Ten Questions in an Aria: Vanessa Becerra

In a change from the popular “Ten Questions in One Minute” format of lightning interview, we ask one of our amazing artists to pick one aria from an opera—any aria, any opera—and to answer ten quick questions within the time it takes to listen to, sing or hum it.

First up: soprano, Vanessa Becerra, who plays Marzelline in Fidelio:
1. What aria did you choose to listen to/sing/hum to while you take this quiz? “The Bell Song” from Lakmé by Delibes, sung specifically by Edita Gruberova.

2. Why did you choose that one? Edita is one of the first sopranos a friend introduced me to in high school and her rendition of this aria absolutely blew my mind. I was obsessed! She sings that chromatic descending scale flawlessly and truly sounds like a bell! She is one of my all-time favorite sopranos and her recent passing was a major loss for the opera world.

3. Where is your home? (growing up and/or living now) I am a proud native of Fort Worth, Texas! Currently living in Madison, Wisconsin. Let’s just say I am not wearing shorts in 30-degree weather like some people here =)

4. Where do you consider your “operatic home”? Definitely the Glimmerglass Festival. I trained there for two summers as a young artist and was very lucky to return as a guest artist for two seasons as well. They nurtured me so much! I will always cherish my years there.

5. What was the first role you sang (or first opera you conducted) professionally? I made my professional debut at my hometown company of Fort Worth Opera in the world premiere of With Blood, With Ink. And who was at the podium? Our very own Tim Myers! I was still in grad school at the time and learned so much. Extremely profound experience.

6. What role/opera did you debut most recently? Most recently I created the role of Alicia Hernández in RISE at Washington National Opera but this season I also debuted Rosina in The Barber of Seville. So much fun!

7. Who was the greatest influence on your operatic life? I had and still have so many! Artists who utilize their platform to give back to local and global communities inspire me the most. I know he’s not an opera singer but Yo-Yo Ma is truly one of my heroes. I admire the Silk Road Ensemble so much and secretly wish I could be part of it!

8. What would be your dream role/event/opera house? I married an opera singer and have never been in an opera with him! Definitely Le nozze di Figaro as Susanna and Figaro or the feistier Musetta and Marcello in La bohème would be a dream.

9. When are you happiest? Cooking, listening to records with my husband, snuggling up with him and our fur daughter Coco.

10. What’s next for you? After Fidelio, I head almost immediately to the Bay Area to sing La Belle in Philip Glass’s La Belle et la Bête and then I head to Boston Lyric Opera where I’ll debut Juliette in Roméo et Juliette. Talk about a gear shift!

See Vanessa as Marzelline in Fidelio, April 29 & May 1, 2022