For soprano Adelaide Boedecker, performing at the Sarasota Opera House March 1 in her debut as Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute is a dream come true in several ways. Partly because, as she says, “Mozart is my favorite composer,” partly because the role includes an aria, Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden (Oh, I feel it, it has disappeared) that’s also one of her favorites, and partly because Boedecker, a Sarasota native, more or less grew up at the opera house, and is thrilled about returning to sing there as a professional for the first time.
Boedecker (“Addie” to her friends) became involved with the Sarasota Youth Opera the summer after second grade and says, “I fell in love with it. I stayed with it through my senior year, and I came back during summers away from college” [at the University of Florida] to work on surtitles and learn the business side of the opera world.
Even before her youth opera years, Boedecker had discovered the magic of singing at Sarasota’s Church of the Redeemer. But seeing a girl dressed up as a “huge coffee bean” in the youth opera’s Arabica drew her more strongly to performing onstage. Still, she never thought she’d make it professionally in opera, considering instead the field of entertainment law. When “Maestro” [Sarasota Opera artistic director Victor DeRenzi] asked her when she was 17 to learn Barbarina’s aria from The Marriage of Figaro and “sing it for a couple of people, I totally did not catch on that it was like an audition,” she remembers, laughing. She says she was terrified, but being around the opera’s professionals, in their 30s and 40s when she was a teen, made her realize that life as a working music professional was a real possibility.
“I loved every second of it,” she says. “I’ve always loved performing, escaping myself and real life on stage.” At UF she earned a bachelor’s in music in vocal performance, and then followed up by attending the Eastman School in Rochester, New York, to receive her master’s. She also took classes in grant writing and other aspects of the business, preparing her even more fully to launch into her career.
Since then, Boedecker (now based in Atlanta with her husband, also a singer) has received glowing reviews in roles with the Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Las Vegas, Music Academy of the West, Santa Fe Opera and other companies. (“Emotionally transparent and beguiling of tone,” said the San Francisco Chronicle of one of her performances.) She continues to credit her early days at the Sarasota Opera for much of her success.
“When we were in youth opera, we were already treated as adults and held to standards,” she says. “We had to study, to learn, to know the music, be early for our calls.” When learning a new piece, she recalls, “Maestro always told us not to learn off recordings, so I learned to sight read early,” a skill that comes in handy if called upon to replace someone with short notice in a role, as happened to her once when another singer became pregnant. Overall, “I had a massive leg up” thanks to her training here.
Up next for Boedecker: her Opera Columbus debut in “Opera Swings Jazz” concerts, a Santa Fe Opera presentation of UnShakeable, based on Shakespeare texts, and, perhaps someday, singing at the Met or La Scala. Whatever happens, she says, “I’m hitting one of my bucket list items by singing here” at home.
Boedecker sings the role of Pamina March 1 only; Hanna Brammer sings at the opera’s other performances. Boedecker will also cover the role of Rita in Rita (Two Men and a Woman) this season.
For opera tickets, call 328-1300 or visit sarasotaopera.org.