Latonia Moore Q&A

Latonia Moore (Photo by Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera)Latonia Moore

Studied: Vocal performance

Using her natural singing voice: These composers of classic opera lived long ago, and there's no telling what was going on the day they debuted these operas. There's no telling if the voices sounded exactly verbatim to what they look like on paper or if there was more interpretation. I feel like I need to give these performances my own mark. There's something tiring about everyone doing just what is written on paper. What is the point of that? Audiences will grow tired of it.

Connection to the late UNT vocal professor Pattye Johnstone: When internationally renowned vocal coach Bill Schuman accepted me as a student, I called her and she was elated for me. I flew back home to finish up my last semester in Denton and when I called her again at the hospital, a nurse answered and told me she had just died minutes before. I was so upset. She was like a mom to me. Days later, I spoke with her daughter who said her mother wanted to leave me her opera scores, which I still value.

Finding her best friend at UNT: I knew Jesus Garcia ('99) because he also grew up in Houston and grew up performing in Texas All-State competitions in high school. When I got to UNT, I was sitting in the hallway one day and I heard his voice. I went around the corner and said, 'Jesus?' He said, 'Yeah?' He didn't remember me but he helped me as a freshman and we started to hang out all the time and then started competing in vocal competitions all over the United States, challenging each other. Now, he lives just a couple of blocks away from me.

Most memorable performance: Back in 2010, I was at the Hamburg State Opera to perform in Madame Butterfly and there was a huge snowstorm -- not a car on the street. I couldn't even get a cab. I had to walk across the frozen river between my hotel and the opera house to get there. I thought they would cancel it, but they said, 'No, people in Germany love opera, they'll show.' And they did! There was a blizzard outside but there might have been maybe 100 empty seats in a house of nearly 3,000 seats.

Recent recordings: My most recent recording was Verdi's Macbeth, put out by the Chandos label with the English National Opera. It was released in March.

Favorite types of music: I like music that I'd call musical funk, Asteroids Galaxy Tour from Denmark, Royksopp from Norway. I listen to pop music, anything on the radio. My favorite artists are probably Bjork, the Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald. I love old school jazz and I love going to karaoke and singing '80s rock songs by Pat Benatar.

Favorite place traveled: Ankara, Turkey. Three years ago, four of us from the Academy of Vocal Arts went to the hometown of one of our graduates. He invited us there to sing the Mozart Requiem. It wasn't a bustling city. In a way, it reminded me of Peru, the women always working on crafts, the smells in the air, the feeling of being in a very old part of the world. Before we went to sing, we had an unusual amount of food, then we went to sing and came back and had another big dinner. The women there are like Southern mamas -- you can't refuse their food. We finish dinner and get back in the van and I thought we were going back to the hotel but we went to dinner No. 2! I just loved that atmosphere of everyone watching out for you and making you feel at home. I love that small-town feel.

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