The Up and Comer
carolinebraga

 Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from and when did you first become interested in opera?
I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil and moved to the US when I was 3 years old. I now live in New York City and attend the Manhattan School of Music Conservatory. I first became interested in opera/classical music when I was nine years old. My choir teacher took interest in my voice and dedication to choir and introduced me to this amazing genre of music. I fell in love ever since.

You have undergone vocal studies at the Manhattan School of Music. How did you choose this school and what was the audition experience like? In choosing a school, I believe it is extremely, extremely important to make sure you connect with a voice teacher teaching at the school. I not only chose my school based on its credentials and location, but a major part in the decision process was also the voice studio I was placed in. I love, love, love my teacher Marlena Malas and it was a perfect fit vocally and personality wise.

What has been your favorite part of your educational experience so far? One of my favorite parts of my educational experience so far is getting to perform and work with such talented, dedicated and passionate people everyday. I get to work with highly talented colleagues and world renowned teachers like Catherine Malfitano.

If you could perform at any venue in the future  where would you choose? There are so many dream venues in my list of dream venues hahahah!!! But if I were given the opportunity to perform in any venue in the future it would definitely be the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. I have been going there for years now and every time I go I can envision myself on that amazing stage, singing with that extraordinary orchestra. It would be a dream come true!

How important do you think movement (gestures, choreography) is to music performance? I think every performance should come naturally; every performance should be different. We are not the same person every day, so why should our characters be? On the other hand, you should always be prepared and know everything about your character. Would my character walk like this? Would he/she talk like this? Stand like this? I don’t think movement and gestures should be overused and unintentional but if you have an intention and direction, movement and gestures will become an extension of your emotions.

Do you do anything special to keep your voice in pristine condition? (tea, sprays, cough drops, etc?)
I try to stay healthy as much as I can. My body is my instrument so I have to take good care of it. I drink a lot of water every day and take my daily vitamins.

Do you sing any non-classical music? If not, is this something you would like to do in the future? I do not sing non-classical music. I prefer to stay in the classical music direction but hey, if I were asked to sing Christine in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, I wouldn’t say no!

If you could have any great composer write an opera based on any modern day novel or drama, what would you want it to be? The composer would definitely have to be Puccini. I LOVE Puccini. The story would have to be “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s not very modern but I am fascinated by the 1920’s and the story line is just fabulous.
On your twitter you appear to be a bit of a fashionista. How does your performance style compare to your personal style off-stage? My style in general varies from day to day. I dress based on how I feel. Some day’s I feel like “Tosca” and some days I feel like “Carmen”! In general my performance and everyday style tend have a classic and timeless feel. I do think that I tend to take more risks with my everyday wear rather than with my performance wear. I am not afraid to try something new or something that is “different”. When performing, I like to feel comfortable, classy and elegant on stage and tend to choose the gowns that have a timeless and elegant feel to them.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given so far? The best advice I have received in my career so far has been to always give your all (emotionally and vocally) in a performance. Singing is a great part of your performance but acting is also a major part. You have to not only act like your character but you have to BE your character. You also never know who is watching you, so whether you are performing in your local church or at Lincoln Center, you have to always give 110%. I express myself through music and I pour my heart and soul onto the stage; while remembering to support of course!

What are your plans for the future? My plans for the future is to go to grad school, join a young artist program and start performing all over the world!