01.31.16last recording session for the Devotional Hymns Project-soon to be released!

The Devotional Hymns Project is the personal project of
Peter Meggison to share and preserve a heritage of music: Catholic hymns and religious songs written in the English language from approximately 1850 to 1950.
I am in the middle of a project with mezzo soprano Arielle Rogers and organist Dwight Thomas to record approximately 15 hymns that have fallen out of use in the Catholic Church.

05.01.15Pioneer Valley Symphony interview

Artist Conversation: Patrice Tiedemann

Santuzza is the central character in Cavalleria rusticana. Her music draws the drama along, and she is the character who gives the entire opera its emotional gut-punch. Singing this role in our production is soprano Patrice Tiedemann, whose career has encompassed plenty of acting opportunities as well. Here are her answers to our questions about her career and her life:

When did you first know you would be a singer? What made you realize it? When did you start taking lessons?

I started out as a flutist who sang on the side. I took voice lessons on a whim while I was changing colleges to be closer to home, and that sparked something in me. 3 years later, I was on my way to Indiana University to start the master’s program in voice, so it was a whirlwind of a learning curve. I think I am perpetually a voice student, always discovering new ways the voice works, and how it changes with age and environment.

Tell us about your first stage performance. What role? Were you terrified?

I have always had a bit of nerves before a performance, but once I am out there, I am fine. Some memorable “first" performances were the first time I performed in an opera at IU, in the chorus of Candide, and I remember being so excited by the whole thing—the orchestra, the amazing stage set, and thinking that I had made the right choice to go there for school. The second one was when I made my debut with the Boston Pops—I was a soloist for the Holiday Pops show, and I did not get to rehearse with the orchestra beforehand, since there were multiple soloists, and only one could run the program….so, I made my debut with them with no actual on-stage rehearsal. It was terrifying and amazing all wrapped up in one!

What’s your favorite type of music to sing?

I also do quite a bit of musical theatre, so that is a favorite genre. I also have a not-so-secret desire to sing with a big band and get my Rosemary Clooney on!

Have you ever performed in Cavalleria before?

This is a first for me. I am moving into more dramatic repertoire as I hit my prime voice years, and it has been so exciting to delve into this score the last few months. The emotion of it really gets to me—Santuzza desperately loves someone who doesn’t love her in the way she wants—and who hasn’t felt that for someone at some point in their life? Haven’t we all made some stupid choices when overwhelmed with desire and jealousy?

Do you have any funny stories about performances or rehearsals that you’d like to share?

There is the perception that performing is so glamorous, and the end product can be, but there are some not-so-glamorous parts of it….like singing as the Water in The Little Prince at Boston Lyric Opera, which called for me to have an awesome long blue glitter wig and dress….and climbing up a very tiny little set of stairs to pop out of a tiny window at exactly the right moment, trying not to look down at how high up I was. Not for the claustrophobic and those afraid of heights! Or, singing the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music in a non-air-conditioned theatre at the height of a summer heat wave. The audience laughed in sympathy when I had to also don the heavy ceremonial cape for the wedding….I think they were afraid I would pass out!

Do you teach singing? What does that add to your own art?

I do teach singing, and I love watching my students go on to have successful careers themselves.

When you’re not practicing or performing, what are you doing? Family, hobbies, etc.?

I have a 4 year old son Dylan and a wonderful husband Michael, and they are both very supportive of my singing. My son likes to listen to opera occasionally, and when I first started practicing the Easter chorus in Cavalleria, he would listen to the whole thing, and after the big high B at the end, clap his hands and yell “Mommy, yay!"….very fun. I also love to cook gourmet style dinners when I have the time.

07.30.14Review of The Sound of Music at New Bedford Festival Theatre

"Just when we think our thirst for musical versatility has been quenched, Patrice Tiedemann, as the Mother Abbess, knocks us out of our seats with her powerful, operatic delivery of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," and in chapel scenes with an equally impressive chorus of nuns. Their harmony is nothing short of divine. Tiedemann is also fun and spirited in her scenes with Maria, where they look and sound more like two girl friends sharing mutual dreams and goals than a superior and young novice." Lorraine Lucciola-The Standard Times