Magazine article Opera Canada

Andriana Chuchman: The Winnipeg-Born Soprano Makes Versatility a Career Commitment

Magazine article Opera Canada

Andriana Chuchman: The Winnipeg-Born Soprano Makes Versatility a Career Commitment

Article excerpt

Taking an afternoon off from auditions in New York City for San Francisco Opera's Merola Young Artist program, Andriana Chuchman went to the Met for the first time to hear La Whew. Musetta in particular caught her attention, sung by one Anna Netrebko. The young singer just out of university, apprehensive about the results of the first round auditions ("I was certain I chose an unsuitable aria"), had no inkling that sonic years ahead she would cover for Netrebko. Starting this fall, Chuchman will be the alternative Adina in the new Met production of L'elisir d'amore. It's another important milestone in the career that has been thriving steadily since the singer graduated front University of Manitoba.

Chuchman was accepted to the Merola program--she found out she was moving on to the audition finals during the intermission of La boheme-and attended for two summers while doing small roles with Manitoba Opera and also nannying for Tracy Dahl, her mentor, friend and coach. "It was a great experience as I got to see how a successful singer can manage both a career and a family," she says. "It's the kind of balance I expect I'll have to manage later on." She started studying with Dahl when she was 17 and they are still working together.

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"What I knew would change my life and set my singing career on the right path was getting into the Ryan Young Artist Program." This Lyric Opera of Chicago program was at the top of her list, both because of its outstanding reputation and Chicago's relative closeness to Winnipeg. "Ryan was a perfect environment for me. As a young singer, you get to see how a company works, get to use their resources, get the best coaches, get to see star performers at work, get to do small, medium and large roles. A Jot of companies and managers come to see young artists arid hold auditions. All these opportunities are in one place--it's a perfect nest for a singer."

In her second year there, Chuchman sang her first title role, Marie in La fille du regiment. "Oh my goodness, I thought, I am the daughter of the regiment in The Daughter of the Regiment! I tried not to think about this too much. In the event, it was a lot of fun. I had my first high sustained E Flat on stage in "Salut a la France"... Marie does hit high notes and can sometimes be seen as a pipsqueak coloratura, but it's really lyrical, there are a lot of middle and lyrical qualities. "II faux partir" is really a beautiful lyric aria."

Chuchman acquired her current manager during the last year of the Ryan program. Chicago Opera Theater noticed her at the final audition for the Ryan, which led to her first Handel role, Dorinda in Orlando at COT. Another opera house where she is now a frequent guest is Michigan Opera Theater. She sang there in the double bill of Menotti's The Medium and a staged Carl Orff Carmina Burana with acrobats and dancers. "I sang "Dulcissime" hanging up in a hoop 10 feet up in the air," she laughs. Last fall at MOT, she was Susanna, a more down-to-earth role.

Judging by the range of roles she is performing to acclaim, Chuchman is equally at ease in opera, operetta and musical. "Before I even started at University of Manitoba, I really loved pop music and wanted to be a pop-folk singer. I listened to jazz and musical theatre and I grew up on The Sound of Music, Annie, Mary Poppins.

"I feel it comes naturally to me, this ease to cross musical boundaries. …

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