Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sonya Headlam will perform Berlioz's 'La mort d'Ophélie' on January 26 and 27, 2014 as a part of One World Symphony's 'Addiction' concert

Sonya Headlam will perform Berlioz's La mort d'Ophélie on January 26 and 27, 2014 as a part of One World Symphony's Addiction concert. The program will also feature music from Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, and the World Premiere performance of Sung Jin Hong's Breaking Bad — Ozymandias (2014). Tickets are available online at

Why would you recommend our public to attend One World Symphony's Addiction concert on January 26 and 27, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. at Holy Apostles Church?

One World Symphony concerts are spirited and dynamic. The artistic director, composer and conductor, Sung Jin Hong cultivates an atmosphere of community through audience engagement and participation. One never knows what he is going to say, or do, or ask his audience to say or do, I imagine in some cases not even him, until the moment arrives. This element of spontaneity and flexibility, which also extends to the music making itself, creates an energy that is unique, personal, and engaging. One World Symphony concerts, whether experienced as a performer or audience member, leave you with the feeling that we were all in this together. The Addiction concert is going to be particularly exciting due to the highly anticipated premier of Sung Jin's Breaking Bad — Ozymandias. The theme of addiction will also be explored in the works of Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Berlioz. You are guaranteed to leave with a buzz.

If you had an opportunity to meet for a drink with your respective Addiction composer, where would you take him in NYC and what would you ask?

There is a little Italian restaurant in Harlem called Pisticci. It is a warm and cozy nook that serves steaming bowls of spaghetti and meatballs dressed with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. It is the kind of place you can settle in for the night. Over the years, the ambiance, the food, in combination with a carafe of wine has been the setting to many meaningful conversations with special people in my life. It is here that I would take Berlioz to fill his belly with comfort food, and his tongue with wine. Once we'd be all nice and cozy, I'd ask him about his failed marriage with Harriet Smithson, the Irish actress he obsessed over and thus inspired his work Symphonie Fantastique. Specifically, what was his biggest regret, and would he do it all over again if he could?

Congratulations on becoming a mother and on having a beautiful and healthy boy, Noah. Have you been singing to him before and after the birth? If so, does he have his preferred songs? Have you discovered benefits from singing to Noah before and after the birth?

Thank you so much! I am blessed beyond measure. Before answering this question though, I want to take a moment to acknowledge my husband, Jesse, who has joined me on this incredible journey of parenthood. We both feel like everything we've ever done, everything we've ever been through, led us to that amazing moment of when we first looked into our son's eyes. It is a great joy to see Jesse as a father. I could not have found a better person to help me guide and protect the sweet little boy who has come into our lives. But, not only is Jesse a great father, he is also a great husband and supporter of me. It is because of him that I am even able to join One World Symphony for this concert three months after having our boy. I am a very lucky woman, I must say.
Singing is a major part of my daily interactions with Noah, and has been since he was in utero. It is amazing how much I got to know him from before he was even born. He was a very peaceful resident in his mom's belly. The only time he would start moving about was when I was eating, or singing, which believe it or not was not all of the time. For these reasons, I knew Noah was going to have his father's calm disposition, that he would love to eat, and that he would love music and especially love to hear his mommy sing. And boy was I right on all counts.
Shortly after having Noah and spending full days just the two of us, I realized babies are not the best at having conversations. So for me, it has been only natural to sing to him, from kids songs, folk songs, opera, art songs, pop songs and what I refer to as my silly freestyle improv. I sing him a song as soon as he wakes up in the morning. I sing him songs about the weather. I have songs for washing his hair and scrubbing his toes, for getting dressed and putting on hats to keep his little ears warm. And at bedtime, I sing him lullabies and spirituals which instantly soothe him.
Noah's very first smile happened one bright early morning when he was about 5 weeks old. It was in response to me singing, Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oh What a Beautiful Morning". Singing that song has become a daily ritual. His eyes sparkle bright and I get out of him the sweetest gummiest smile every single time. For me, it does not get any better than that.

Soprano Sonya Headlam is a versatile performer of vocal recitals, chamber music, oratorio, and operatic repertoire. Praised for her voice of “liquid tone”, Ms. Headlam’s career has taken her to concert halls across the U.S. and abroad. She has performed with One World Symphony on numerous occasions since 2006. She is thrilled to continue her collaboration with One World Symphony for the 2013-2014 Season, following last season’s critically acclaimed performances on the Ecstasy and American Affairs programs. Career highlights include her Carnegie Hall debut with Distinguished Concerts International New York, and her regional opera house debut with Fargo-Morehead opera singing the role of Musetta in La Bohème.  Ms. Headlam has twice performed on the Trinity Church Recital Series in Lower Manhattan, joining a rich history of renowned and emerging professional musicians. Born of Jamaican parentage, Ms. Headlam maintains close ties with the Caribbean where she has been active as a recitalist and soloist including a tour of Guadeloupe with members of the Cuban Philharmonic. Ms. Headlam holds performance degrees from Miami University of Ohio, and received additional training at Mannes College of Music in New York City. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Voice Performance at Rutgers University.

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