Winnipeg soprano Andriana Chuchman was all set to make her Metropolitan Opera debut — it just came earlier than expected.
On Jan. 9, Chuchman sang the lead role of Adina in the Met’s opening night production of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, replacing flu-stricken Russian soprano Anna
Netrebko. Chuchman filled in for Netrebko again on Jan. 13.
Chuchman, who grew up in Garden City and now resides in the Osborne/Corydon area, was to make her Met debut in late February as Miranda in The Enchanted Island.
"It was incredible," said Chuchman, 31. "I knew there was always that possibility, but it’s really once you get that call saying ‘You’re on,’ that you have to deal with the excitement and the adrenaline. When I found out I was totally overwhelmed with excitement."
Fortunately, Chuchman got the call a couple days prior to opening night, giving her some time to prepare for her Met premiere.
And what a role to debut with. While Chuchman’s excited for The Enchanted Island, a baroque pasticcio devised after Shakespeare’s The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she said the role of Adina in Donizetti’s classic comic opera is a little more demanding.
"It’s a great role to really showcase your vocal skills, but also your acting skills," Chuchman said. "Not every character in opera goes into such depth. You don’t always get to show such a huge spectrum of emotions."
Chuchman was happy to have her husband, Adam Hildebrandt, a vice-principal at Maples Collegiate, in the Met audience on opening night. And for her family and friends that couldn’t make it, the performance was broadcast live on SiriusXM’s Met Opera Radio, as well as the Met’s website.
Chuchman surely had chums and colleagues listening in all over North America and beyond. Since receiving her B.A. in voice performance from the School of Music at the University of Manitoba, Chuchman has performed in productions by Manitoba Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Washington National Opera. In 2013, she made her U.K. debut, singing the title role in Hänsel and Gretel with the Glyndebourne Touring Opera.
Growing up in Garden City, Chuchman said she was always singing, whether it was re-enacting musicals like Annie or Mary Poppins or performing Ukrainian folk songs with her older sister.
She said she listened to a lot of pop music growing up, until her U of M voice teacher, Tracy Dahl, who met her Met debut in 1991, put her down the opera path.
"I realized ‘Oh wow, with opera, I get to sing act in front of people and act in front of them too’," Chuchman said. "You get to be a in a story and in costume, it’s like theatre, so that and noticing that my voice was starting to get more of an opera quality, it all just came together very nicely in university."
Chuchman said she has more work lined up after The Enchanted Island, but she can’t announce it just yet, so keep up to date with her at www.andrianachuchman.com or follow her on Twitter @AndrianaChuch