Hailed for her “floating, silky soprano” and deemed “a standout in acting and voice” (Chicago Classical Review), Nathalie Colas was born and raised in Strasbourg, France. She is a current soloist and founder of Third Coast Baroque, Petite Musique Collective, Liederstube, and new music ensemble Fonema Consort. Nathalie is excited to join Haymarket Opera Company once again, after being featured in Cavalli’s Calisto, Telemann’s Don Quichotte, and Pimpinone, amongst others. She was recently heard in Handel’s Messiah with the St Louis Bach Society, in the title role of Rita by G. Donizetti in Switzerland, and with the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest for Sibelius’s tone poem Luonnotar. Engagements in 2018 will include Canteloube Chant D’Auvergne in Oak Park and Rose in J. Offenbach’s Der Zaubergeige in Switzerland. An avid recitalist, Nathalie studied Art Song with the late German baritone Udo Reinemann and regularly performs such repertoire (Symphony Center, Pianoforte Foundation, Omaha Under the Radar, Chicago Arts Club, Driehaus Museum, Central Methodist University). A graduate of DePaul University School of Music and of the Brussels Royal Conservatory, Ms. Colas completed her opera training at the Swiss Opera Studio/Hochschule der Kunst Bern. She was awarded 1st prize in the 2015 Music Institute of Chicago competition.
What is the story of how you first came to love music and opera?
One of my earliest memories of opera is Die Zauberflöte at the Strasbourg Opera for my 7th birthday. I still have very vivid memories of the Queen of the Night appearing at the top of the stage, of Papageno in his colorful costume, and of the three “Knaben” which I immediately pictured myself singing.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
Do you have a favorite performer?
I have always loved Lucia Popp for her humility and beautiful, subtle artistry. She always put the music and the expression first.
Do you have a favorite role? Aria? Opera?
Le Nozze di Figaro is perfection to me. I love everything about it and listen to it on a weekly basis. My top three also include Debussy’s Pelleas et Mélisande and Bizet’s Carmen. To me the quality of the story is crucial.
Do you have any favorite books about music?
Great Singers on Great Singing by Jerome Hines, which compiles interviews of opera singers talking about technique, lifestyle, music, and more. It’s fascinating to have an intimate insight in those singers’ lives.
What else are you reading?
I am currently reading Paul Auster’s Moon Palace, which I read every year. He is an amazing storyteller.
Who are your favorite 17th- and 18th- century composers?
I love Rameau because I am partial to French baroque, and I find baroque dance, which is very present in his operas, so graceful and poetic.
If you were stranded on a desert island, is there one piece of music you would like to have with you?
Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book Two.
What do you love about HOC?
I love the collegial feeling and the overall fun everyone is having. At the same time, the heightened sense of detail and highest level of artistry that are worked towards during the productions are inspiring.
Do you have a favorite memory from a past HOC event?
I was lucky to assist Stage Director Sarah Edgar during Telemann’s Pimpinone a few seasons ago. It was wonderful to be on the other side of the directing table, and I have never laughed so hard in my life staging all the slapstick jokes, perfecting their timing and delivery with the singers. I felt very fortunate to be able to do such detailed work while laughing hysterically every day.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not making music?
Watching my baby learn new skills, making jam, and hiking.
What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
What time is it?
Do you have any heroes/heroines?
My grandmother was a very gifted cellist. She never had the chance to pursue her passion professionally because of World War II and also because her parents could not afford to pay for her musical education after secondary school. Her experience always reminds me to be grateful for being able to be a working musician.
What music do you listen to most often?
Brazilian music and Bach’s keyboard music.
If you had not entered into your current career what do you think you would have done instead?
I am very crafty and would have loved to study carpentry and woodworking. I studied fine arts in college and at some point developed a mild addiction to throwing pots on a wheel. I also sew and knit. If I had not become a musician, I would have definitely made something with my hands.