Speaking with Statues: Meet soprano Camille Zamora
At the center of Pygmalion’s obsession is his beloved statue. Soprano Camille Zamora will sing the role of La Statue next month in On Site Opera’s production of Rameau’s Pygmalion. We asked her a few questions as she prepares for rehearsals to begin.
OSO: What is your experience with Rameau? Is this your first time performing his music?
Camille: This is my first outing with Rameau, and I’ve fallen in love! There is something so daring and honest and vulnerable in his vocal lines, and there’s this delicious challenge in finding the true simplicity of approach that lets that ring out. When excess is pared away, Rameau’s expressive essence shines through, and I’d defy anyone to resist him! And working with the brilliant conductor and harpsichordist Jennifer Peterson has given me a whole new understanding of how the vocal lines fit within the harmonic palette of these Baroque instruments.
OSO: Pygmalion deals with a sculptor’s obsession with his work. What’s your obsession/guilty pleasure?
Camille: These days, now that the warmer weather has finally arrived, I’m obsessed with running along the Hudson River. I’m also obsessed with great meals, so I guess you could say that I have complementary passions. 🙂
OSO: Have you performed in a site-specific opera before? How do you feel about taking opera out of the opera house?
Camille: I’ve never had the opportunity to perform a site-specific opera before, and I can’t wait. I love the idea of placing art directly in the stream of life — a flashmob Messiah at the mall, an artist-designed piano on a city street for anyone to play. It’s that experience of being “surprised by joy,” to steal Wordsworth’s phrase. I think that site-specific opera speaks to that idea: let us astonish you with this musical treasure where you least expect it. I love that.
OSO: What inspired you to become an opera singer?
Camille: I was that crazy, daydreaming kid who would never stop singing. Pop tunes, Broadway numbers, TV jingles — no song was safe from me! I was lucky enough to have good public school music programs in Texas, where I grew up, and one day in elementary school, I got the chance to audition for the children’s chorus of Houston Grand Opera. The first time I heard those sounds — those glorious, unamplified voices sailing out into the theater over that huge orchestra — I was hooked. Opera felt to me like the final frontier, the Olympics of the voice. Years later, I was thrilled to make my “grown-up” professional debut at HGO in L’incoronazione di Poppea, but I’m not sure anything will ever top my first experience on that stage, marching along with my fellow Carmen kids singing the “Toreador” song at the top of our little lungs. 🙂
OSO: Besides Pygmalion, what projects are coming up next for you?
Camille: This summer, I’m excited to continue my collaboration with the ever-inspiring Yo-Yo Ma www.yo-yoma.com/ in music of Scott Gendel scottgendel.com and others in July, and then continuing to explore my passion for Spanish vocal repertoire in duo recitals with the brilliant Spanish pianist Cristina Pato www.cristinapato.com. I am also looking forward to performing arias from the great zarzuelas for the closing concert of the Phoenicia International Festival http://www.phoeniciavoicefest.org, and making my Mexico City debut with Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v17Y89bSJM.
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
About Camille Zamora: In repertoire ranging from Mozart to tango, and in collaboration with artists ranging from Plácido Domingo to Sting, soprano Camille Zamora (La Statue) has garnered a passionate following for her “magnificent voice and impeccable technique… She wins over the public not only with her richly colored voice, but also with her grace and beauty” (Diario San Luis). Recent highlights include Twin Spirits: Robert and Clara Schumann at Lincoln Center and LA’s Music Center with Sting, Trudie Styler, Joshua Bell, and Nathan Gunn; Europa in Die Liebe der Danae with American Symphony Orchestra; Elle in La Voix Humaine at Auckland (New Zealand) Opera; Ilia in Idomeneo at Boston Lyric Opera; Despina in Così fan tutte at Glimmerglass Opera and Virginia Opera; Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at Anchorage Opera; Micaëla in Carmen at Gulf Coast Opera Theatre; and Amore/Valetto in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Houston Grand Opera. Other signature roles include Blanche (Dialogues des Carmélites), The Governess (The Turn of the Screw), The Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), and the title roles in Susannah, Alcina, and, most recently, Anna Bolena. A champion of zarzuela and classical Spanish song, she has been cited by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and NBC Latino as a leading interpreter of the Spanish vocal repertoire. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School. www.camillezamora.com