Dallas opera singer visits campus

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Last Monday, French opera singer Stephanie d’Oustrac made an appearance on the University of Dallas campus. Photo courtesy of Stephanie d’Oustrac.

This past Monday, the University of Dallas had the privilege of welcoming Stephanie d’Oustrac to campus for an exclusive interview. D’Oustrac, a world-renowned mezzo-soprano, is currently starring in “Carmen” at the Dallas Opera.

Thanks to the generosity and collaboration between the Music Department, the Modern Languages Department and the French Department, many UD students were able to see the opera prior to the interview.

“Carmen was so exciting to see,” junior Maddy Vielhauer said. “As a French student, I thought it essential to see one of the most popular, if not the most popular, French opera. It was even more exciting, though, to meet the woman playing Carmen herself, Stephanie d’Oustrac.”

The interview was conducted by Dr. Jason Lewallen in the Art Auditorium. Lewallen first asked d’Oustrac if she had any difficulty balancing the demands of the different art forms in opera — dance, music and theater.

“Of course, but that’s why we rehearse, so that in the moment we can be present for what the moment requires,” d’Oustrac said.

It was clear from her lively bearing that she was not the stuffy opera type. In fact, from the engaged and delighted responses to her commentary, she proved to be a natural comedian. The Rennes-born singer revealed that she knew opera to be her calling when she was just 16 years old. She continued to pursue opera through her college years and attended the Conservatoire de Lyon, where she studied the arts and a bit of philosophy. Her phenomenal voice was quickly discovered by a talent scout and she was integrated into the world of professional opera immediately after graduating school. She has been working ever since, and was selected by the Dallas opera for the role of Carmen about 3-4 years prior to the performance.  

This lengthy period of preparation is a common occurrence in the world of opera, and it is done so that the stars can have sufficient time to prepare their roles and learn the libretti well. However, even after a long period of preparation, she admitted that she still forgets her lines at times, but she quickly added that the audience can’t tell, while motioning to the, mostly non-French speaking, audience with a laugh.

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