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MARIA NOCKIN talks to American mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux about her life and career


The gorgeous goddess from the far north, Alaska born mezzo-soprano, Vivica Genaux [listen -- 'É di natura istinto' from 'Alahor in Granata' Act I], has astounded the opera world with her incredibly facile and accurate coloratura, her comedic prowess and her magnificent interpretations of long unsung roles originally written for the Baroque Era's fabled castrati.

Last winter I spoke with her when she was at the Los Angeles Opera singing the title role in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. I asked her to tell me about her background, understanding that her parents have different cultural heritages.

Vivica Genaux. Photo © Harry Heleotis/Virgin Classics
Vivica Genaux. Photo © Harry Heleotis/Virgin Classics

Vivica Genaux: My Mom was born in Mexico City, but her father was from Switzerland and her mother from Germany. My father is of Belgian and Welsh descent. They met on the Queen Mary, on their way to Europe to participate in a 'junior year abroad' program that the University of Maryland was giving in Basel, Switzerland. They dated the whole time they were there, but my Mom came back to finish college in Mexico, so they were apart writing letters for a year. After that they found they still loved each other, so they got married.

When I last sang in San Diego both my parents came to visit and they got to see the Queen Mary again, as it is docked nearby in Long Beach, CA.

Maria Nockin: Where were you born?

VG: I was born in Alaska, but my older sister was born in Mexico because my mother's parents were concerned about the medical situation in the far north. My other sister and I were born in Alaska.

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Copyright © 13 June 2004 Maria Nockin, Arizona, USA


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