Meet the Artist

We’re delighted to welcome soprano and Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Symone Harcum to the Ordway stage for the first time. Harcum is in her first year as a Minnesota Opera Resident Artist where she is singing the roles of Léontine in The Anonymous Lover and Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen. She was a finalist in both the Tri-Cities Opera Competition and the New York International Opera + Premiere Opera Vocal Competition and was recently named the first-place winner of the 2021 Opera Ithaca Competition.

Recently, she sat down with us to chat about her role and what it’s like to perform for live audiences again.

What are the themes or messages of this piece that you think will resonate most with audiences?

SH: Well, of course there’s the deeply operatic theme of love. However, instead of the passion and tragedy of a high stakes love affair like we get with some of the other pieces in the repertoire, the story of The Anonymous Lover focuses on the very embarrassing beginnings of romance. The entire plot is driven by the awkwardness of not being able to tell someone how you really feel and the lengths to which the two lovers would go to remain invulnerable in the process.

It’s relatable for sure and I wouldn’t be surprised if one night, during the climax of the show, some impassioned audience member were to yell at the stage, “Just kiss her, already!”, driving the rest of the crowd to passionately agree. Not likely at the opera but a girl can dream.

What are some of the greatest joys and challenges of singing this role?

SH: The two are the same. Léontine is not an easy role to sing. Each aria and each duet puts a different technical skill to the test. The joy is in the challenge. It has to be. This is the first time MN Opera audiences and artists will be back together at the Ordway for live operatic performances since the pandemic hit.

How does it feel to be performing for live audiences again?

SH: It’s the best feeling in the world. Since the start of the pandemic, every chance to perform live is such a gift. There is a joy in just singing, online or in person but the energy you get from a live audience cannot be replaced.

Is this your first Minnesota winter? If so, are you ready? What are you excited to see or do?

SH: This is my first Minnesota winter. I was not ready. The snow is beautiful to behold … from inside. But, with all due respect to the amazing Minnesotans who love the winter, I am most excited to see it go.


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