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Classical Sprouts: Golda Schultz At The Met!

If you're caught up on Classical Sprouts episodes, you've heard all about Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti's funny, love-filled opera "L'Elisir d'Amore" ("The Elixir of Love") and the Metropolitan Opera's 2023 production of it.

Well this week, you get to meet the star of the show, soprano Golda Schultz!

Golda is a world-renowned opera singer from South Africa.

She studied music in South Africa and at the Juilliard School in New York City.

This year, she's performing as "L'Elisir d'Amore's" main character, Adina, the woman whose disinterest (or so she thinks) in country boy Nemorino leaves him so desperate that he drinks a questionable love potion!

We had so many questions for Golda - read on or listen to the episode to find out more about this opera idol and what it's like to perform at the Met!

KB: We love "L'Elisir d'Amore" and we know our listeners will too. After performing it so many times, what do you think of this opera?

GS: It is a fun one, isn't it? It's so rare that in opera, we get to actually have fun and do comedy, because there's so little comedy in opera. And I think comedy is one of the toughest things to do in life. Finding the funny in anything is such a gift. And what Donizetti's done. He's given opera, and he's given everyone, a real gift.

It's such a special, special show. And I'm just very glad that I got to be a part of it in just a tiny way, so I think it's absolutely so great. It's just a gem. It's a bon-bon. It's just all delicious and sweet.

KB: When did you decide that you were going to be a musician when you grew up?

GS: I didn't really decide it, it was a very strange thing. I've always just accumulated things I like. So I started with violin because I liked the sound. And then I went to recorder, and then I added piano and I've always just been singing.

The thing that I like about music, opera and theater is that they're about being curious about people and wanting to understand why people do what they do and how to tell that story. Getting to just step into other people's lives and other people's ways of seeing the world helps me understand how I see the world. Me being a musician is because I want to know myself better.

"L’Elisir d’Amore: Della crudele Isotta"

KB: So you're offstage. The overture is playing. It's almost time for your first entrance. What do you see? What do you feel? What are you hearing? What's happening in that moment?

GS: It's so funny, usually when we are offstage, we're all getting our energy ready, but we're also still ourselves. So I'm standing backstage with members of the chorus and some of the actors and we're all just having conversations - "Oh, what did you do yesterday? How did you spend your day off?"

Once the overture starts, everyone starts getting excited and saying, "Good luck, good luck! Have fun, have a great show!" You kind of just feel the energy start to become very focused on what's about to happen.

When I look for my spot backstage, I like to watch the set and the lighting. In "L'Elisir" it's so beautiful - it starts with a picture and then kind of feels like the sun rises and becomes wonderful, warm and sunny.

And then music starts playing and everybody's energy just gets super excited and very focused, but ready - ready for anything. And then the next thing you know, the stage manager is calling for me to go on stage. And then she'll say, "Adina, go," and I always say "Thank you!" And then I go on sage and she always says, "You're welcome!"

KB: What is your favorite part of the opera?

GS: Oh, the thing that made me love "L'Elisir" was the little mini quartet plus the ladies chorus that happens between Dulcamara, Giannetta, Nemorino and Adina.

I remember when I first heard that, I was listening to it on my headphones, and I was bopping on the street like I was listening to a pop song. It's like, okay, Donizetti. I see you. I thought Mozart could write a tune. But you brought a bop!

KB: What's Adina's favorite thing about Nemorino?

GS: He is so poetic. He's very philosophical. She's very practical. I think she respects that he's a person who is so comfortable with how he feels that he can say how he feels. I think she really appreciates that he's so brave.

KB: What is the biggest thing you would like us Sprouts to take away from the opera?

GS: The idea of having to take a potion to change who you are so that someone will love you is never a good idea. Who you are as a person is enough to be cherished, and you shouldn't feel like you have to change yourself to make someone love you.

Don't forget to follow @classicalsprouts on Instagram for lots of fun classical music content!

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Classical Sprouts is produced by Emily Duncan Wilson. Kacie Brown is the digital content manager.

Kate Botello is a host and producer at Classical IPR.
Emily Duncan Wilson is IPR's digital content manager and is the producer of "Classical Sprouts" and "Kids Commute".