Soprano Summer Hassan graduated from LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist program last year, but she’s kept in touch with us since she’s departed from Los Angeles. Fresh off-the-heels of her performances as Virginia Otis in LA Opera’s recent production of Gordon Getty’s Scare Pair: Usher House/The Canterville Ghost, Hassan is heading back home to Philadelphia before embarking on one of the most exciting endeavors of her career: competing in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition.
Her journey with LA Opera started in 2014 when she was selected as a participant for the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. During her three years as a young artist, Hassan performed multiple times with the company, including the Second Lady in The Magic Flute and the Lady in Waiting in Macbeth, among others. As a singer, Hassan has the opportunity to travel around the world, a luxury singers get to enjoy that most other people don’t. In the next year alone, she will travel to Lisbon for Operalia, Chicago for her Chicago Opera Theater debut and many more.
Hassan had sat down with LA Opera to answer a few questions about her time at LA Opera, her preparations for Operalia and what’s next on her schedule.
LA OPERA: Describe your experience returning to LA Opera for Scare Pair.
SUMMER HASSAN: I had such a fun time being in a principal role at what I consider my home stage. LA Opera has always made me feel like family and I thoroughly enjoyed being around the staff, crew, and creative team once more.
LAO: How did the Domingo-Colburn-Stein YAP prepare you for the real world of singing?
SH: They were able to give me coachings, both in singing and life lessons. They gave us an interesting analogy of being a self-driven car. They give us this opportunity and the resources and it is up to us to take the lead. That’s exactly what it’s like in the real world, I feel. Always having a project to work on, being self-driven and directed by you.
LAO: Where were you when you found out you advanced to the next round of Operalia?
SH: I was walking to the grocery store by the bakery I work at. I looked down and saw the email and immediately started crying. Instead of buying groceries I just bought a six pack of beer and celebrated with a friend!
LAO: How will you prepare for Operalia? Are you preparing any new arias for the competition?
SH: I am working mostly with an Italian coach on text and the meaning, emphasis, and importance of text. I am most excited about singing ‘D’Oreste, d’Ajace from Mozart’s Idomeneo. It’s very new for me, and fun, angry and edgy. It’s very different from a lot of the repertoire I’ve learned thus far.
LAO: Speaking of excitement, what are the highlights of your career so far?
SH: Singing with the St. Louis Symphony a few years ago doing Britten’s Peter Grimes. It was the first time I had done an opera of that magnitude and I was hooked. The music is just beautiful. Also being able to sing in Dido and Aeneas at LA Opera upon first arriving was incredible. I also sang Musetta in La bohème with Wolf Trap Opera and that was a blast. I’ve never had so much fun being a pest.
LAO: What performances do you have coming up?
SH: I have a few performances on the horizon that I’m technically not able to announce publicly yet. But I’m very excited to make my role and house debut as Pip in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick at Chicago Opera Theater in 2019!LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.