Who or what inspired you to take up singing and pursue a career in music?
I think watching ‘The Sound of Music’ on loop as a young child, and later a lot of MGM musicals, inspired my own singing. I adored Julie Andrews, and indeed my first ever role was Maria, which I played in a school assembly aged 8! We had a wonderful music department at my secondary school, and I did as much extra-curricular singing as possible. I loved dancing and acting too, so it seemed to me that a career combining all of these things, such as opera, would be something worth striving for.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
My lovely singing teachers have always been my primary influences. Sarah Stroh, who I had lessons with at school, nurtured my love of singing in those early years. At Cambridge I received my musical education through being a choral scholar in Trinity College Choir, conducted by Stephen Layton. It was during that time that I began to learn the discipline required of a professional musician, and experienced the gratification of making music to a very high standard.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
It was certainly a challenge transitioning from English student to studying at a conservatoire – the routine is rather different! At this time I was at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, with the added challenge of being taught in German.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
I was proud to perform the premiere of Daniel Knaggs’ ‘Twilight Songs’ in concert at the Shepherd School of Music, Houston. It was a wonderful experience to be the original interpreter of such beautiful material.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
Pamina is a role I relish. I first performed ‘The Magic Flute’ during my final year at Cambridge, and look forward to doing it again with Euphonia Opera. My voice is certainly suited to singing Handel. Also anything from ‘The Sound of Music’.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
When it comes to song repertoire, often I’ll just hear something that attracts me and feel compelled to find the music and learn it. In terms of opera roles it can depend on what I’m offered!
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
I enjoy singing in the Royal College of Music’s Britten Theatre because it is the perfect size and has a nice acoustic.
Who are your favourite musicians?
It’s so hard to choose favourites! Some of the many I admire are Arleen Auger, Joyce DiDonato, Anna Netrebko, Beyoncé, Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, Gustavo Dudamel …
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Sitting in the middle of the front row of the Bayerische Staatsoper stalls right behind Petrenko who was conducting Wagner’s ‘Götterdämmerung’. Amazing tickets courtesy of my friend in the first violins.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
I’m still just starting out myself..! But I would say don’t be afraid to explore other things – it doesn’t mean that you’re not committed to your art. All our life experience feeds into what we do and how we can create and convey music with true feeling.
Anna Cavaliero performs songs by Schubert, Strauss, Howells and Delibes at a charity concert in support of Specialists in Pain International on Friday 2 December at St John’s Church, Waterloo. Full details and tickets here
Soprano Anna Cavaliero has performed as a soloist in both Europe and the United States, though she is now based in her native London. An Ian Evans Lombe Scholar supported by a Helen Marjorie Tonks Award, Anna is currently studying for a Masters degree in Vocal Performance at the Royal College of Music under the tutelage of Rosa Mannion and Christopher Glynn. She spent 2014-15 in Salzburg, Austria, studying at the Universität Mozarteum, and at the Mozart Opern Institut. In 2012-13, Anna took courses at The Shepherd School of Music, Houston, Texas, having been awarded the C. D. Broad Scholarship to Rice University. She there met composer Daniel Knaggs, who has written several pieces specifically for her voice. Anna enjoys performing in opera, oratorio, and as a recitalist. She read English at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, where she was also a Choral Scholar under Stephen Layton (2010-14).
(Photo: Ben Durrant)