To read all of the interviews in our “questions with” series, go here.
The life of a traveling opera singer is anything but simple, as I was able to find out when trying to coordinate this interview with Texas native Ava Pine. Not only is she constantly having to travel from one stage to the next, but in order to gear up for her ambitious performances, she has to mentally prepare herself to make sure all of her warm-ups, exercises, and eating happen at the correct times. In fact, the lovely rolling stone has barely enough time to call any one residence her home and mostly keeps her things in storage as she continues dazzles audiences around the country.
“I am officially a nomad,” Pine claims. “I keep my closet and my musical scores with a dear friend in Fort Worth, and stay with her when I’m between trips. It’s home base, but not home.”
Pine’s uncanny ability to commit to character is sure to bring forth the drama, rage, and glory of Handel’s works at her Baroque recital this Saturday at the Church of Incarnation in Dallas. The night will include arias of Handel’s Semele, Ariodante, Alcina, Scipione, and Amadigi, with the help of the Dallas Bach Orchestra. Pine was nice enough to take time out of her grueling schedule to answer our famous (so we’d like to think) questions before the big show.
FrontRow: What is the best concert and the worst concert you have ever been to?
Ava Pine: The best was attending the Grammys in 2011 when a recording I made was nominated for ‘Best Opera Recording.’ There were so many amazing artists: Mick Jagger, Barbra Streisand, Eminem. The list was huge.
The worst was Björk at ACL Fest a few years ago. I know people love her, but I just don’t get it.
FR: What was the first movie you saw in the theaters?
AP: The first movie I remember seeing is E.T. I grew up in a small town, with a one-screen movie theater that got movies months after their release, so going to see E.T. required a trip to San Antonio.
FR: If you were auditioning for a voice competition show, which song would you choose to sing?
AP: When I first started singing opera, I auditioned for voice competitions all the time. None were televised though. For TV it probably wouldn’t be a wise move to start with an aria, so I’d go with ‘Crazy’ or ‘Funny How Time Slips Away.’ Clearly I’m a Willie Nelson fan.
FR: What’s the closest you have ever come to dying?
AP: I feel like answering this with “I honestly can’t think of a time” would somehow be messing with my karma, so I’ll just say that since I’m currently in rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet, I die nightly. And the second it happens is when I need to take the biggest breath imaginable.
FR: What was your favorite toy as a kid?
AP: My spirograph set.
FR: Should the United States adopt a national healthcare system similar to the United Kingdom or Canada?
AP: I usually try to stay out of political issues, perhaps because I foolishly delude myself into thinking that music transcends political divisions. But I do think the issue of health and wellness is something that needs serious attention in this country, from the food we eat, to the exercise we get, to the medical care we have access to, both mental and physical. The system right now is broken and it needs to be fixed.
FR: If global warming melted the ice caps covering 90 percent of the known world with water, what city would you hope was spared so you could live there?
AP: Denver. It’s a great town and at 5,280 feet, its survival chances are good.
FR: If you could change one law — make something that is illegal legal, or something legal illegal — what would it be?
AP: I would make it illegal to wear strong perfume and cologne on planes, and I would make it legal to have a portable force field to zap encroaching elbows from the people sitting next to you. Can you tell I just got off a flight?
FR: If you weren’t playing music and had the talent and circumstances to do anything else, what would it be?
AP: I would be a wildly successful photographer. I figure that if I’m mustering the imaginary talent and circumstances to do something, I should make sure to be wildly successful at it.
FR: What’s on your playlist right now?
AP: A band called Alt-J. I am like a 12-year-old girl for their album. I listen to it over and over and over, look up the lyrics on the internet, and can’t stop talking to my friends about it.