Young singer of the moment Nicole Car, originally from Victoria and a family where music played an important role, tells Fine Music about her musical experiences and aspirations. She thought at one time that she might actually make her way in life as a professional jazz singer. However, during her teenage years Car was very much influenced by opera especially after attending a performance of Tosca. And it was the theatricality of what she experienced that drew her to becoming an opera singer.
In the middle of a hectic rehearsal period, Car took time out to speak with Fine Music’s Emyr Evans.
EE: I understand that your first major role was in 2009 performing Donna Anna in Victorian Opera’s Don Giovanni. How was that experience for you?
NC: Well I had a wonderful time. Richard Gill had started the Opera Company and he was a great source of support to me. He was anxious to help me develop my voice and we toured and performed Britten’s Noye’s Fludde where I took the lead role of Mrs Noye. A year later we performed The Snow Queen based on a very cute story about a lost child. All of this was a great experience for me and I was able to learn so much not just about the music but other aspects of performance.
EE: Recently you were involved with a joint collaboration of Eugene Onegin between Opera Australia and Covent Garden. Was that a big learning curve for you?
NC: Performing Tatyana opposite Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky was indeed a thrilling experience and a very taxing role to play for a young singer especially when you consider the amount of time she spends on stage. And I’m looking forward to a continuation of similar collaborations. The involvement has an excellent effect on getting better known which means that my diary is looking very busy.
EE: This year you’re singing in the sublime Cosi Fan Tutte but also performing Luisa Miller for the first time with Opera Australia – how do you prepare for such a demanding role?
NC: The opera is being rehearsed currently and I want to emphasise the great support I’m receiving from working with the cast. Apart from a daily ritual of physical exercise I work hard learning the basic requirements of the part – phrasing requires proper shaping, best breath control and correct dynamic levels all contributing to an impressive musical performance. The character and the stagecraft have to be studied. And of course the relationship with the director and conductor is of paramount performance.
EE: You’ve done a lot of travelling and won many awards for the power and timbre of your voice… you must have been told dozens of times about your incredible breath control. Tell me how do you look after your voice?
NC: I just have to be careful of the various atmospheres and temperatures that one normally experiences and I have to fly Business Class too!
EE: In addition to stage performances you’ve been involving yourself with non operatic roles like Brahms’ Requiem, Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied and Bach’s St John’s Passion. How important do you think it is to vary your style and repertoire?
NC: I don’t try and label my singing into any particular mode and I believe it’s important to embrace all types of repertoire.
EE: Apart from the launch of The Kiss what else do you have in the pipeline?
NC: I’d like to consider recording works by some of the French composers – Fauré, Charpentier, Duparc and Saint-Saens.
– Emyr Evans
Last month, Nicole Car unveiled her debut album The Kiss which includes some sterling performances with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Andrea Molino. The CD’s title is taken from the name of the rarely recorded lullaby by Smetana from the opera Hubicka. Amongst the passionate gems on this CD are Gounod’s Jewel Song, Puccini’s They Call me Mimi, Tchaikovsky’s Tatyana’s Letter Scene, Verdi’s Come in quest’ora bruna, Bizet’s Carmen and Dvorak’s Rusalka.
For more information visit: http://www.abcmusic.com.au/TheKiss