Natalie Eccleston, Soprano
Soprano Natalie Eccleston will be making her debut at the Opera Company of Brooklyn in Der Vampyr as Malwina for the upcoming performance on October 29, 2016. She recently debuted with Sugar Creek Opera singing the role of First Spirit and covering the role of Papagena. Recent performances include Dalinda in Dramma per Musica’s Ariodante as well as Le Feu in New York Lyric Opera’s L’enfant et les sortiléges. Other roles performed include Mademoiselle Silberklang in Mozart’s Der Schauspeildirektor and Psyche in the world premiere performance of Anthony Green’s Alex in Transition. While attending University of Cincinnati’s CCM she performed Young Vixen in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Miles in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, and Gasparina in Haydn’s La Canterina.Read below as she shares her experience with us.
How did you get into Opera?
I have been performing on stage since I was 6. My childhood performance experiences mostly consisted of choral and musical theater works. When I was 13 I was accepted into the New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory Program and began my classical voice lessons. It was from then on that I studied classical repertoire and opera. After those early experiences with operatic repertoire I never wanted to perform anything else!
What, in your opinion, makes OCB unique?
The amount of operas performed yearly is massive and gives many opportunities for singers to perform, learn and engage with conductors and directors, and surround themselves with other talented singers.
How do you relax when not on stage?
I do spend most of my time out and about! But on the rare occasion that I truly feel I need to relax I like to meditate and write. Truly though being out and with friends recharges me more than anything.
Do you have any advice for other singers?
Stress is really the worst thing you can do to your music. Sometimes it is inevitable, but caring for your body and mind are as important if not more important as your lessons and practicing. Tension is highly detrimental to singing so relaxing your mind enough to keep your body relaxed should always be a top priority. I wish I had realized this earlier!
What are your dream roles?
Since high school I always dreamed of singing the Bell Song. As I’ve studied the role of Lakme more I have fallen even more in love with her character and her tragic story. Plus, who doesn’t love the Flower Duet?
Which colleagues do you admire?
Nadine Sierra is always someone I listen to when I am learning new repertoire that she has performed. The ease with which she sings is mesmerizing and watching her really puts me in a good head space for my own performances. She is a perfect example of why total body relaxation and release of tension is so vital to good singing!
What/who is your favorite opera and composer? Why?
My favorite composer has been Beethoven ever since I was 13. His music has been very touching to me through all the phases of my life I’ve gone through so far. Listening to Beethoven for me is like listening to someone who truly knows you deeply. But as for my favorite opera, I think it changes. At the moment I’ve become really enamored with John Adam’s Nixon In China. I find the music really breathtaking and the character studies that each aria presents are very captivating. I always feel very moved watching Nixon In China.
Which character (not in your voice range) would you most like sing and why?
Well of course it would have to be Mimi! And that role will never be my voice type. But it is such a gorgeously written role and opera. It is really a perfect opera and it would be an honor and thrill for any singers to have an opportunity to be a part of it. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will ever be a reality for my voice.
What other music do you listen to?
I’m a sucker for electro-pop. Queen and The Stones often appear on my mixes. I also am a huge fan of all things K-culture including K-pop.
Do you read books/watch movies to prepare for a role?
I think one of the best ways to prepare for a role is to become familiar with the time and place in history the opera takes place as well as which the composer lived. This information will come up often when immersing yourself in any role. It would be difficult to make good decisions about the characters motivation without knowing where they are coming from.
How do you balance a career with a life offstage?
Lots of lists! I really turn everything into a list so I can feel calm in knowing I am on top of everything. This really helps me use all of my time optimally. Time management is really important and keeping organized is a huge help.
How do you unwind after singing?
After singing I am totally amped! I don’t unwind at all. This is the time more than ever I want to go out and celebrate.
The dreaded question: Have you ever appeared in Phantom of the Opera?
I have not. I don’t think I will, I haven’t been in a musical since I was 17. But who knows!
Opera Company of Brooklyn Presents: Der Vampyr on Saturday, October 29 from 7 PM to 9:45 PM at 600 W 218th Street, 1 G, NY, NY 10034. Tickets are a suggested donation of $20 in advance, $40 day of and can be reserved online here. For more information about the production and cast, click here.