The Truth Staff
Imara Miles, a mezzo-soprano from the Washington, D.C. area and a resident artist with the Toledo Opera during last year’s season, has returned as a resident artist and will perform in this upcoming season’s performances of Cinderella, Romeo & Juliet and Ragtime.
Miles, hailed for “her expressiveness and lush sound,” as the Toledo Opera publicity notes, has experience on both opera and the musical theater repertoire. Last season with the Opera, she sand in The Merry Widow. She has also been a young artist in programs such as The Glimmerglass Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, Pensacola Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera.
A graduate of York College of Pennsylvania (B.A) and Indiana University (M.M.), Miles, at the tender age of 28, has already demonstrated, in such performances, that her early commitment to opera – at the tender age of 14 – was indeed a wise choice.
Miles has never wavered in her love of opera and her desire to pursue a career singing and she has relished the challenges that such a career presents. One of those challenges is “being able to learn quickly,” she says of her effort to incorporate the various operatic cultures and languages, along with the music, into her repertoire. For example, she has sung operatic pieces in the following languages: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Latin, Korean, Hebrew and Swahili.
As young as she is and as naturally gifted as she is, Miles’ goal is to develop her instrument, her voice, in a way that is appropriate, using “patience and perseverance,” she told The Truth a year ago during her first stint as a resident artist at the Opera.
“The voice isn’t settled yet,” she said back then. The voice, she explained, typically isn’t settled for such artists until the late 30s. “It is difficult to find the pieces that are comfortable right now because I know my voice will get bigger over the years.”
A year later we asked Miles if she has seen any such changes in her own instrument.
“Yes, I do,” she says. Miles believes that her voice “feels warmer, feels fuller.” She has been trained not to listen to her own voice while singing but when she does not adhere to that training, when she does listen to herself, she can feel the growth. She can sense that there is “more body in my voice.”
In fact, Miles is quite pleased with her voice. “It sounds pretty damned good,” she adds. “God is on my side.”
This season, Toledo Opera audiences will be able to take delight in that voice as well. Miles will be singing the part of Tisbe in Gioachino Rossini’s Cinderella (La Cenerentola). Tisbe is one of Cinderella’s stepsisters, a role that will enable Miles to display not only her vocal talents but also her ability to portray her character’s humanity.
Rossini’s Cinderella has not previously been seen by Toledo Opera audiences. The opera is based on the long-cherished fairy tale that has delighted youngsters for centuries. Angelina (Cinderella) sweeps floors while her stepsisters, Tisba and Clorinda, try on dresses, hoping to catch the eye of the handsome prince. Angelina, of course, will ultimately win his affection.
Cinderella, this season’s opening opera, will be performed on October 6 and 8 on the Valentine stage. For information go online to the Toledo Opera website.