Former SFO Apprentice Returns To Make Leading Debut In ‘Carmen’

Opera theater
“Carmen” will be presented by the Santa Fe Opera. (Courtesy of Benedetto Cristofani)

For soprano Sylvia D’Eramo, singing in Santa Fe is like coming home for everyone from gardeners to vocal coaches.

The former Santa Fe Opera apprentice (2018, 2019) will make her lead debut in “Carmen” beginning Friday, July 1.

After earning her master’s degree at Yale University, D’Eramo packed her bags and drove west, where she spent two summers at the opera in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

“I feel so lucky to be back,” D’Eramo said in a phone interview. “Even when you are an apprentice, you are treated with artistic integrity.”

D’Eramo will sing the role of Micaëla in Georges Bizet’s classic tale about the ultimate femme fatale.

Sylvia D’Eramo

She is the hometown girlfriend of soldier Don José, who ends up falling in love with Carmen, the attractive cigarette factory worker.

Micaëla is “trying to convince him to go home,” D’Eramo said. “Most of the time she’s portrayed as this innocent, naive victim.”

But director Mariame Clément had other ideas about the character.

“She’s brave, she goes out on her own,” D’Eramo said. “She is trying to save Don José. It’s such an interesting take to do.

D’Eramo grew up in a family of music lovers, although his parents did not play an instrument. The shelves were overflowing with classical music in the form of cassettes, videos and DVDs, including everything recorded by the great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

His trajectory towards the lyrical stage stretches and curves in multiple detours.

“I grew up dancing,” D’Eramo said. “I was convinced that I would be a ballerina.”

Then the community theater came calling; she fell in love with musicals. It will be some time before her thoughts turn to opera, although she has started singing lessons.

“My teacher told me you should try opera instead of musical theater,” D’Eramo said. “I wasn’t thrilled. I wanted to sing “Wicked”. ”

Then she took a music appreciation course at the local community college and fell in love with the art songs of Robert Schumann.

“I just lost him,” D’Eramo said. “It was so beautiful. It moved me deep inside.

Seeing Russian soprano Anna Netrebko perform in “La Traviata” on DVD cemented her future.

“I’ve watched it hundreds of times,” D’Eramo said. “It was an obsession.”

D’Eramo attended a summer program at Oberlin College and Conservatory, then another at Washington National Opera. Soon she was accepted into the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She recently sang the role of Countess Ceprano in the Met’s production of “Rigoletto.”

When D’Eramo finishes her role in Santa Fe, she’ll fly to Berlin for a crash German course and auditions. After that, she will sing Kevin Puts’ new Met opera titled “The Hours.”

She has yet to sing her dream role.

“My first love and my first role is Mimi in ‘La Bohème’,” she said. “I just adore her.”