and Sting in Rochester, NY; Audra McDonald at the Chicago Symphony Center.

8. A few relatively recent films you love:

Sideways; Hot Fuzz; Gangs of New York; Gladiator; The Notebook; Lord of the Rings; Waiting for Guffman.

9. A few films you consider classics:

It's A Wonderful Life; Disney's Sleeping Beauty; The Color Purple; A Christmas Story; Young Frankenstein.

10. A few books that are important to you (and why):

Eat, Pray Love _ it's so honest, without pretension. She takes a personal journey that could be any of ours, and it really urges you to self-reflect; George Orwell's 1984 _ This is one scary book, but has always been one of my favorites for its strange ability to be intensely relevant at all times, but also pretty entertaining; Echkart Tolle's A New Earth _ I'm always interested in hearing another fine opinion on the state of the world and mankind. There are some very interesting observations in this one that ring true.

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

I'm pretty disciplined, and I'm proud of that. Not a lot of alcohol, no smoking (ever!), and most of my friends and family know I'm not much of a talker before a performance. Not so easy, but call me old fashioned.

I'm proud of my Cardiff win because I never thought I could have sung in a competition on prime time television (I get stage fright). So, I guess I'm proud of having conquered that stage fright.

I'm proud that I don't compromise on the people in my life-I have the best friends and family!

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

My love of 80s music. Guilty pleasure I guess! I also am a history buff, which makes me pretty nerdy at times.

13. Three things you can't live without:

My electronics (what did people do 20 years ago?); my friends; spirituality.

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

Read. Good old Kindle _ Oprah was right.

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

Can go a month without singing at all. Some singers I know say they'd go crazy if they didn't sing every day.

16. "My favorite cities are..."

Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, New Orleans, Florence.

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

Wentworth Miller, Sendhil Ramamurthy (from "Heroes"...wow!), Blair Underwood, Calvin Harris

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

Well, besides 80's music and medieval history, I'm a TV girl _ it'll fry your brain. I don't care. I also love to eat at Wendy's. Also, I love "Flight of the Conchords" on HBO _ I don't think I feel guilty about this one, though.

19. "I'd really love to meet..."

Barack Obama, Sting, everyone in question 17, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Stevie Nicks, Oprah, Deepak Chopra.

20. "I never understood why...

Construction starts at 7am in NYC. Is there no God?


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

Q: What would you do if you were not a singer?

A: I would go to school to become a creative writer. I've always wanted to write, since I was 9 years old, and competition never stopped me in the past!


For more on Cabell, including her full performance schedule, visit www.nicole-cabell.com.

Past installments of 20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS:

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."

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