An interview with

Anna Koor

Role in Les Contes d'Hoffmann: Giulietta

Frequent concert goers in Singapore would have heard the voice of Anna Koor at some point or other. Even though this is the first time she will be performing a lead operatic role, her distinctively warm, rounded and dark mezzo-soprano has already been heard in numerous oratorios (including Messiah, Mendelssohn's St Paul and Rossini's Stabat Mater), song recitals and semi-staged concerts of operatic scenes, showcasing her abilities in a wide repertoire. Audiences who attended the SLO’s The Diva and the Dancer production would remember her regal yet haunting performance of the final scene from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas.

Currently a part-time voice lecturer at the Singapore Bible College and private vocal teacher, Anna will be making her operatic debut in the upcoming Les Contes d'Hoffmann as the unscrupulous courtesan Giulietta. Here, Anna shares with us her excitement in taking on a new role and the start of a new chapter in her vibrant singing career.

SLO: Hi Anna, Thank you for doing this interview with us. Firstly, tell us what do you like about performing the role of Giulietta?
Anna Koor: I found it to be a very challenging role, musically and dramatically, so this performance would give me a great opportunity to stretch my performing abilities.

You are already a familiar face on Singapore’s concert stage, but describe your voice to us for those who have never heard you before.
A critic from The Arts Magazine once described my voice as “dark, yet rich in tone colour”. I think that's a pretty close description of what I sound like.

We have already seen you in numerous recitals, oratorios and concerts including several staged by SLO. Why wait so long to take on your first full operatic role?
With my heavy schedule of professional engagements and teaching commitments at the Singapore Bible College and my private classes, its difficult to find the proper time and commitment that performing opera requires. Thankfully Hoffmann came at the right time for me.

Now that you have the opportunity to present your ‘virgin role’, what other operatic roles would you like to perform?
Right now I just want to focus on doing a good job with Giulietta. I will think about other roles after I'm done with this one.

Giulietta is a role that can be taken by mezzos and sopranos. How different is it when preparing for this music compared to music meant purely for mezzos?
Naturally it is more demanding on the higher registers of the mezzo voice, but it’s nothing I can't handle!

In the story, Giulietta accepts a big diamond ring as a ‘gift’ in exchange for doing a pretty heinous crime. What is the most evil thing you would do in exchange for a big diamond ring?
I will never do anything like that, so you can see why playing Giulietta will be such an acting challenge for me!

What CDs and DVDs have you purchased recently? Care to recommend any?
Olga Borodina's Portrait by Philips. Good stuff!

Lastly, give us a good reason why we should all attend Les Contes d'Hoffmann?
The plot is unique and the three main female characters are very diverse & colourful in their personalities. It will be a very captivating premiere of this opera in Singapore.

Les Contes d'Hoffmann runs on 13, 14, 16 & 17 March 2009. Get your tickets now at SISTIC.