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Q&A with Opera Singer Gail Gilmore

Exclusive Interview by Karen Beishuizen

Gail Gilmore is an American Opera singer who played more than 40 roles in opera houses all over the world. Her greatest pants role is Oktavian in Richard Strauss’s The Rosenkavalier. Her favorite roles are Verdi’s Lady Macbeth and Ortrud in Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin. She is teaching at Kreativ Musik Forum in München and Concerts in Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg. Gail resides in Munich.

KB: Did you always want to be an opera singer growing up?

Growing up – I was in my father’s church every Sunday raised with Gospel Music. Father, Dr. Rev. A. W. Gilmore, Pastor of the Tulane Baptist Church. Mama was a chemistry teacher.

KB: Why did you choose opera and not another genre?

My voice was a classical sound, because the chorus director taught me to sing on the vowels. My first song was with 12 years old: “How Great Thou Art”.

KB: I read you made your debut in Europe at age 24. Why in Europe?

In the USA there are approx. 6 Opera Houses. In other countries also around 2 to 6 Opera Houses. However, in Germany in every City there is one, 42 in total. And I wanted to be a singing actress.

KB: You did a lot of trousers roles on stage like Hansel and Cherubino. Why was this?

Pants roles first, because I was a Tom-Boy and the voice was lyric. Of course when one gets older, the voice gets heavier and dramatic. The greatest pants role is Oktavian, the “Rosenkavalier” from Richard Strauss. That was a rewarding experience.

KB: Of all the opera houses you performed, which one is your favorite and why?

My favorite theatres are Wiesbaden (loving audience), Frankfurt/M. (fantastic contract) San Paulo, Brazil (lots of fun). I also enjoyed La Fenice in Venice.

KB: You played more than 40 roles on stage in various operas. Do you have a favorite and why that role?

Favorite roles: Lady Macbeth (Verdi) and Ortrud (Lohengrin). Both of them are the same evil woman. Wonderful acting….

KB: You founded The Oldambster Music Festival in Bellingwolde, Netherlands in 2002: Is it still inviting talents from all over the world?

NL-Bellingwolde Festival is “No More”. I gave it up in 2008 and moved to Munich (München) to teach voice.

KB: You spend most of your life in Germany singing and teaching at schools with children. Why Germany?

Why Deutschland.? You go where you can get a job. The Germans love me crazy-carrying-on. The public in Holland love me too. However, I get more work and students in Germany.

KB: What are you currently doing?

Now, I am still teaching in Kreativ Musik Forum in München and Concerts in Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg with my Pianist, Jan Lenselink from Emmen, Holland. He’s fantastic.!!! Our program is classic, jazz and gospels. Crazy.!!!!!!

Check out Gail’s website: HERE

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