CCM Opera Alumni Spotlight – Tamara Wilson
What plans do you have coming up the next year?
I have engagements to sing with The Oregon Bach Festival, Grant Park Music Festival (with fellow CCMer Brendan Touhy) singing Lobgesang by Mendelssohn. Then the rest of the season is more Verdi for me. Aida in Santiago Chile, Trovatore in Toulouse, and Don Carlo in Houston.
What have been some of your highlights in the past year?
I opened the season with Washington National Opera in Washington D.C. and then sang another Ballo with Teatre Principal in Maó, Spain. I sang a number of Beethoven 9 concerts touring Japan with Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart under Helmuth Rilling. Sang Turn of the Screw with L.A. Opera. Made made German debut singing Ada in Wagner’s first opera with Oper Frankfurt under Sebastian Weigle which was recorded and will be released by Oehms Classics sometime next year.
I won the 48th Annual Francisco Vinas Competition held at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain, received a Tucker Career Grant for 2011 from the Tucker Music Foundation and I also was given the chance to sing for the National Endowment of the Arts Opera Honors concert in Washington D.C. I sang “Ernani involami” from Verdi’s Ernani to honor legendary soprano Martina Arroyo.
Can you share some fond memories you have of CCM?
My fondest memories come from three main branches at CCM. First and foremost my voice lessons with Barbara Honn. She is and always will be my closest friend and mentor. I enjoyed my time in Professor Griffiths Art Song class. I love the fact that Professor Griffiths looks at music history in context of everything else that was happening in the arts. Whether is was visual arts, poetry, etc. I still thinks of certain paintings when I’m singing song literature. I learned more in that class than any other while in school. My fondest memories though stem not from the opera department but the choral department. I was given chances to learn and perform repertoire that I am currently singing professionally because of Dr. Earl Rivers. You learn skills in choir that make you a better singer, colleague, and musician. The first solo I learned was from Verdi’s Requiem my freshman year and I just sang that piece for the first time professional at the Oregon Bach Festival last year. The choral department knew I would be singing Verdi before I did.
What were some valuable lessons you took with you after you left CCM?
The main things that CCM instill in their students are discipline and striving for excellence. CCM has this way of challenging it’s students to produce high levels of technical prowess to interpret music to it’s full potential. Being at CCM prepared me for the “real” world and I would argue that preparedness is 90% of what makes a successful musician.
Would you like to share anything else?
I am living proof that you do not need to sing major roles while at school. I only did two operas while at CCM both minor roles and because I focused on my technique and lived in a practice room (not all the time though because you do have to have a certain amount of fun ) I now get to travel the world doing what I love.