LAUREN SEGAL: An opera singer sings works that have been created over many centuries to entertain, move and inspire audiences through dramatic story-telling. A mezzo-soprano is a particular voice type that adds to a performance with its unique range and rich vocal colour.
JS: What important beliefs do you express in your work?
LS: I believe in the goodness of humanity – in the common goals of all for happiness and love. I strive to bring out these characteristics in all of the characters that I portray.
JS: Name two people, living or dead, whom you admire a great deal and tell us why for each one.
LS: the wonderful mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig for inspiring me with her power of vocal expression and Nelson Mandela for changing the nation of my birth in such a dignified and peaceful manner.
JS: How have you changed since you began to do creative work?
LS: I suppose that over the years, I have become more organized with role preparation and been more active in the business side of my career.
JS: What are your biggest challenges as a creative person?
LS: Avoiding pesky bugs in order to stay healthy!
JS: Please describe at least one major turning point in your life.
LS: One major turning point in my life was when I was completing my Master’s Degree in physics and I needed to make a decision on whether I was going to continue in that field or pursue my love of singing. Singing won out – and while it was a tough decision, I had the crucial support of my family, friends and teacher which made the decision a lot easier.
JS: What are the hardest things for an outsider to understand about what you do?
LS: Perhaps it would be how much care we need to take care of ourselves – and how important rest is to our ability to do our job to the best of our abilities.
JS: How and why did you begin to do creative work in the first place?
LS: Ever since I was small, I loved to sing, act and create. I don’t think there was one particular beginning – rather it’s always been a natural part of who I am.
JS: What haven’t you attempted as yet that you would like to do and please tell us why?
LS: I would love to perform the role of Dalila from Samson and Dalila. It is a role that one grows into – and it is something I am striving for as its music is glorious and moves me each and every time I hear it.
JS: What are your most meaningful achievements?
LS: In respect to my career – performing the role of Carmen has always held a lot of meaning for me as it is one of my favourite roles and one that I have grown with over the years.
JS: What advice would you give a young person who would like to do what you do?
LS: This career has many wonderful moments, but it certainly has its challenges as well. If you can think of one other career that you’d be happy pursuing, take it! If you really feel that music is your field, then my main advice is to make sure to find a great teacher. There are many great teachers, but not all teachers and students work well together – you need to find the best teacher for you. It makes the world of difference.
JS: Of what value are critics?
LS: Although, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, having critics who dissect and critique what we do can add credibility to our work.
JS: What do you ask of your audience?
LS: The only thing I ask of my audience is to arrive with an open mind and to be willing to go where ever the performance takes them.
JS: What specifically would you change about what goes on in the world?
LS: There is so much good in the world – if we all concentrated on the good, on what we are so fortunate to have, and treated those around us in the same manner in which we wished to be treated, then perhaps the world would be a more peaceful place.
JS: If you could relive one experience from your creative life, what would it be and why would you do so?
LS: I think it would be a summer I spent at the Banff Art’s Center in the Opera as Theatre program. The program was headed by the amazing director Glynis Leyshon who encouraged our creative expressions to thrive in an environment she had created that was safe, nurturing and inspirational. It was a magical time.
JS: Tell us what it feels like to be a figure in the media. What effect does this presence have on you?
LS: Honestly, I don’t think about it too often. I just do my best to be true to who I am whenever I am in the public eye.
JS: Name two places you would like to visit, one you haven’t been to and one to experience again and briefly tell us why?
LS: I’d love to go to Hawaii, New Zealand, and to revisit the Rockies. I love water and mountains, and all three places have plenty of both.
JS: Please tell us about one or more projects that you have been working on, are preparing, or have recently completed. Why do they matter to you and why should they matter to us?
LS: I am currently preparing to sing Charlotte in Werther for a production with Manitoba Opera next spring. It’s a dream role of mine and I feel very fortunate to be able to delve into it. The music is glorious, and I hope that the audience will enjoy it as much I will!