Natalie Mann is an exceptionally talented world renowned opera singer. She is in conversation with Namita Nayyar, President Psychedelichosting.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You are a world renowned opera singer and perform across a spectrum of operatic arias, popular songs, musical theater and hymns. You are winner of the Audience Favorite Award in the David W. Scott Memorial Competition, wherein you bring the lush and warm soprano to life in a variety of roles ranging from Mozart and Puccini to Verdi and Strauss. What factors you consider are responsible for your spectacular success?
Ms. Natalie Mann: I think the primary factor has been my ability to focus on my health and training while staying playful and upbeat. I am pretty laid back, but when I am performing music, the mental focus sets free my huge personality to express itself. The ability to free myself in the music and not be inhibited in sharing that with an audience makes the difference. I feel I have something unique to share with audiences when I sing, and people connect with that.
Studying and performing music is a daily activity, and it takes a lot more time than people realize. I have to be aware of what I am doing both at work and play, because I take my instrument with me everywhere I go. I keep healthy routines so my voice and body stay in optimum shape.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You made your debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2006. In 2011, you made your debut with San Diego Opera as a Noble Orphan in DER ROSENKAVALIER. and this propelled your singing career to the height where you have been at the top of the world as a singer. Tell us something about this professional journey in the world of music?
Ms. Natalie Mann: Being an international opera singer is so different from a normal job path; which I did for part of my life. I was working at a Fortune 500 company and singing less and less. I saw all my friends becoming successful in business and my singing career hadn’t taken off yet because I was so young. That made me a bit jealous. It was hard to stay on the musical path when I felt so many odds were against me. But being laid off during the economic crisis of 2009 was a blessing for me, because I took a hard look at what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life, and the answer was music.
To be successful performing is a lifelong commitment to self-education. The rewards are abundant and include world travel and in order to be that desired by opera companies, I must remain focused on what is most important to me and make good decisions. While entertaining may be my profession, the career demands I treat it very seriously albeit peppered with a great deal of fun and fancy gowns. Because of the patience I practiced and determination I developed, I have been rewarded both in personal happiness and in professional opportunities.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Critics have praised your recent performances as Donna Anna (DON GIOVANNI), Micaela (Bizet’s CARMEN), Marguerite (Gounod’s FAUST.), Hanna in Lehar’s MERRY WIDOW. Tell us about your experience in giving these memorable performances?
Ms. Natalie Mann: Being able to interpret so many roles is really a joy, but singing Micaela in Carmen stands out as a favorite. As in sports, musicians want to be ‘in the moment’ to give the best performance, and everything just clicked for me in that character. During her big aria, she’s alone in a smuggler’s lair, trying to find her love who has run off with another woman to tell him his mother is dying. Really powerful emotions are in play; love, duty, honor and fear. I could feel the music and my voice magnifying these emotions for the audience and letting them experience it with me. At the end of the aria, there was just a moment before the applause where all of us in the building felt the sincere emotion and took a breath together. It was magical to have a thousand people all in sync with me on the stage.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You made your debut at Carnegie Hall in 2011, in a concert featuring the work of female American composers. This led to a wonderful collaboration with composer Lori Laitman, and a release in 2013 of a CD on Albany Records titled EXPERIENCE, with world premiere recordings of songs of Laitman and American composer Richard Pearson Thomas. Tell us more about this endeavor of yours?
Ms. Natalie Mann: In the world of classical music, female composers’ talents are often overlooked. I was singing a benefit for the “Go Red for Women” campaign for the American Heart Association at Carnegie Hall, and thought it only fitting that I should highlight works by women composers. The best part about working with living composers is that I could form a great relationship with Lori! She’s a wonderful individual as well as a great composer. I wanted to be the person to share and interpret her amazing songs on the CD ‘Experience’. On the other hand this project was really daunting, as a composer knows exactly what they wrote and how they want it to sound!
This CD does a great job of introducing people to really wonderful and accessible new music. There are free songs from the CD on my website www.nataliemann.com that are available for download.