Chattin’ with Cupid: Meet soprano Justine Aronson
Lost and confused about his feelings for his Statue, Pygmalion prays to Venus for help. The goddess of love sends Cupid to bring the Statue to life…but not before having a little fun first. Soprano Justine Aronson will play L’Amour, the frisky cherub, in this month’s production of Rameau’s Pygmalion. We asked Justine a few questions as rehearsals get underway.
OSO: What is your experience with Rameau? Is this your first time performing his music?
Justine: This is my first time performing Rameau, and hopefully not my last!
OSO: Pygmalion deals with a sculptor’s obsession with his work. What’s your obsession/guilty pleasure?
Justine: I think, like many of my singer friends, I’m going to have to say food. Delicious food, really good food and drink…I love indulging in a well-crafted meal that stimulates and celebrates the senses, and I also love the comfort that comes with sitting down with a big bowl of beautifully-popped popcorn. Also, CHOCOLATE — enough said!
OSO: Have you performed site-specific opera before? How do you feel about taking opera out of the opera house?
Justine: This is my first experience with site-specific opera, and I’m very excited to be part of what I think represents the future of how we present opera. Place has the power to be as evocative as sound, movement and story, and I’m especially attracted to the idea of opera that is performed alongside folks going about their everyday lives. There’s something really compelling about a stylized and formalized thing coming up against and interacting with people going about their business. Also, it’s been really fantastic telling friends and family that I’m performing an opera at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum! People are intrigued and VERY excited! Opera definitely benefits from this kind of buzz, and as long as we’re presenting with integrity the intent and content of the original work, I think site-specific opera will continue to expand the scope of and interest in opera performed in the 21st century.
OSO: What is the greatest music-related advice you’ve ever been given?
Justine: This is a piece of advice that was given to me last summer by an individual in my life who I respect very deeply as a musician, and he said to me, “you know, Justine, most of the time I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, so I’m just trying to have as much fun as possible.”
OSO: Besides Pygmalion, what projects are coming up next for you?
Justine: In August, I’ll be heading to Switzerland to sing this massive Berio piece with Sir Simon Rattle at the Lucerne Festival. I sing a lot of contemporary music, and I’m really looking forward to engaging with similarly-minded young musicians at the festival, as well as taking in some beautiful views! In the fall, I’ll be singing recitals with the Brooklyn Art Song Society and the Chicago International Beethoven Project — details are available on my website at: www.justinearonson.com.
Join us for Pygmalion
Tuesday, June 17 at Madame Tussauds New York
Friday, June 20 & Saturday, June 21 at Lifestyle-Trimco Showroom
All performances start at 7:30 | Tickets available at onsiteopera.showclix.com
Soprano Justine Aronson, hailed by The New York Times for her “expressive intensity” and “matter-of-fact charm,” is known for her versatility encompassing contemporary, concert, and operatic repertoire. Justine has appeared as a soloist with The Bard Music Festival, The New York Festival of Song, Princeton Pro Musica, Reno Kantorei, The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, The Masterwork Chorale, the Westminster Summer Festival, and Los Angeles-based modern music collective wild Up. She has premiered new music extensively, including works by David Lang, Christopher Cerrone, Daron Hagen, Aaron Jay Kernis, Thomas Pasatieri, Nicholas Deyoe, Benjamin C.S. Boyle, Curt Caccioppo, Michael Bennett and Philip Rice. Roles include Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, Despina in Così fan tutte, Yum Yum in The Mikado, Monica in The Medium, Nuria in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar, and Yniold in Pelléas et Mélisande. Upcoming appearances include performances at the Lucerne Festival, Bargemusic, and Chicago’s International Beethoven Project as well as touring recitals with the Brooklyn Art Song Society. Justine, a Detroit native, holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and Western Michigan University. She currently lives in Brooklyn where she enjoys people-and-dog watching. www.justinearonson.com