Laura Flaxman, Mezzo-Soprano
Mezzo-soprano Laura Flaxman returns to New York to perform as Carmen with Opera Company of Brooklyn on August 27. She has recently performed Laura Adorno in La Gioconda, and regularly performs with The New Jersey Music Society. Flaxman received her Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University with a Master of Music from University of Colorado. We’ve learned that when she is not on stage, she is devoted to her yoga practice, plays the piano and reads. Read below for our interview of OCB asks…
How did you get into Opera?
When I was younger I loved musical theater and began taking voice lessons from a professor at a nearby university. She would play me old opera records and I just thought they sounded strange. However, my senior year I won my division of the NATS competition and they held a concert showcasing the winners. I sang first and then sat in the audience to listen to the college and graduate students sing their arias. It was the first time I had ever heard an operatic voice in person- and I thought it was magic. After that I tried to learn as much as I could about opera.
What, in your opinion, makes OCB unique?
Of course the intimate venue, for starters! I also think the wide variety of repertoire and the casual presentation make it a very fun and accommodating way to experience opera.
Do you have any advice for other singers?
Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t settle for someone else’s opinion of you when you know you can do more.
What are your dream roles?
Amneris, Eboli, Azucena, Dalila, Santuzza
Which colleagues do you admire?
It sounds cheesy, but I really admire my husband (baritone Joseph Flaxman). I’m impressed by how well he balances his passion for this art form with the discipline to work towards his goals in a systemic manner.
What/who is your favorite opera and composer? Why?
I couldn’t pick just one! I love them for different reasons- I adore the way that Verdi wrote for my voice type, I love Mozart’s music (but I’d rather listen to someone else sing it), I don’t know if anything is more hauntingly beautiful than a melody by Bellini, and Puccini writes in such an evocative and specific way.
Which character (not in your voice range) would you most like sing?
King Philip in Don Carlo.
What other music do you listen to?
A wide variety- I like folk music and bluegrass, some alternative rock, I’m really just drawn to good writing- songs that have layers and more to discover on multiple listening.
Do you read books/watch movies to prepare for a role?
Yes, I try to really root myself in the historical context of the piece. I research what was going on politically and artistically during that time period, look at pictures of the fashion and architecture and try to grasp what daily life would have really been like for the character. I also try to read any source material that might have inspired the libretto.
How do you balance a career with a life offstage?
I think that balance is always shifting; so, I try to remind myself not to obsess too much over any moment in time, because soon enough it’ll be different. There are times when I wish I could focus more on music, and other times when I wish I had more time for friends and family. In the end, I think it usually evens out.
How do you unwind after singing?
It really depends on what I’m singing- sometimes I feel energized and want to discuss and celebrate with colleagues, other times it can be draining and I just want to go home and do some yoga before bed.
Opera Company of Brooklyn Presents: Carmen on Saturday, August 27 from 7 PM to 9:45 PM at 600 W 218th Street, 1 G, NY, NY 10034. Tickets are a suggested $20 in advance, $40 day of and can be reserved online here. For more information about the production and cast, click here.