The Kennedy Center

Kerriann Otaño



Biography

Originally from Long Island, New York, American soprano Kerriann Otaño is in her second season of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. This season she appeared with WNO as The Witch in Hansel and Gretel and as Mary Custis Lee in the world premiere of the revised version of Appomattox; last season with WNO she sang the role of Katherine in the world premiere of Penny and the role of Sister Valentine in Dialogues of the Carmelites. In the summer of 2015 she sang the leading role of The Countess in Wolf Trap Opera's The Marriage of Figaro. She is an alumnus of the Fort Worth Opera Studio, where she made her festival debut as Despina in Così fan tutte. In the summer of 2014 she joined The Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists Program, covering the role of Roberta Alden in An American Tragedy. In the 2013-2014 season she was seen as an apprentice artist with Sarasota Opera and Central City Opera, where she covered Queenie in Show Boat and was heard as Berta in the family performance of Il barbiere di Siviglia. She was awarded second place in the Mid-South region of the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was a Minnesota District winner in 2016. She holds a master's degree in vocal performance from Mannes College, where she sang Maria Corona in The Saint of Bleecker Street under the baton of Joseph Colaneri. She completed her Bachelor of Music at Indiana University.

 

 


Kerriann Otaño QA

Where were you born? Did you grow up in a musical household?

I was born on Long Island and grew up there with two younger brothers. Music was a huge part of my childhood. I remember my dad always playing records and music just surrounded us. We all played instruments in orchestra but singing was absolutely my favorite. We all did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat together when I was a kid!

Is that where you consider "home" today?

Now that I've been living in DC with my boyfriend for a year (and our newest addition: a tiny little puggle puppy named Frankie!) I really feel like I've found a home here. But I always go back to Long Island for the holidays.

What was your first transformative musical experience? How old were you?

When I was in fourth grade I sang the part of the evil stepmother in a production of Cinderella at my school. They added in songs from other musicals and standards, and I ended up singing "When You're Good to Mama" from Chicago. It was insanely fun and silly and exciting and from that point on I knew I'd always love performing!

When did you first know you wanted to sing opera?

When I got to high school I met the woman who would be my voice teacher for 4 years. She was an amazing inspiration to me. She took me to the Met to see Carmen and I was absolutely hooked.

Which university or conservatory did you attend?

I went to Indiana University for undergrad and to Mannes the New School for Music for graduate school.

What is your favorite role that you have performed so far? What is your favorite opera?

My favorite role up to this point is probably Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. I sang her twice and it's so much fun and fiery and gorgeous music, I can't get enough. I would be delighted to make a career of Mozart heroines, but especially her. She's fascinating and so exciting to portray.

My favorite opera at this point is one that I unfortunately will never be in, but it's fantastic. It's called Silent Night and it tells the story of Christmas Eve and day during the First World War. Three armies made an agreement to cease fighting for the holy days. They observed mass together, buried their dead, ate and talked to these people that were supposed to be their enemies. When they had to return to fighting, they couldn't kill these men that they knew. I won't spoil the ending but it is an incredibly moving opera. Unfortunately for me, there is only one soprano and it's not my voice type!

Do you have a favorite popular artist?

I am completely obsessed with singer-songwriters. I love Ed Sheeran, Joni Mitchell, Adele, Sara Bareilles, Casey Abrams, Tori Kelly... I could go on and on! I also try to see live performances whenever I can, and I will particularly travel obscene distances to see Pentatonix (the amazing acapella group) and Post Modern Jukebox (ridiculously amazing YouTube cover band).

Favorite movie?

My favorite movie is probably Hocus Pocus, which is appropriate since I'll be playing a witch in our upcoming production of Hansel and Gretel at WNO.

Do you have a pre-performance routine?

I am a super outgoing person, but on show days I like to be really chill and relaxed and have alone time. I sleep late, make myself some brunch food and relax in bed with a book or some knitting. I think for me it's really beneficial to feel calm and relaxed before heading to the theater. If I'm out running errands all day I tend to be scatterbrained onstage, and that's never a good thing!

There are many skeptics that believe opera is a dying art form. Why do you think opera is still relevant today?

Opera is still relevant today because everything that makes opera what it is is still relevant. Music, emotion, lust, passion, love, revenge, life and death... When robots take over, maybe they'll get rid of opera. But opera is a reflection of human emotion. And that will always be relevant.

What do you like to do for fun around DC? Do you have any favorite hangout spots?

I love to find new restaurants to try and places to explore. There's a restaurant in Silver Spring that I try to get to at least once a month called Urban Butcher. My boyfriend and I found it when we were out for a walk and it is some of the best food I've ever had. I also have an app called Stray Boots that sets up scavenger hunts around cities. It's a great way to get to know a new area. They have a few different ones for DC and it took me to so many sights I wouldn't have thought of!

What might people be surprised to know about you?

People would probably be surprised to find out that I don't know how to drive. I never learned in high school, and after that I lived in Milan and always used public transportation. When I came back to the states I was in a big college town and then New York City, so I never needed it. Now I'm 28. So it's kind of weird haha.

Do you have a website, Facebook page, Twitter handle, or Instagram name you'd like to share with BravO?

Absolutely! My website is www.kerriannotano.com and my Instagram account is KerriannOMG
Kerriann Otano