Visions of Violetta: One-on-one with “La Traviata” star Nicole Car
Soprano Nicole Car takes to the stage this month as Violetta Valéry in Opera Australia’s production of Verdi’s “La Traviata”.
OPERA HAS TAKEN Australian soprano Nicole Car all over the world. She’s back singing with Opera Australia this month in Verdi’s “La Traviata”. She takes on the lead role of Violetta, a dream for any soprano. We speak to her about this incredible production and her diverse career.
Growing up, did you always want to become an opera singer? No, not at all … I thought I was going to be a jazz singer! I saw my first opera (“Tosca”) when I was 17 and I was hooked after that—i knew that’s what I was meant to be doing.
This year’s production of “La Traviata” by Opera Australia looks set to be incredible. What drew you to the role of Violetta? Violetta is on the dream role list of many sopranos—she is strong but vulnerable, wilful yet living in a man’s world. She’s such an interesting character to play. Plus, the music is simply divine! I’m really excited to be singing it for the first time in my home country!
The costumes are just exquisite. Do the lavish clothes help you get into character? I think there’s an element of taking on a character once you’re in the clothes, wigs, etc. It helps you transform into something very different and special. The costumes in this production are so beautiful too—it will be such fun to be onstage in them!
Do you have a favourite scene or moment in the show? I have so many! I think the small scene with Alfredo when Violetta knows she is going to leave him—the musical writing is just heartbreaking.
What is the last thing you do to prepare before you go onstage for a performance? I always check that my voice is working just before I leave the dressing room! Even though I’ve warmed up earlier, I can’t leave the room unless I do a few little scales just to check—it’s a bit superstitious I guess!
You’ve had such a diverse career, with roles taking you all over the world. Do any particular performances or shows stand out for you? I’ve been really lucky so far in the roles I’ve been offered and the places I’ve been able to sing in. Performing “Eugene Onegin” at the Royal Opera House with Dmitri Hvorostovsky was very special. He was ill at the time and I think we all felt what a privilege it was to be onstage with this man who had been conquering opera stages for such a long time.
Do you have any exciting projects or productions coming up after this season of “La Traviata” finishes? I have some really fun projects coming up! Firstly, I go on tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra—my first tour of this kind—so I’m nervous/excited about that. Later in the year, I’ll make my debut at the Metropolitan Opera with my husband Etienne Dupuis (we’ll debut together in the same show!) and we’re thrilled about it!
“Violetta is on the dream role list of many sopranos—she is strong but vulnerable, wilful yet living in a man’s world.”
Photo: Georges Antoni.