We’re kicking off our #AOButterfly ‘Meet the Cast’ series with our Suzuki, Kathryn Leemhuis! Kathryn is making her Annapolis Opera debut in Madama Butterfly, and we’re thrilled to have her here!
What led you to a career in performing?
I sang before I ever spoke a word, so my parents knew they were doomed with a performing child fairly early on. Luckily, I have very supportive parents who encouraged my education and growth in music and theater. I was majorly into musical theater as a teen, but couldn’t dance to save my life! I found my way into opera when I arrived at college, and instantly fell in love.
Why do you love opera?
Opera grabs hold of the heart, enters the soul, and doesn’t let go. It could be tragic, comedic, modern, or traditional…whatever it is, it will reach at least one person in the audience. In my opinion, that is my job and that it why I love this medium.
Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
Yes. People will ask you to be different somehow: be yourself. You already are a unique individual, and it’s important to remember that, just by being yourself, you have much to offer music, singing, and the characters you play. You will also feel pressured at times to pursue the same things as other singers (YAPs, auditions, managers, etc). You must know that no two singers’ paths are the same. Yours will be its own, and that’s okay! Stay true to yourself and follow your heart at every turn.
Tell us about the character you play in Madama Butterfly.
Suzuki is Cio-Cio-San’s servant, but their relationship far surpasses that simplicity. Suzuki really is like an older sister to Cio-Cio-San, and loves her as such. While the outcome is devastating for Cio-Cio-San, it is equally so for Suzuki.
What do you have coming up after Madama Butterfly?
I will be singing the mezzo-soprano solo in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Boise Philharmonic in Idaho.
If you could play any role (regardless of voice part, gender, etc.), what role would it be?
Elvira in Bellini’s I Puritani. I would kill to be a high soprano and to sing the aria, “Qui la voce.” To me, it’s sheer magical musical writing.
Do you have any pre-show rituals/are you superstitious when it comes to the theatre?
No…I’m probably far too normal compared to some opera singers. I sleep in; I drink my latte; I go to the gym; I eat a nice lunch; I do some work; I go to the show! See? Completely boring!
Other than opera, what are you listening to now? (What’s on your iPod?)
Oh dear, I’m so embarrassed by this question. Currently, it’s a combination of Adele, Avicii, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, The Civil Wars, Ed Sheeran, Huey Lewis, Keith Urban, Lake Street Dive, Sam Smith, Wilson Phillips, and a handful of songs from the Nashville soundtrack. Admittedly, I don’t normally listen to opera: I enjoy current hits!
What do you do for fun/what hobby or interest do you enjoy outside of performing?
I’m a dog lover, a wife, a voice teacher, and a super organized yogi!
Want to keep up with Kathryn? Check out her website, and make sure to get your tickets to see in her in Madama Butterfly!