Featured Artist of the Month

Katherine Pracht, Mezzo-Soprano

KATHERINE PRACHT
Mezzo-Soprano

Q:  Where are you from and when did you start singing?

A:  I live in Philadelphia, PA, but I was raised in Davenport, Iowa. My parents, 6 of my 7 brothers and sisters, and 10 of my 14 nieces and nephews still live there.  I have always sung. Music education and practice was a priority in our home, and my mother insisted we all learn to read music and play a pitched instrument...I played flute for 10 years before choosing to major in voice for my undergrad. Extended family gatherings still always include singing in some way, it is a major reason I love and miss being home for the holidays.

 

Q:  What ultimately influenced you to choose this career path?

A:  My interest turned to opera was when I heard Kiri Te Kanawa sing "Che'il bel sogno" on Johnny Carson. She stopped time for me in that moment, I was transported...I knew then that I wanted live in and create that other world.

 

Q:  Who was/is your musical muse?

A:  Erik Satie's compositions.  Silly, simple, effervescent.  Billie Holiday's singing.  Painful and beautiful.

"Katherine Pracht, as Ariel, pours forth rich, enveloping sound with well-articulated diction, using her vibrato to add expression and emotion. Her Full Fathom Five in Summer's haunting setting it's the highlight of the piece."

~Opera News March 2017 review of Joseph Summer's The Tempest, Joshua Rosenblum

 

"The incisive Katherine Pracht, styled in pants and top hat, made a fascinating study of Flora Bervoix."

~Opera News review of La Traviata with Opera Philadelphia, David Shengold.

 

"...I’ve mentioned how merry Pracht looks in Flora’s costumes. I should add Pracht is a wonderful actress who, like Oropesa, moves naturally and seems to be living Flora’s existence, as opposed to just acting it. Flora is the hostess with the mostess, and Pracht plays that part of her character to the hilt while also being able to have quiet tete-a-tetes with Violetta that indicate a genuine friendship. In keeping with Curran’s production, Pracht is also an excellent singer..."

~La Traviata with Opera Philadelphia review, NealsPaper

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Q:  What has been your favorite role to sing so far?  What is your dream role?

A:  Oof, choosing a favorite role is hard. I especially loved singing Jo in Mark Adamo's Little Women; it is an emotional tour de force, Jo grows into a woman on stage, and I working with Mark Adamo as a director was very special. Dream roles for me would be Erica in Vanessa for the same reason I love Jo; that character's arc is just incredible. I'd love to sing Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, and Charlotte in Werther. I'm very excited to be singing Elizabeth Cree with Chicago Opera Theater this February…preparation for this meaty role has me over the moon!

 

Q:  What’s the weirdest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you during a performance?

A:  I was singing Melanto in Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. Early on, I sang a flirty aria about my tenor and did a striptease. I blinked and one of my contacts popped out of my eye during performance. I panicked, because I'm basically blind without my lenses, but I finished my aria, taunted my tenor and flitted off stage. By an incredible stroke of grace, the contact had landed on my cheek and stayed there. I was able to pop it back in and enter at my next cue. Phew!

Q:  If you could, in real life, have dinner with one fictional character from an opera, who would it be and why?

A:  Sharon Falconer from Elmer Gantry. I'd like to know how she feels after having made the shift from trusting only in God to letting Elmer take over her world so much that she literally went down in flames with her flock.

 

Q:  What concert or opera have you just sung and what's coming up for you?

A:  I just sang Lady Wang in Bright Sheng's Dream of the Red Chamber on tour in China.  Next will be a concert in Kansas City singing Arias and Barcarolles and other Bernstein songs for New York Festival of Song.

 

Q:  What do you imagine life looks like after you step away from singing full-time?

A:  I intend to go out singing, damnit.

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"Mezzo-soprano Katherine Pracht created a mesmerizing Sharon Falconer, believably balancing the character's religious conviction and human frailties while singing with a rich, focused sound."

~Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review of Elmer Gantry with Florentine Opera, Elaine Schmidt

 

"The vocalists all did creditable work; most notable among them were Katherine Pracht and David Salsbery Fry, who invested Arial and Caliban with appropriately airy and earthy personalities..."

Joseph Summer's The Tempest review, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

 

"Mezzo Katherine Pracht played Susannah’s chief tormentor as a vicious little church lady. She had to pop out of the crowd, and she did, with her big voice and an energized presence that made her petite form formidable."

~ThirdCoast Digest review of Susannah with Florentine Opera, Tom Strini

 

"Katherine Pracht, as the earnest Julia, sings with both subtlety and refreshing forthrightness."

~Express Milwaukee review of The Rivals (Kirke Mechem), Skylight Opera Theatre, Rick Walters

Q:  What indispensable piece(s) of advice have you received that helped you along your musical journey, something to share with today's young and aspiring opera singers?

A:  Said absolutely supportively, "This career is tough as nails, especially for women. If there's anything else you can do and still be happy, you should consider doing that." (Stephen Swanson, University of Iowa sometime early in my undergrad.)

 

Q:  One last, very serious question. . . cake or pie?

A:  Yes!

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Insignia Artists' Featured Artist: Katherine Pracht