The Pacific Opera’s Don Giovanni arrives in Victoria this month with star Lucia Lucas ready and raring to reprise the seminal role she played in Tulsa, Oklahoma nearly three years ago.
Lucas made history in May, 2019 as the first female transgender baritone to star on an American stage, when she played Don Giovanni in Mozart’s iconic opera.
A subsequent 2020 documentary, The Sound of Identity, was made featuring the performance, enhancing Lucas’s global appeal.
“I’m looking forward to Don Giovanni in Victoria,” said the 41-year-old. “The role feels great and I think I have more ideas to share after the last two years.
“I don’t think of myself as a pioneer for transgender baritones. Anytime a company looks for diverse casting, we have more varied life experiences which makes for better art and appealing to a larger audience.”
She added: “Since my last Don Giovanni, I have tried to keep busy making art—whether that’s film versions of opera or live performances for 4,000 people or a small audience.”
Lucas, who was born and raised in Sacramento, California, has visited “beautiful” Victoria before—for a band trip back in high school.
She has lived in Germany since 2009, heading to Europe as “it looked like my best chance at that time to start a career.” Ironically, she’s now getting plenty of work back in North America, having recently finished a stint starring in a New York production of Tosca.
Lucas is also comfortable with Italian—in which Don Giovanni will be performed—having lived in Italy for six months in the past.
And how early did her special talent for singing and opera surface?
“My parents are engineers and I wasn’t exposed to much classical music or opera as a kid,” she recalled. “But, while I was an undergrad, I asked if I could participate in the opera, and the professor eventually auditioned me and took me on as a private student. When I graduated with a degree in French horn and voice, it was clear I needed to focus on voice for grad school.”
Lucas’s biggest operatic inspirations have been George London and Leonard Warren, while she finds inspiration for her acting in small streaming studios—and in everyday life.
She also hopes to do more on-camera work, following the success of The Sound of Identity.
When it comes to keeping her voice optimal, Lucas revealed a few daily tricks.
“Of course, you should always drink plenty of water. Warm liquids like tea and soup are also nice on the throat, while steam showers are usually part of any singing day.”
Pacific Opera describes Don Giovanni as “an arresting mix of comedy, melodrama and tragedy, with music as sublime and seductive as anything Mozart ever wrote.
It also says the opera is historical proof that “the #MeToo movement is nothing new” and that opera “can be both dazzling and relevant to our time.”
Don Giovanni’s four-date run at the Royal Theatre is on April 20, 22, 24 and 26.
To learn more and book tickets, visit pacificopera.ca/event/don-giovanni.