Ariana returns to the role of Gretel in WNO’s Hansel and Gretel this month.
Where were you born? Did you grow up in a musical household?
I was born in Brazil and then adopted by dairy farmers in Indiana. My family likes music but no one is particularly musical. My parents and siblings played instruments in high school but they all sing along to the radio.
Is that where you consider “home” today?
Even though I moved around a lot as a kid I still consider Batesville, Indiana, home.
When did you first know you wanted to sing opera?
After attending Interlochen Arts Camp the summer before my senior year of high school, I was encouraged to pursue opera in college. It was my first indication that I kind of knew what I was doing singing-wise because I am from a small town and I had no way of knowing how I stacked up.
Wagner is a big part of your operatic repertoire. What draws you so strongly to his music?
To give a complete answer, it would be necessary to explain what a real conductor (I mean, a conductor as the composer wants him to be) is actually doing during the performance, during the rehearsals, before the rehearsals. To explain, it would need a book.
Instead, let’s use a metaphor: the conductor is a painter who sees clearly the image in his mind before making it visible for the others. Only he sees the work and sees what needs to be done to make, let’s say, the Mona Lisa, visible. This active part of the creation of the conductor grows with the richness, the dimensions, the complexity, and the length of the score, as well as the vastness of the discourse of the composer.