Alyson Rosales, the soprano kicking down doors and opening windows in europe
Alyson Rosales, Chilean soprano and latest winner of the third “Women to Listen to” lyrical singing contest, spoke to the Chile Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts about her career, her experiences, and the importance of winning this contest.
She started singing very young. She was only 10 years old when she first dreamed of becoming the “queen of the night”, but soon discovered that life and the colors of her voice would take her down other roads.
After making the decision to follow her dream, Alyson enrolled in the Universidad de Chile, but was unable to complete her chosen program due to money problems. She continued studying with private teachers for years, until she got the chance to try her luck in Germany.
“What am I doing here?! That was the first thing I thought when I arrived in Europe as the babysitter of a German family”. The soprano left her family and her teacher Ahlke Scheffelt behind in Chile, also missing the opportunity to participate in the lyrical singing contest organized by the city of Trujillo. She spent months without singing: “I studied in my spare time, while the girls I was taking care of were at school, early in the morning or late at night when everyone was asleep”, she remembers. Her sacrifices and hard work paid off, since she is now about to complete her Bachelor’s Degree at HMDK Stuttgart and is preparing to apply for a Master’s program at the same university.
Have you encountered any gender-related difficulties in your profession?
As a woman, and mainly as a Latin American woman, it has been really hard… apart from working on your voice, you need to be super thin, especially in Germany, because if you aren’t they don’t know what role to give you. Aesthetic aspects have become really important in opera. That’s also the case in competitions, where you also see differences due to physical aspects. For example, I have participated in several competitions in Germany and never progress beyond the first round; however, I’ve been able to get further ahead in Russia, France, and Italy.
How can you handle the frustration of not getting the roles you expect, when you know it has nothing to do with a lack of talent?
I felt sad at first, because I felt rejected. But now, every time they say “no”, I say to myself “this is not the right path for me. I need to keep looking”. I have to keep on trying over and over again until a door opens or someone opens a window so I can climb inside if all else fails. But I know I cannot just stay there and lay down my arms because there are lots of opportunities; the important thing is to keep searching and pay attention.
In your view, what are the most important qualities of a good interpreter?
Javier Camareno once told me that one shouldn’t take longer steps than your legs allow, and that applies to everything. You need to be in control of what you do, convey emotion, but bearing in mind that you need to return to the center in your next breath, without letting the audience notice anything. You need to be really intelligent and identify that midpoint. I think a good interpreter is able to marry technical capabilities with emotion, managing to stay between the two extremes throughout her performances, no matter the piece.
Alyson Rosales participated in Women to Listen to III after competing in five international contests, winning fifth place in the “Neapolitan Masters Competition” held at the Bellini Theater as well as fourth place and two special awards in the 2019 Competizione dell’opera in Sotchi, Russia.
What does it mean to win Women to Listen to III?
This contest is a very important opportunity for me, because it will enable me to enter the US market; I want to demonstrate in the United States how much I love singing and my professionalism. I want to do my best.
Winning also means being able to recognize the role of my former teacher, Ahlke Scheffelt, who taught me technique as well as love and respect for singing. And lots of discipline, responsibility, and self-criticism.
Is winning a contest held in Chile especially valuable for you?
It is hugely meaningful; I have participated in contests in many countries, but there I’m all alone in my own head. In contrast, when I come to Chile, I always have someone to hug. I feel so well received. Performing here gives me a different kind of energy; seeing a friend, my mom, or my dad in the audience fills me with emotion.
What would you like to do in the next five years of your career?
I’d like to be a soloist, but more of a freelance one. I hope to play many roles, in several opera houses; I want to reach the top and stand out among my peers, singing at the most renowned venues.
And there are some roles I’d love to play, such as Amina from La Sonnambula, which is my favorite part, or Gounod’s Juliette and Giulietta from I Capuleti e i Montecchi –these are roles I find so powerful. That’s my repertoire nowadays. I’d like to do some Verdi later, but I’d rather leave the best for last.