Spotlight on Ariana Wehr, Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist

Ariana returns to the role of Gretel in WNO’s Hansel and Gretel this month.

Wehr Ariana Headshot July 2015Where 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.

Which university or conservatory did you attend?

I am a proud alumna of Louisiana State University, where I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance.

What is your favorite role that you have performed so far? What is your favorite opera? What is your dream role that you would like to perform in the future?

One of my favorite roles I have performed is Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and I am so excited to perform this role again in WNO’s production this December! My favorite operas are The Marriage of Figaro, Madama Butterfly, and La Boheme. A dream role that I would love to sing is Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor!

Do you have a pre-performance routine?

I like to sleep in the day of a performance, drink a lot of coffee, have a lightish lunch, go over the show in my head during the day, and I like to have sushi as dinner before a show – because it doesn’t make me too full and I need the combination of carbohydrates and protein to fuel me for the show.

There are many skeptics that believe opera is a dying art form. Why do you think opera is still relevant today?

All someone has to do is look at WNO’s season this year to see why opera is still relevant. Modern American operas like the premiere of Appomattox and the works in the American Opera Initiative are being championed and programmed alongside enduring works being told through a new lens like Carmen and Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Was the District different from what you expected when you moved here for the program?

I did not anticipate how popular brunch is, and that eating tater tots at restaurants as an adult is completely acceptable and encouraged!

What might people be surprised to know about you?

I am a fraternal twin! My amazing twin, Victoria Wehr, is currently in the last year of her residency in Oncology Pharmacy at the VA Hospital in Indianapolis. I couldn’t be more proud!

What has been your favorite/most memorable WNO/DCYAP moment?

My favorite moment so far has been singing the National Anthem on the Opera House stage with my fellow Young Artists at the beginning of the season before the opening of Carmen. It definitely hit me how lucky I am to be here and work with such incredible talent.

Do you have a website, Facebook page, Twitter handle, or Instagram name you’d like to share with BravO?

My website is, my Instagram handle is awehr1 and my Twitter handle is LSUOpera2011.

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