Wild Words: A Moment with Courteney



200462_1003005592558_2324_nA singer for multiple decades, Courteney understands the value of diversification. When not preparing to hurl herself over a parapet in Tosca, she is singing showtunes, blues, and jazz. She portrayed legendary blues singer, Bessie Smith, in the original play, The Blues of the Empress. She is thrilled to be working with friend and colleague, Mary Elizabeth Micari (Rev. Mary) again. Courteney is also a featured soloist of the web television series, The Opera Den, soon to be shown on Bric Public Access Television in Brooklyn, and host of the new web talk show, The Diva Report currently in pre-production.
She shared her thoughts on art and life with us:
What is your vision and process for the play/part?
For singing jazz or blues, I usually work to understand the style of the music, the original singer’s style and the words, which can be tricky in these types of songs – especially since words tend to have double meanings. Then I look for nuances in the music – scatting for jazz, bending of notes for blues, for example. Lastly, I want to make sure I understand the actual singing style and try to make sure I’m using that – full throated sounds for blues, smooth sultry notes for jazz, etc.  If I’m singing opera, it’s a completely different and more complicated process.

We hear a lot about inspiration – or Muse – that drives an artist. What inspires you?
The music coupled with the theatrical nature of opera. Everything is big and dramatic, which is right up my alley. I also like the idea of playing a character from beginning to end and the development that happens throughout the opera.

What do you want most in your chosen profession? It’s OK to say “fame” or “wealth.”
To entertain the world, and I mean that literally. I love to sing and I feel that I have a talent that should be shared with as many people as possible. If fame and wealth come with that, I’ll take it, but that’s not enough to motivate me to do this.
Sally Field and Paul Newman both said of their profession… “it’s all I can do.” Is this all you can do?
Yes it is. I had a very lucrative corporate career before deciding to sing full time. I had to do this. It is who I am as a person and it defines who I am as a professional.
Along those lines, if you couldn’t do this, what would you do?
I actually do it already. I have a production company which creates web based television programs with operatic themes. The company is also launching a new web television network, Classical Voice Television (www.classicalvoicetv.com) which will broadcast television entertainment including comedies, dramas and lifestyles shows, all with operatic characters and themes.
How do you want [legit] history to remember you?
As a passionate talent, who shared her love for music and singing to all those who were able to hear me.
granny-memes-5Last words?
Come see a different side of my talent,
Blues, at Granny’s Blue-mers at
The Duplex on October 8th at 9:30pm.
You won’t want to miss it.
The singers are great and so are the musicians!!

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