Soprano Hope Briggs, a Bay Area favorite, joins Symphony Parnassus at Sunday’s (Nov. 22) concert to sing Samuel Barber’s heartfelt piece, Knoxville: Summer 1915. We wanted to learn a bit more about Hope, and chatted with her in this Q&A.
Hometown: Jersey City, N.J.
Home: My family relocated to San Francisco when I was 5. So I guess you can say that I really am a San Franciscan.
When did you realize you wanted to be an opera singer?
I was studying voice as a music major at CSU Fullerton. I was actually interested in musical theater, contemporary Christian music or jazz, but the emphasis of the program was classical. To my amazement, after my first semester, I was told by the voice faculty that I “had the goods for a professional career in opera," and the rest is history!
Favorite opera role and why?
I feel a special connection with the character Aida, and my voice just seems to know where to go naturally when I am singing the role.
What makes Knoxville a special piece for you?
Like Aida, I feel a special connection with Knoxville. I love the text, and how atmospheric it is. The orchestration, paired with the vocal line, helps to transport not only the singer, but it is my hope that the audience is also transported back a time when life was more simple. There is such humanity in the piece. It truly is one of the most beautiful works I have ever heard, let alone performed.