Monica Harte: On Nevada Opera, Madame Butterfly, and G-Train

Remarkable Theater Brigade’s co-founder and General Director Monica Harte (also known for the annual delight Opera Shorts) has now brought her organizational skills to a new but familiar place, Nevada Opera (a company started and run for many years by her parents), and for starters she’s reinvigorating the opera world yet again with a re-imagined take on Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, giving the piece a new anime-style look. Continue reading

Sonja Gustafson

This is sort of a Christmas gift for me, but it is now one I can give to you guys!

Sonja Gustafson is a singer from London, ON, Canada that you may or may not know from a little-known documentary TV series titled “Bathroom Divas: So You Want To Be an Opera Star” that aired on Bravo Canada (It aired here in the US on Ovation TV). On that show she was one of five finalists that were chosen from a large number of applicants that auditioned. The show itself was focused on the finalists and the work that went into training and nuturing their vocal skills for operatic performance, and the winner got to sing an aria with a symphony orchestra (She came in second place, but did really well). Sonja Gustafson had started as a classically trained vocalist (The program showcased her giving an operatic career a second shot after initially abandoning it), but ultimately decided to try her hand at jazz with some fellow musicians, performed locally in her hometown, and made a jazz CD as her debut recording, as well as a follow-up, her holiday release Comfort & Joy. Before we got into any of that, Sonja, currently a happily-married mother of two (She had her one-month old with her during our Skype conversation) talked about the origin of her music career. Continue reading