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Celebrated soprano Lise Lindstrom talks about opera and divahood

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The Opéra de Montréal presents the Richard Strauss one-act opera Elektra with superstar conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the helm, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of Place des Arts, with American soprano and “down-to-earth diva” Lise Lindstrom making her company debut as Elektra. Curtains Up attended a recent OdeM rehearsal for Elektra where Lindstrom sat down for a fun and frank Q&A.

Curtains Up: Elektra is your company debut, but you have performed in Montreal before?

Lise Lindstrom: This is my second time in Montreal. I first came here in 2004 to sing one aria at the Opera de Montréal Gala. So here I am back again.

How do you like Montreal?

It really is greta being here with Yannick. This is an amazing project.

What do you think of this opera?

It is completely consuming. I love the depth of the drama. It’s so rich, there is never ever a dull moment musically, dramatically or vocally. It’s full!

We love our divas. How do you feel about that word?

Like all labels, they have different connotations. I love the word diva, and I love being called a diva! But I am what you would call a down-to-earth diva because I take it as it comes and I don’t throw any fits. I love it because it insinuates that (you are) someone who has worked really hard to get to where they are, and they have the respect of all their collaegues. That overall is what we’re looking for.

Why did you become an opera singer?

Because I couldn’t do anything else very well! It’s the truth, I really couldn’t. Even now, if you asked me if I could do something other than singing, I wouldn’t be able to find something. Singing has been my passion my entire life, although there were many, many years when it wasn’t a dream come true because I hadn’t matured, had found my technique, my repertoire, hadn’t grown up, and I thank all the angels in heaven that I have now.

American soprano Lise Lindstrom sings Elektra, German soprano Nicola Beller Carbone sings Chrysothemis, Elektra’s sister; and Polish mezzo-soprano Agnes Zwierko portrays their adulterous and murderous mother, Klytemnästra. The cast also includes celebrated Canadian tenor John Mac Master as Aegisth. The one-act Elektra plays at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of Place des Arts on Nov. 21, 24, 26 and 28 at 7:30 nightly. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. No intermission. Admission: $21.65 to $136.02. For tickets, call 514-842-2112 or visit placedesarts.com.

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