What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
The art that changed my life was the performances of the opera singer Maria Callas, particularly her performance as Tosca in Covent Garden, London in 1964 with Tito Gobbi. It's the culmination of many art forms done well; opera singing requires such technical mastery to deliver the vocal line. That's only the beginning, though. To make music and give a gripping performance on top of the life of vocal training is such an art. Maria Callas' performance was so visually dramatic as well. Her character, Floria Tosca, is a celebrated singer who experiences tragedy in her love and professional life. Maria's life paralleled this as well. She sings in the famous aria Vissi D'Arte, "I lived for art, I lived for love." She devoted her life to art and love, so it was so telling to watch her perform this famous scene with the aria in the Covent Garden show. She was so dedicated and an inspiration.
Mary Alouette forges a unique blend of gypsy jazz and electronic music that echoes the likes of Billie Holiday. You might have seen her sing the National Anthem at Camden Yards, and she was artist-in-residence at Strathmore last year. Alouette—who has a new EP, "The Lark"—returns to Strathmore tomorrow night and plays The Holy Underground on Saturday.