American soprano Maria Kanyova made her San Francisco Opera debut in 2012 as Pat Nixon in John Adams's Nixon in China
. In this summer's world premiere The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
by Mark Adamo, Kanyova graced the War Memorial Opera House stage as Miriam—a performance the San Francisco Examiner
We were so excited to see you on the War Memorial stage again after your success as Pat Nixon in Nixon in China. Did you do any sight-seeing during your time off?
My family and I did just about everything one could possibly do here and loved every minute of it. Just like any tourists we have 1000 pictures to show our friends and family!
[Kanyova as Miriam.]
What is the most exciting/rewarding aspect of being involved in a world premiere such as The Gospel of Mary Magdalene?
It is incredibly rewarding to create a role and to witness others in the creation of their roles, and to then have the composer with us as we embark on that journey. Mark Adamo's input has been a priceless aspect in this experience.
The role of Miriam is so complex and interesting. How did you approach this role?
We all have preconceived notions or visions of the Virgin Mary and I knew this could be complicated, so I approached the role with an open mind in order to fully experience and grasp what Mark wanted for this character.
[With Sasha Cooke as Mary Magdalene.]
Who is your all-time favorite opera singer and why?
It's hard for me to really say one singer, because every singer has there specialty and when they sing that particular style or role then they are my favorite at that time. Just like life, voices change with time, with different roles, so it's hard for me to commit to an all-time favorite. I have so many favorites!
We are so glad you chose to be a soprano, but if you weren’t an opera singer, what would be your alternative career choice and why?
I would absolutely have gone into medicine, and maybe have even mixed in alternative medicine. I have always been interested in it and have dedicated a lot of my time to the health and well-being of myself and my family.
[With William Burden as Peter, Nathan Gunn as Yeshua and Cooke.]
Production photos by Cory Weaver.