In this series, Artist Profiles, we invite you to get to know our artists beyond their bios and headshots. You may be surprised at what you learn...
How did you become involved in music? In singing?
I have loved to sing ever since I can remember, and grew up going to the symphony and the theatre with my family. I joined choir in 4th grade, started performing in musical theatre in middle school, and when I was a freshman in high school a voice teacher heard me singing in a musical and thought I might have an operatic voice. We started studying not long after I met her, and the rest is history!
What was the musical (and role) you were singing as a freshman that launched you into classical voice?
Sister Mary Leo in Nunsense! I was the novice, ballet-dancing nun ;)
What was the first aria you learned? And what did you think of it?
I don't remember the first aria I myself learned, but I do remember one of the first arias that made an impression on me--it was "Signore, ascolta," Liù's aria from Turandot. It was from Renee Fleming's self-titled CD, released when she first started to get really famous. I just couldn't believe a human being could make a sound that beautiful.
What do you do when you're not practicing and performing?
I like to work out and go to the movies. I love to cook and really enjoy watching stand-up comedy, and in the spring I play kickball in Riverside Park.
Is there a particular dish you're famous for making? And would you be willing to share your secret ingredient or special recipe?
My chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing are pretty popular among friends -- My secrets are to always bake from scratch and use plenty of butter!
Who is a stand-up comedian we should all know about?
Louis C.K. is my favorite comedian. All his specials are great, but his opening monologue when he hosted SNL was pretty funny.
Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain). I am obsessed with French and France, so there's that. It is also one of the most creative movies I have ever seen. Jean-Pierre Jenet, the director, uses so many different effects and methods to communicate how Amélie is feeling through the entire film. There's a moment when she lacks the courage to speak to Nino, and so when he leaves the cafe, we see her melt into a puddle. This is not your typical special effects film, but Jenet's usage of it in that moment perfectly captures her angst and our empathy. The screenplay itself is so witty and clever, and its approach allows us to see everyday Paris. The score of the film by Yann Tiersen is also wonderful, so melancholic and filled with a yearning for something more.
Most interesting role/character you've ever played?
Lady Billows in Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring
What made Lady Billows so interesting?
She is so unabashed in her actions and her speech. Her intensity and the way Britten uses her jagged musical lines to communicate her unilateral approach to a changing culture comes in such contrast to the other characters' musical language and worldview. And I love how rich the entire opera is in painting every corner of this British society on the brink of a new era.
Singers you look up to/admire?
Joyce DiDonato is one of my favorite singers right now. When I saw her in Maria Stuarda at the Met she made me cry within 30 seconds of being onstage -- I have so much respect for her as a singer and as an artist, and she's also a wonderful human being doing amazing things with the platform she has.
As a child, what did you want to be "when you grew up"?
What's something you can't live without?
Soprano Alexandra Lang sings Cendrillon in Project 2. She a is rapidly gaining recognition for her musical integrity, distinct vocal color and versatility as a singing-actress. A native of Atlanta, this summer Ms. Lang took on the commanding role of Lady Billows in Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring at the NAPA Music Festival in Napa, California. Atlanta audiences heard her in her debut performance with Peach State Opera in January of this year, starring as Fiordiligi in Mozart's sparkling comedy, Così fan tutte. They also had the chance to see her flex her comedic muscles as Ms. Hufstedler in the world premiere of Milton Grainger's Angry Birdsong at the Harrower Opera Workshop in the summer of 2013. While there, she was chosen to perform in a master class given by the iconic mezzo-soprano, Frederica von Stade. Later that summer Ms. Lang made her first appearance at New York City’s Dimmena Center for Classical Music, singing the role of Gerhilde in a concert performance of Wagner’s Die Walküre.
The soprano performed one of her favorite roles, Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni, with the New York Opera Exchange Orchestra in May of 2013. She made her first appearance with NYOE in their Summer Concert Series and debuted with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra in their collaborative opera concert in the fall of 2012. That summer Alexandra joined Nevada Opera as a Resident Artist, performing the title role in Tom Cipullo’s Lucy in the Opera Shorts showcase and Kristy in Christian McCleer’s children’s opera, House, for the Boys and Girls Club of America. In the summer of 2011, Ms. Lang was invited to sing the national anthem at Boston's historic Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. While in Boston she also enjoyed many performances at Jordan Hall, where she appeared as Geraldine in Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, and as the soprano soloist in Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3 with the NEC Symphony under the baton of Maestro John Page. Alexandra made her first New York concert appearance as Erste Dame in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall.
Ms. Lang made her operatic debut in 2009, singing the title role of Massenet’s Manon with Opera in the Ozarks in Eureka Springs, AR. She currently resides in New York City where she studies with acclaimed soprano, Sherry Overholt.