Orlando Artist Interviews: Kimberly Hann

Get to know members of our amazing Orlando cast!

Mezzo Kimberly Hann sings the title role of Orlando on Sunday, Feb 19th - get your tickets today

What has been the most surprising or interesting discover you’ve made during this production?

This production has been different from a lot of other projects I've worked on because it's allowed me to really embrace my creativity as an artist. From the very beginning of the rehearsal process we experimented with improvisation and collaborative discussions to flesh out our characters. Nothing was off limits and we were able to try out all sorts of ideas to figure out what worked best for the overall concept of the opera. This liberating environment allowed me to really step outside my comfort zone and embrace some pretty out of the box ideas. And as a result it's been the most fun rehearsal process I've ever been a part of!

How easy or difficult has it been to relate to your character? And why?

At first it was really challenging for me to relate to the character of Orlando. He's an incredibly strong, masculine character, he's a soldier, he's battling PTSD...none of which I have any personal experience with. But when surface details are stripped back he's a man struggling to gain control and stability, both within himself and in his surroundings. Searching for control and stability is something I can really understand and relate to so looking at the character that way has helped me connect to him.

There had been talk early in the rehearsal process of your Orlando actually being female rather than a male character - did you ultimately decide to go in this direction? 

Initially I was hesitant to play Orlando as female because the character typifies a lot of  masculine characteristics. He is a soldier, he's violent, he's a womanizer and he's very dominant and possessive towards Angelica. But I tried a few rehearsals thinking about the character as a woman and I was surprised how easy it was to transfer those characteristics across genders. And with a female Orlando it was easier for me to find some more subtle emotional colors to add to the role as well. 

What songs/artists (other than Orlando) are on your playlist right now?

Oh man, lately I've been listening to whatever Spotify decides to curate for me. Everything from Tchaikovsky to Galantis to Green Day.

What has it been like working with this cast and production team?

It has been an absolute dream to work with Cantanti Project! Each member of the cast and production team is incredibly kind and supportive, not to mention everyone has been super prepared since day one. And on top of that it's been such a joy to work with such talented artists so willing to collaborate with one another. 

From day one we all had input in the staging. Our director Brittany would provide us with a general framework for each scene but then each cast would improv through the scene until it clicked. Each cast came up with different ideas that we altered through the rehearsal process. 

What’s next for you after Orlando?

After Orlando wraps up I'll be focusing on preparing my Graduate Recital at Mannes. I'll be singing works by Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Berlioz and even Händel. And following that I'll be performing with the Mannes Opera in a production Vanessa

Please visit Kimberly's website at kimberlyhann.com for updates and news.