Primo Donna

With Arizona Opera's Caroline Whisnant, it's not over 'til the phat lady sings

"It was my first time in Flagstaff," she says. "So I got to do a lot of tourist-type things, which was great. Doing Freia, it wasn't that hard to get in and out of character. She's basically kidnaped by the giants, and she's scared of the giants, and our giants wore pretty scary-looking costumes, so it wasn't hard at all. But I'm sure if I'd been doing BrYnnhilde, that's such a huge role, you spend more time working and thinking about your character."

Whisnant adds that the Ring job was a career highlight.
"I absolutely loved it," she says. "It was my first Wagner opera. I always felt that I'd sing Wagner, that it was something I'd do in my future. I was able to absorb so much and learn, and it was a big-time addition to my resume. To put down that I've already performed in a complete Ring cycle is incredible."

Whisnant feels her career is progressing well--"I'm still fairly young and working on getting known," she says. "I remember in the eighth grade, in an English class, we had to look into the future and write our own obituary--very strange--and I remember writing that at the age of 21 I had made my Met debut singing both Santuzza (from Cavalleria rusticana) and Pagliacci. When I actually got to be 20, I realized I probably wasn't going to debut at the Met the following year. So my goals kinda changed. I decided what I really wanted was to make my living singing--to perform in excellent productions, to travel and enjoy life. And that's what I'm doing."

Arizona Opera's production of Ariadne auf Naxos opens Thursday, January 23, and continues through Sunday, January 26, at Symphony Hall. Showtime for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances is 7:30 p.m. The Sunday matinee begins at 2 p.m.

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