Ketevan Kemoklidze is a mezzo-soprano from the nation of Georgia. Kemoklidze is the winner of Placido Domingo’s Operalia; she’s slated to perform the role of Angelina/Cinderella in LA Opera’s “Cinderella” on April 3, 7 and 13.
“Cinderella,” however, opens on Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. with Kate Lindsey playing Angelina/Cinderella. Lindsey is scheduled for opening night (March 23), as well as March 28 and 31.
Campus Circle conducted a phone interview with Kemoklidze. She spoke about her first involvement with opera, her likes of Los Angeles, her role as Angelina/Cinderella, and other things.
Campus Circle: How did you first get involved with opera?
Ketevan Kemoklidze: It began in early childhood. I'm Georgian, and Georgia is a very musical country. Almost every child is singing or has family involved with music. I was signing Georgian folk music with my family, and then I started to play piano in music school, and also singing in the choir. My mother attended one of our concerts and said I had a wonderful voice, and suggested I sing classical music. After that, I went to one of my professors and sang for her, and I was then entered into music school for voice, with concentration in opera.
CC: How do you like Los Angeles?
KK: I like Los Angeles. It's very difficult not to like Los Angeles. The weather is very nice. I love all the history of the city. I'm very happy to be here and singing for the L.A. public.
CC: Tell us a bit about the upcoming show, “Cinderella.” How are you preparing for your role?
KK: It is very difficult to sing in “Cinderella” because every woman in the world has her own idea of Cinderella, and you have to sing and collect all these images of Cinderella and put all this on the stage. You have to somehow reflect all these images because Cinderella is one of the most famous fairy tales. This opera is very difficult; it was written by Rossini and it is very technically demanding, and so requires a lot of practice. I've done pieces by Rossini before and although there are similarities, each piece also has differences. I'm a mezzo-soprano, and people with my voice range dream about this role, and I am very happy to be performing it especially here in America; this is the second time I'm in America. The first time, I came through Placido Domingo's competition, and now this partnership with LA Opera came about from that competition.
CC: What do you think about the wardrobe for this opera?
KK: It's always nice. Whenever I start a new role, the first thing I do is put on my costume, then do everything else. This is important for me because it allows you, from the very beginning, to really enter the role. I was especially excited to wear the gown Cinderella uses to go to the castle with the prince. I think it would be a very special moment for any woman, and I am very happy that I could do that.
CC: Why should people go watch this opera?
KK: This opera is ideal not only for people who love opera in general, but also for people who have never been to the opera. The story of Cinderella is very famous, and the music is amazing. It's a very exciting production. The idea that opera is an old art is not really correct, and this opera is a great example of that.
CC: What do you do with your free time?
KK: Well, after I became a mother, free time didn't really exist anymore. So, when my baby sleeps, I love to sing, cook, paint, and spend time with my friends and people I love. I'm a very normal person.
CC: Anything else you would like to add?
KK: This production features very famous singers, and it's a very big opportunity to share the stage with these people; and I hope that the L.A. public will love my role as Cinderella. This will be the world debut, and I'm really happy to be here and perform in this theatre. It's a big responsibility to be representing the Placido Domingo competition.
"Cinderella" runs March 23 through April 13 at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. For more information, click here.