Lara Lynn has been described as "a voice of size, clarity, and wide coloristic range...a three-dimensional figure who combined vulnerability with strength and tugged at the heartstrings in her every breath and movement" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2013). With Pittsburgh Festival Opera, she has portrayed Cleopatra in Julius Caesar, Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann, and Mamah Cheney in Shining Brow. During the 2015 festival, Lara Lynn created the role of Alice Front in the world premiere of A New Kind of Fallout by Gilda Lyons and Tammy Ryan.  This year Lara Lynn returns as Romilda in Xerxes.

 

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How do you identify with Romilda?
Romilda knows what she wants...I feel like I understand that part of her :-)

 

What do you enjoy most about opera? Is there something you particularly enjoy about Handel's operas?
I love that opera is a combination of so many types of art...music, acting, costumes, set design.  Handel's operas leave room for new interpretation which lets all artists experiment. Example...this production of Xerxes!

 

For all the non-singers out there, what is rehearsal like?
Rehearsals require intense focus and concentration, but are so much fun with a cast like this!!

 

What was it like portraying Cleopatra, one of history’s most legendary female leaders?
There's something special about becoming a historical figure. Reading her biography, visiting museums, and, of course, watching the Elizabeth Taylor movie have all been a part of my character study. I am in awe of Cleopatra's strength, wit, and her conviction to be a great ruler. Her romance and reign with Caesar is fascinating. She's 22 and he is in his 50s, yet she uses her intelligence and charm win him over to her side. I approached this role with humility and gratitude, knowing that Handel’s ingenious score is what truly makes Cleopatra shine on the stage.

 

 

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Any other roles you’d love to perform in the future?
Ah, my dream role has to be Violetta in La traviata. Another strong woman!

 

What have you been up to in addition to the Festival?
I sang the role of Antonia in Les contes d’Hoffmann with St. Pete Opera in Florida and I teach in the Pittsburgh area.

 

Who has been the most influential person in your career?
This is tough...so many wonderful people have helped me along the way. Jonathan Eaton has been extremely influential in my development as a singing actor instead of just a singer. Pittsburgh Festival Opera gave me some of my first professional opportunities.  Teachers who changed my life are Sari Gruber, Claudia Pinza, and Carol Webber. These ladies know the voice! I am thankful to work with these lovely people who are talented artists as well as kind mentors.  

 

More about Lara Lynn
Lara Lynn McGill graduated with her Master’s from the Eastman School of Music and her Bachelor’s from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. In the Festival’s 2016 season, she portrayed another Handel diva, Cleopatra, in Julius Caesar. In 2015, she joined create the role of Alice Front in the world premiere of A New Kind of Fallout and also premiered the role of Story in The Heart of Shahrazad with Amiche Artists. Other operatic roles include: Donna Anna with Opera Western Reserve, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Antonia in Tales of Hoffmann, Mamah in Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow, Susannah in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, Sandrina in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Adina in The Elixir of Love, and her Pittsburgh Opera debut as Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. Lara Lynn also covered Frasquita in Carmen as an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera and performed The Foreign Women in Menotti’s The Consul with Opera New Jersey. In addition to her operatic career, Lara Lynn has presented recitals in the United States, Italy, Austria, and South Africa. She currently has a private teaching studio in Pittsburgh.

 

Hannah Shea