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MN: Is your family musical?

VG: Somewhat. My middle sister is one of those people who can pick up any instrument and just know how to play it. She's incredibly talented but, when she was younger, she had very bad stage fright. She got a scholarship to music school to study bassoon, but when she discovered that she would have to play recitals as part of the program, she declined it. Since then she has gotten a degree in percussion. She plays hammer dulcimer and marimba, all kinds of instruments and she does play with some percussion groups at the university.

I believe my Dad played tympani when he was younger. He has a nice singing voice, too. It might be his Welsh background. When I was studying with Dorothy Dow in Galveston, TX, my Dad and I both sang at the Methodist Church. Ms Dow believed that you should sing everything and that sometimes involved working with church choirs. The music was fun and in that situation I liked singing soprano better than singing alto, although I do love the inner harmonies, too.

Vivica Genaux as Rosina in 'Il Barbiere di Siviglia' at the Opera National de Paris. Photo © Eric Mahoudeau
Vivica Genaux as Rosina in 'Il Barbiere di Siviglia' at the Opera National de Paris. Photo © Eric Mahoudeau

My Mom was not so musical, herself, but she loved listening to opera. During my first six years as a singer she always traveled with me. She just loved coming to all the rehearsals and meeting everybody. She honestly came to everything, no matter whether it was The Barber of Seville which I've now done over a hundred times, or a new role. She just loved listening to rehearsals.

Now she is back in Alaska with some arthritis problems and my Dad enjoys coming with me at times. My Mom and I had originally gotten him a dog to keep him company while we were away, but my mother is home with the dog, now.

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Copyright © 13 June 2004 Maria Nockin, Arizona, USA

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