5 Questions with "Porgy and Bess" at The Metropolitan Opera's Alannah Garnier

  • Kevin Ray Johnson

It is such a joy to introduce you to Alannah Garnier. Let me tell you it’s amazing where life can bring you especially as a performer. I am currently performing as a Standby in Porgy and Bess at The Metropolitan Opera (which is growing into one of the greatest experiences of my entire life) and Alannah is performing in the Chorus. I have known Alannah my entire life ever since I was 5 years old living in Minnesota. We came up together at the Church of Christ in Minneapolis and fast forward about 25-26 years later, we are now both performing in the same show at The Met. The Chorus is so powerful and brings more to the show than I can truly explain in words. It is such a true thrill for me to have a chance to interview this amazing Soprano.  

1.) How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a Singer? 

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I knew I wanted to be a singer as young as it is possible to remember (age 5 give or take). My mother said that we used to coo back to each other when I was a baby. Growing up I would sing while I was cleaning, cooking or doing anything and make up my own songs. I never planned or realized it would/could be Opera and yet here I am--I am definitely open to singing anything! 

2.) Where did you study? Are there any mentors that truly helped make you the performer you are today? 

I started taking voice lessons privately while still in High School around age 16. My first voice teacher, Donald Eaholtz (Mr. E to me), had a vision for me that I could not have conceived. I went to him to sing pop, soul, and R&B but he heard something else and decided he wanted to train me classically. I was definitely not excited about it but my Mom encouraged me to stay with it... I went on to study voice at California State University, Long Beach where I studied with Tim MacDougall. Not only did Tim improve my technical skills as a singer he also gave me the tools to develop myself as an authentic artist. Aside from Mr. E and Tim being an integral part of my growth as a performer and colleagues who inspire me every day, I have to credit my Mother. I have watched her perform as a dancer, singer, and actor all my life. 

3.) Porgy and Bess, in my opinion, is truly one of the greatest shows ever written. How has your time been in this amazing production at The Metropolitan Opera? 

This has been such an inspiring and authentic process. Many of us are struggling to give words to what being a part of this production of Porgy and Bess is. This is my first production of Porgy and Bess and I feel honored to be a part of such a brilliant cast. I cannot believe I am performing at the Met and working with James Robinson and Camille Howard. 

4.) Are there any operas, musicals, roles, etc. that you have done in your career that will always be near and dear to your heart? 

I think every role I have played has been meaningful in some way. They all have fostered my growth as a performer and musician. Porgy and Bess will definitely be on the very top of this list in that regard. 

5.) What advice would you give a young artist who wants a career in the performing arts? 

Be kind to yourself (stay positive in how you think and talk about yourself). Also, always be open and adapt to new opportunities. Find your authentic self in all that you do. 

To learn more about Porgy and Bess at The Metropolitan Opera, please make sure you visit - www.metopera.org