Title/Position: Assistant Professor, Vocal PerformanceProfile:
Why did you choose music as your career?
I did not choose music as a career as much as it chose me. Although I had been actively singing in school and church choirs, I did not have any aspirations for a career in music. When I started college it was as a biology major. I was attending a small liberal arts college in Virginia and singing in the choir. The choir director asked me if I wanted to study voice. He encouraged me and introduced me to the lady who would become my voice teacher, Elena Nikolaidi. I took it as a sign from the universe that this incredible singer, artist and teacher would accept me as a voice student, so I changed my major, moved to Texas and the rest is history.
What would you say are the most outstanding highlights of your professional life?
Singing at the Metropolitan Opera is still one of the greatest highlights of any American singer’s career. It’s the ultimate opera company in the U.S. I remember the morning after I made my debut, waking up and giggling and knowing that no matter what happened in the future, I could always say I had sung at the Met.
Other highlights would have to be making my debut in Chicago with Luciano Pavarotti, singing Mercedes in Carmen with Placido Domingo. Making my La Scala debut with Maestro Muti and singing with the Israel Philharmonic in Tel Aviv with Zubin Mehta.
Why should a potential student choose the Frost School of Music?
The Frost School combines academic excellence with the expectation of outstanding performance ability. The atmosphere is extremely positive and nurturing which allows students the freedom to find themselves artistically. I am very impressed with the range of music degrees offered. Anybody who wants to have a career in music today must think and act like an entrepreneur. This is an aspect that I think is well addressed at the Frost School.
What do you hope to pass on to your students?
I hope to pass on to my students both a sense of their place in the historical continuum of singers and opera, and the possibility of doing what is new. The most important thing a teacher does is to help expand the students concept of what they are doing. Teaching students what artistry is and how to BE an artist, to dare to express their unique view is what I find most rewarding.
What are your favorite operatic roles and why?
I usually always say that whatever I’m working on is my favorite role : )
Obviously it’s hard to top singing great roles like Adalgisa in Norma, Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Trovatore and Carmen.
I LOVE these women! The music just feels so good to sing.
However, I have had so much fun creating characters in new operas. Singing the role of Madame Mao, for example, I got to do the most awful things, like strangle a man to death, shoot somebody in the head, smother my husband with a pillow and go crazy all while singing some very challenging music.
In Black River, I actually got to perform an immolation scene. The character pours kerosene on herself and lights herself on fire at the end of the opera. There is great freedom in being the one to create new roles. I love that freedom!
What is your favorite quote about you?
“You are like a hurricane” Funny, isn’t it,? For now, I’m a ‘Cane
Robynne Redmon (mezzo soprano) is an assistant professor in the Department of Vocal Performance at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and program director for the Frost School of Music at Salzburg. Critics have hailed her “glorious singing, intense acting, excellent phrasing, ardent tone, splendid shading and solid coloratura and excellent artistic sense” (Das Opernglas) and for her “exactitude of pitch, her luxuriance of tone, her abundant animal spirit and unerring dramatic intelligence” (Newsday). She has performed leading roles with the major opera houses of the world including The Metropolitan Opera (Maddalena in Rigoletto, Marina in Boris Godunov, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Fenena in Nabucco); Lyric Opera of Chicago (Adalgisa in Norma, Fenena in Nabucco, Laura in La Gioconda), and with San Francisco Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Berlin State Opera and Opera de Marseilles. She added the role of Amneris in Aida in her South American debut at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, sang Eboli in Don Carlos with Boston Lyric Opera and Minnesota Opera, and as Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica and Frugola in Il Tabarro for Montreal Opera.
A respected interpreter of modern music and creator of new roles, Ms. Redmon performed in world premieres of Madame Mao for Santa Fe Opera, Harvey Milk and Esther for New York City Opera, plus the American premiere of Jane Eyre with Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Equally at home in recital and concert she has appeared with the Israel Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, and Nashville Symphony with whom she recorded a critically acclaimed Beethoven Missa Solemnis (Naxos). She performed Handel’s Messiah and the Bach Magnificat with the Atlanta Symphony and was a soloist in the Verdi Requiem with the Seattle Symphony. She also sang a special Chinese language version of Das Lied von der Erde at the British Library as part of the Silk Road Exhibition.