Mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack and her husband, tenor Alek Shrader, are enjoying enviable careers on the international operatic stage. They met while they were both participating in the Merola Opera program in 2007 and were married in 2011 after successful Adler Fellowships. Now, after the birth of their baby daughter Evangelina in January, they are choosing to put their young family at the center of their professional decisions.
“We both gave up two engagements each when we found out we were pregnant. They were interesting projects with great companies and we didn’t want to give them up,” Alek says. “Luckily, everyone was extremely understanding. It might be because we like to work for good companies that themselves operate like a family.”
Despite the numerous complications attendant with merging a new baby and two burgeoning careers, being an opera-centered family has its advantages. “We bring a built-in chemistry to our package deal as performers,” says Alek.
Daniela also enjoys being part of an operatic team. “There is comfort in knowing that your partner understands exactly what you experience at work without having to explain anything to them,” she says. “We’ve both learned the demands of our work over the years, and we each know exactly what the other needs leading up to a show, or how the other needs to decompress once work is over for the day. We also love to work together! Sharing the stage as often as we have affords us more time together in a profession that can at times be quite lonely.”
Alek and Daniela appeared together on the War Memorial Opera House stage in last season’s acclaimed production of Partenope. This season Alek sings David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the same time Daniela performs Rosina in The Barber of Seville this season, and the timing is no coincidence.
“Focusing on our family doesn’t make our choices any easier, but it certainly clarifies them.” says Alek. “We are a couple who love to sing. It is our career and it is our dream.
Daniela adds, “To me, being the best mother I can be and providing for my daughter includes being the best performer I can be. There is a new purpose in my singing, which is rejoicing in the beauty of the world and the music that I learn, and sharing that beauty with our daughter.”
Luckily for San Francisco Opera patrons, Daniela and Alek are also sharing it with all of us.