Denver-based soprano Anna Christy

(Courtesy Dario Acosta)

For a singer, it's a big deal to land a role with the Santa Fe Opera Festival, one of the largest and oldest opera festivals in the country. The 2015 season opens Friday with the 19th-century French comedy "Daughter of the Regiment" by composer Gaetano Donizetti. Denver-based soprano Anna Christy -- who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the English National Opera in London, and Colorado's own Central City Opera -- stars in the production as the spirited Marie.

Christy spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner. Highlights from the conversation are below. Click on the audio above to hear the full interview.

The Santa Fe Opera House in New Mexico.

(Courtesy Robert Godwin)

Christy on performing at the Santa Fe Opera Festival

"It's one of my favorite places in the world to perform. It is magical as a location, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Then the opera house itself, which is set north of town kind of up on a ridge, they've built it so that the sides of the opera house are open. ... And you're in the middle of a desert, which is so different and stunning in its own way."
 
On how she prepares for an opera like "Daughter of the Regiment"

"Aside from doing background research about... what was going on in history at that point -- and because Donizetti did such a beautiful job of sculpting the character musically -- I go to Marie's music. I see what he has to say about her as a character, what her thoughts are, and how he portrays that in her music. Literally what's in the score. What instruments he uses for which lines. Sometimes that will color something in a way that will tell me, as the singer, what her feeling is at that point."  

On why opera is still relevant

"Opera as a form is so visceral. I say this a lot because I really believe it. I think that when you're sitting in an audience and there's a singer on stage who is singing their heart out to you -- and telling a story that is moving -- you can't replicate that in any other way." 

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Audio: Soprano Anna Christy sings an aria from "Daughter of the Regiment"