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Friday, April 8, 2011

New Atlanta resident Jennifer Holloway plays Dorabella in AO's production of Mozart's Così Fan Tutte

World-renowned mezzo-Soprano Jennifer Holloway is a new Atlanta resident.
  • Dario Acosta
  • World-renowned mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway is a new Atlanta resident.
Zipping around the globe to play roles on the various stages of the world is just part of the job for most opera singers. But Jennifer Holloway—whose work normally takes her to Paris, New York, LA, Madrid, Italy, often for months at a time—will have the unusual luxury of not having to travel far at all for her next part. The acclaimed mezzo, a new resident of the Atlanta area since July 2010, is taking on the part of Dorabella in the Atlanta Opera's current production of Mozart's Così Fan Tutte. While most of her co-stars will be flying in from points distant for rehearsals and for Così's two week run, Holloway will just be driving in from Lawrenceville. We caught up with the mezzo to talk about her new home, Mozart's feminism, and who really has the best coffee in midtown.

Opera singers have to sing the same role many, many times. Is playing Dorabella something you enjoy?
Absolutely. It's an awesome opera in general. It's got all kinds of really fantastic characters, characters I feel like most of us can relate to. Dorabella is a hoot. She's adventurous, she's funny. She's a good person. I love playing the role.

The title Così Fan Tutte is usually translated as All Women are Like That, with the “that” being fickle, inconstant, unfaithful, not serious.
I think there's something very ironic about the title. I think Mozart was something of a feminist in his own way. It seems like he writes these things that say terrible things about women, but if you really look into the music and the words, he's actually poking fun at the conventional thought that all women are like that. What Mozart was trying to point out was that all people are like that. The men are not without fault. At the end, everybody has a bit of soil on their fingers. I think it's clear in the music that he doesn't think it's only the women who are at fault. When he wrote that he wasn't just rolling his eyes at women. All of the characters learn a lesson: Nothing is for sure.

Didn't you come to singing late in your education?
Well, I always sang. I was in choir at church and chorus in high school. I always loved to sing. But I was a euphonium major at first. It's a great instrument. I marched in the UGA red coat marching band, which is where I met my husband. I loved my days in band. My last year at UGA they did The Magic Flute, and I sang the third lady, not even a big part, but I was just like, “Really? People really do this? This is so awesome.” And someone said, “You could really do this as a career.” It just got my bug started. And my voice teacher encouraged me to apply for graduate school.

You didn't grow up in Atlanta, but you do have some Atlanta connections.
I went to high school here. We moved down here when I was in ninth grade. I feel like I'm from Atlanta. It was definitely culture shock when I first came down here. But I love the South. I love being back. My family is here. It's home. And it's such a treat to work at home!

Have you found any favorite places to go since you've been back? Favorite restaurants, places to hang out?

I haven't been here super-long. I left in September and haven't been back until this job started three weeks ago! I haven't really been home to discover those things. But we love Piedmont Park. My little sister lives in midtown. It's gorgeous. The feeling is fantastic. We just walked around and stopped at this great little place with bread and coffee, Bakeshop. We had such a nice time and my three-year-old daughter had fun. I just love the feeling of the neighborhood. It's not what I remember Atlanta being. I'm really excited about what I see in Atlanta. The mix of the community is just so rich. It's nice to feel like a community. So kudos to Atlanta. It's a great thing.

Jennifer Holloway will perform as Dorabella in the Atlanta Opera's production of Così Fan Tutte on Saturday, April 9 at 8 pm; Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30 pm; Friday, April 15 at 8 pm; and Sunday, April 17 at 3 pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Atlanta Opera or call 404.881.8801


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