Written and interviewed by AVA Administrative Associate Stephen J. Trygar
The Meet the New Resident Artists! Blog Series is a sequence of Q&As designed for you to get to know our new artists. Today, we invite you to learn about our new soprano, Loella Grahn! Ms. Grahn comes to us from the Operastudion Kapellsberg at Härnösands folkhögskola. She has performed a several different roles, such as the title role in Sour Angelica and The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, both at the Operastudion Kapellsberg. For a full list of Ms. Grahn’s previous roles and competitions, visit her biography on the AVA website!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
“I’m a soprano from a small town in central Sweden, and I received my education in a small town in northern Sweden at a small off-the-grid opera studio called Kapellsberg where I spent the past three years. AVA and Philly are going to be a major upgrade in terms of size and amount of opportunities—which I’m super excited for, though I will miss my Swedish countryside… Aside from music, I enjoy books, cats, historical fashion, and nature.”
What has been your favorite role to perform?
I haven’t had the opportunity to perform a large amount of full roles yet, but of the ones I have performed, Suor Angelica is definitely my favourite. I do my best work when there are a lot of emotions do dive into, and that whole role is such a flood of emotional agony. I love it! You can just disappear into a character like that. So, I’m looking forward to hopefully doing it again sometime… in maybe ten years or so.
What is your dream role?
“I would have to say Don Giovanni! However, within my voice type, it would have to be either Violetta, Lucia, or Tatiana. Marie Antoinette in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles would be really cool as well.”
What made you want to get involved in opera?
“Honestly, it was happenstance… like slipping on a banana peel. Opera was never a part of my life growing up, and there weren’t really any serious performing arts opportunities or programs of any kind nearby. I sang in school choirs, took some voice lessons, and was in a local youth theater group. In my teens, I got a couple of the standard arias and classical art songs from various voice teachers (“Lascia ch’io pianga,” “Voi che sapete,” Ave Maria) and I enjoyed singing it. My last year of high school, I got a trained opera singer as a teacher and decided I was going to pursue that, since I wanted to sing and act and I wasn’t into musicals. It was a gut feeling kind of thing. When I started studying opera full time at Kapellsberg, I knew very little about it. Now, three years later, here I am!”
Tell us something interesting about yourself!
“I don’t have a lot of recordings up online right now, but when I was 15, I auditioned for the Swedish version of American Idol, pretty much just as a joke. So now that’s one of the few videos that show up when you search my name. I had a coaching with Bill Schuman last fall. He looked me up and that was all he found.
“What can I say except I regret nothing?”