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Courtesy of Toledo City Paper, 2015- Published Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Based on the answers she provided to questions I asked, it is clear that rising opera star Kathryn Lewek, with the passion and execution she brings to her craft, has become the leading lady, Lucia, in the opera Lucia di Lammermoor opening April 24, on the Valentine stage. Lucia foreshadows in Act I:
"That fountain...ah...I never see it without shivering. You know the tale: A Ravenswood, mad with jealousy, stabbed his sweetheart here and the poor girl fell into the water, which became her tomb: I have seen her ghost..." (translation from murashev.com)
In this thrilling drama of murder, deception and madness, Lewek takes the stage in Toledo to dazzle us with her coloratura timbre. She'll breathe life to the blank-faced outline of a woman with a bloody knife seen on the poster and programs. How do you balance playing a character with such intensity? “Yoga and more yoga,” she says. Read on for her fantastic tale of touring, blogging, cooking, exploring and of course, singing her heart out.
TCP: How do you prepare for a role? And, what is your thought process while you're singing?
KL: Ask any singer and they will tell you that when you are on stage, you have to think about (at least) 12 things at a time—but, it's lovely when we feel the confidence to focus almost solely on the dramatic intent.
At this point in my career, I still try to allow myself some spontaneity in learning my roles. I haven't yet found one way in particular. Every role is different, therefore I learn them all differently. Lucia really found her way into my head in her own time.
How do you keep yourself malleable and adaptable on stage? Is it through experience or personality?
I am always "performing," almost to a fault. There isn't a neat line dividing my attention to my job as an actress and as a singer - it all overlaps.
My knack for staying adaptable on stage comes from an indestructible one-way connection to my character . . . surprises happen, because that's the nature of live theater. But, as long as I stay true to my character, things always have a way of working themselves out.
How fortunate that you are able to travel with your family- What are some of your top adventures in Europe or the United States?
Traveling full-time is not easy even in the best of cases. But, I always like to say "home is where the husband is". It doesn't go unnoticed to either of us how lucky we are to ride this roller coaster together!
My parents also like to take the opportunity to visit my singing locales and explore different areas of the world. One of our favorite adventures was in Austria on a day trip to a very small farm high in the Austrian Alps. We had the opportunity to meet and dine with these wonderful people, taste the best cheese, and enjoy some spectacular scenery!
How does your blog, NomaDiva.com, contribute to balance your life?
It's an extension of my passion for health and wellness and it's also a hobby.
My husband and I manage it together and with his graphic design skills, we have lots of fun ideas for the blog's future. We enjoy developing nourishing recipes that are easy to make. We promote fitness, healthy shopping and provide dining tips from around the globe for other travelers and artists.
I noticed you've created a forum for other opera singers...could you elaborate on your relationship with people in your profession?
In the opera biz, we fondly (and somewhat anxiously) call the first day of rehearsal a new production as "the first day of school.’ You can never be too sure what your colleagues are going to be like, and these people are about to become your greatest daily influence for the next 3-6 weeks.
Relationships are accelerated in this business. Strangers become colleagues, colleagues become friends and the bonds of friendship are very strong after sharing the stage with one another. Social media is a heavily used mode of keeping in touch in our community because after the job ends, we are scattered across the globe for our next projects.
I always hope for a relaxed but professional atmosphere where I feel the freedom to experiment musically and theatrically and an environment where I feel unashamed about the intensity I bring to my work.
We're looking forward to your run in Toledo, Katie! Thank you for sharing your talent again at the Valentine!
Lucia di Lammermoor will be performed at The Valentine Theater Friday, April 24 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, April 26, at 2pm. Tickets at toledoopera.org.