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Sound Bites spotlights up-and-coming singers and conductors in the world of opera.

Sound Bites: Andrea Carroll

The soprano sings the title role in Johanna Doderer’s Fatima oder Von den Mutigen Kindern in Vienna this month.
by F. Paul Driscoll. 

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Photograph by Dario Acosta
Hair and makeup by Affan Graber Malik
Sound Bites Andrea Carroll sm 116
Soprano Andrea Carroll sings Mozart in Vienna and Rodgers & Hammerstein in Houston this season.
Photograph by Dario Acosta

ANDREA CARROLL, now in her first year of a fest contract at the Vienna State Opera, decided on her career path when she was thirteen. “When I was growing up in Bethesda, Maryland, I loved singing musical theater.  Then I went to a performance of La Bohème at Washington National Opera with my grandparents, and my jaw was on the floor the entire time—I thought it was so unbelievable—and that was that.” 

Carroll is a vibrant, expressive singing actor whose supple soprano sounds at home in a wide variety of rep, from Donizetti, Rossini and Mozart to Stephen Sondheim and Frank Loesser. After she received her undergraduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music, Carroll spent two years as a member of the Studio at Houston Grand Opera, which she calls “home base for me—I know they will always help foster and nurture me and give me a big hug when I return there.” Carroll returns to HGO in April to sing one of her favorite roles, Julie Jordan in Carousel. “Julie is an incredibly brave, strong person—I refuse to portray her as weak, or as a doormat. The story doesn’t work unless we really dig deep into why Julie and Billy stay with each other. It’s an emotionally draining show, but in a good way. What I love is that the meatiest part of the character is in the dialogue scenes. Opera singers don’t often get the opportunity to work with straight text, and that challenge helped me immensely when I did it at Glimmerglass [in 2014]. I’ve been able to apply that to my opera roles.”

Still in her early twenties, Carroll has scored successes at Washington National Opera, Utah Opera, Fort Worth and Wolf Trap, but her time in Vienna has special resonance for her. “My grandmother, who passed away last January, was Viennese. She told me that my great-grandfather was an opera addict, and when he was a young boy, he would scrimp and save to be able to afford a ticket in standing room at the Wiener Staatsoper. I never visited Vienna with her, but it feels as if my family history has come full circle—I’m singing in the theater where my great-grandfather loved to go. Every moment seems like a pinch-yourself moment. I keep thinking, ‘Is this real? Am I dreaming?’ Taking a bow on the stage of the Wiener Staatsoper? Let me tell you, the first time I did that—it was an out-of-body experience.” spacer 

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