Special thanks to Gary Rust & James Zhu for use of their beautiful home and piano.
Meet Kindra Scharich and Jeffrey LaDeur
How has your relationship with OP influenced/impacted your career?
Kindra: I am a long time admirer of Opera Parallèle. I remember as a young singer saying, “if only this company would hire me.” I would tell everybody that the company I wanted to work with is OP. Then in 2017, OP had me come in and sing for the “The Fox” in the first production of The Little Prince, and I was hired for the role, which I loved. I loved that production as well. Then I was in Les Enfants Terribles and in 2018, “The Fox” in The Little Prince again and the “Ensemble” in Today It Rains.
I think that so much of the great, compelling and innovative things that are happening in the arts are happening in the San Francisco Bay area in smaller companies like OP. I think their smaller size gives them more freedom. Working with OP allowed me to explore many works that I would have otherwise not known. Also, it’s a wonderful company, a wonderful group of people. I think OP is solid. The people they hire are solid, the singers they hire are solid, the company is solid. It’s just a wonderful experience.
What are some personal tie-ins to mothers or maternal figures and Mother’s Day in your Close-Up recital repertoire?
Kindra: When I was asked to present a concert on Mother’s day, I had to pause and ask, “what does this mean for me?” I don’t have kids and haven’t really celebrated Mother’s Day, so that’s why I wanted to explore what motherhood represents from different angles.
The adoration, poignancy, and idealism of the final song in the repertoire, the all-encompassing the nature, are all things that are represented in the pieces we chose, and how we arrived at some of the songs we picked was from the fact that neither Jeffrey nor I have children.
Jeffrey: I agree with all of that, and I was thinking about how a life in music and studying music and going deeper into music is a kind of inheritance. It’s something that you learn from your mother, and I think as musicians and artists, that is an important skill or process to become comfortable with and renew on a regular basis. The idea of being open to receiving inherited wisdom through music and through art is essential to what we do to grow just like it is for a child.
What is your favorite maternal figure in opera and why?
Kindra: The first to come to mind is Erda from Wagner’s Ring Cycle only because she has this timeless wisdom, and she is not hovering. She shows up at these critical moments and says, look, this is something to be aware of, be careful of that, then she disappears back down.
Jeffrey: I don’t have one in mind, but I think Erda is a great example. She is mother earth, mother of everything.
In terms of the quarantine and pandemic, have you made any new discoveries about your practice or your work during this time?
Jeffrey: It is like a mandatory journey inward, no external validation, no external distractions. Really just finding internal motivation, internal satisfaction, and the discipline, and the sort of quiet joy of that. I think it has been very revealing. The places and the interests that would remain the same, and the things that you see that are associated with or dependent on the trappings of external things; when all of that is gone, it is interesting to watch what you do and what speaks to you.
Kindra: I agree that when you are stripped of all the external stuff, you ask yourself, what music do you want to sing? What music do you want to play? What is music’s purpose? I think we are all just starting to observe what the impact of this last year has been, and it will be something that unfolds for the next several years as we look back on this period.
What are you most looking forward to post-pandemic?
Jeffrey: Certainty the return of live music, but I will say the return of live music as we’ve all been changed. So there is a kind of no return; it is just moving forward to the thing that looks a little more like before the pandemic. But I think live music will always be different for us now.
Do you think you will appreciate it more?
Jeffrey: Yes, I think we will appreciate it more and know it is more precious and fragile than we ever realized. Also, it may be more essential to have a live venue for certain pieces of music, and that other pieces almost thrive on the intimacy and the digital format. Some things work beautifully in this new format. What we’ve learned and what’s been our hobby in the past year is how to do everything online and that some things work really well if not better, and then other things leave you feeling like there is no way they will work and we’ll just have to wait until we can do it live.
Kindra: I think I am most looking forward to ditching the computer for a while. You know, every day I walk past Davies Symphony Hall and the Opera House, and now little weeds are coming up and out of the concrete, and pretty soon there will tumbleweeds rolling around outside. You know it is strange, but sometimes you have a delayed reaction. I had a delayed reaction when singing through this program because when you’re just dealing with the moment and accepting that everything is canceled, and then you actually get an opportunity to sing something, it feels very emotional. I didn’t realize it would feel that way for me. That feeling of desolation and wondering, what is the point of living in the city when there is no art, has been devastating for the last year. This last year we have been shown all of the difficult things about living in the city and very little of the light things.
I am looking forward to seeing the light side of the city, art, dance, music, and people out with each other and laughing and joy and actual faces. I am looking forward to seeing the actual faces of my students that I have never seen. So those things are things I missed very much, and it’s emotional to think about how much we have missed.
Tiffany Austin, jazz soprano
Marcus Shelby, double bass
This free recital is available on-demand until Thurs, May 20th at 5 PM PDT
Kenneth Kellogg, bass-baritone
Kevin Korth, piano
Thursday, June 17
First performance at 5 PM PDT
Facebook and YouTube links will be posted here.
With a spirit of new and light, Opera Parallèle is thrilled to launch a free online series to give our community a chance to get Close-Up and personal with OP’s talented artists. Each short program will fuse music and stories in an intimate setting, celebrating art and life. The performances will be given at 5 PM PDT Thursdays, April 22, May 6 and June 17, and OP artists and staff will lead informal conversation in the online chat at the time of each recital. The “Close-Up” performances can be viewed on Facebook or YouTube. The programs are free of charge and will be available to view until the next “Close-Up” recital is released, or for approximately one month. Specific links for each release date will be made available here at 4 PM PDT on the day of each performance.