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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Q&A | 28 Cheeky Questions For Soprano Ambur Braid

By Ludwig Van on September 15, 2018

Ambur Braid, soprano
Ahead of her performance in Rufus Wainright’s opera Hadrian in just a few weeks, Soprano Ambur Braid sat down for a few questions, including that time she fired a gun, character flaws, and the thing that makes her the happiest. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Ludwig Van’s Q&A series is composed of a bank of questions aimed at artists who have made a serious mark on Toronto’s music scene. We’re still not sure what’s more fun: answering them or reading them.

Originally from Terrace, British Columbia, soprano Ambur Braid got her start at the COC Ensemble Studio. Braid has gone on to an international career with major roles in the English National Opera, Oper Frankfurt, National Sawdust, Teatro de São Carlos, the Canadian Opera Company, and Calgary Opera. She made her debut in 2009 with Opera Atelier as Diane in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride.

This season, she is scheduled to sing Sabina, opposite Thomas Hampson in the title role, in Rufus Wainright’s highly anticipated opera Hadrian with the Canadian Opera Company, opening October 13.

She’s also being featured in the Brott Festival’s Viva Verdi! Gala on September 27 (link here)

Default drink?

An Austrian red or a white from Emilia-Romagna.

Your favourite smells?

Athens at night; the pine and cypress trees, the salty air and the smell of dirt.

Your least favourite smells?

The Paris subway in the summer

The historical personalities, both good and bad, that fascinate you the most?

The Tudor Queens.

The three books that you read that made an impact on you in your formative years?

I’m definitely still forming, but there are images in both The Crimson Petal and the White and Lolita that I will never get out of my head. I read an unusual amount of advertising books in my high school years, and the best one was probably The Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads.

Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?

We’ve just returned from Frankfurt, where I had some more performances of Die Zauberflöte.

What is your biggest phobia?

Crowds and dolphins.

Where did you go to school?

Terrace, Victoria, Toronto, and San Francisco.

The cliché that you overuse?

Call. The. Cops.

The strangest talent that you possess?

I can find/sniff out the source of mould in a house or building.

The different career path that you could have gone on?

Being a sommelier or event planning.

Your ancestry?

English/Irish, French/German, Scandinavian and Iberian. Or so says 23andme!

Your major character flaw?

Fear.

The character flaw in others that you can’t abide?

Narcissism.

How do you know when you can trust someone?

When I look them in the eye.

What are you most proud of?

My toy poodle, Walter, can sing the revenge aria from The Magic Flute.

What is the best thing about your work?

The travel, the people, the emotions, the solitude, the complexity, and the constant self-evaluation.

What is the worst thing about your work?

The travel, the people, the emotions, the solitude, the complexity, and the constant self-evaluation.

What sport did you give up and why?

I gave up being on the swim team in order to continue singing due to recurring ear infections.

What is the one animal that scares you the most?

Dolphins.

If you had a motto, what would it be?

Be steadfast, be patient, be silent.

Have you ever fired a gun? If so, what were the circumstances?

I have fired a few guns, but I’m not allowed to talk about why or where that was.

The thing that makes you the happiest?

Having a dinner party with friends.

The thing that makes you the angriest?

Slow walkers who have no idea how to walk in a city and weave around on the sidewalk.

Three pieces, songs, or arias that you could listen to on repeat for an hour?

Bach Fugue in G minor, (dancing to) the overture of Roberto Devereux by Donizetti, and “Life on Mars?” by David Bowie.

The first three things that you do every morning?

Drink a pot of French press coffee and a litre of water and read the news.

The best way to die?

Onstage. Then I can be a phantom of the opera.

The piece of music you want played at your funeral?

“Every Breath You Take”  by The Police… I’ll be watching you. 👀

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