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Mezzo Soprano Suzanna Guzman - The Interview

May 13, 2015

How did you first get introduced to opera?
 -   I was in a rock band and I lost my voice because of late nights and smoke in clubs. A friend sent me to her teacher who worked with me on an aria (no clue what THAT was!) After a couple of months she had me sing for Dr. Van Grove. I thought he was an ENT and it turns out he was a Dr. of Music and casting Carmen. The first time I ever HEARD of opera was when I sang the title role in Carmen for him.

Tell us one of your favorite stories about working with composer Daniel Catán on his opera, Florencia en el Amazonas.
GUZMAN - There are SOOO many. My favorite was in Paula's big aria there was one line that just didn't work. It seemed to slow things down, made me stumble. He noticed and said "don't sing it". That little change made the piece soar. He was so sensitive to the drama and so thrilled to hear his music performed.

What excites you about being part of the Bless Me Ultima reading?  
GUZMAN - Héctor has taken this iconic story and put it to soaring music. I can't wait!

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Why is an opera based  on Bless Me Ultima  important? 
GUZMAN - There are stories that can be told with dance, or just words. Bless me, Ultima is MADE to be sung. It has an epic powerful arc and it shows a powerful woman who drinks in that power willingly and wisely. We so seldom see strong, confident, WISE older women. The stereotype is the vieja in the rocker barely tolerated by the young. Here she is honored and respected for her knowledge and teachings. Iconic. The Earth Mother who legacies her knowledge. Very very important work and I believe set to music it will elevate it even more!