Artist of the Week: Nicole Cabell
Tell us about your early career. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I was always drawn to the arts, and my first love was fiction writing. I began writing short stories when I was in grade school and moved on to novels as a teenager. During this time I started to play the flute but soon realized I had a singing voice, so writing fell off my list of priorities. We didn’t listen to classical music in my family, so my first introduction to classical singing was my voice teacher. At the time I wanted to sing jazz and American musical theater repertoire, but my voice chose opera. It took a while to get the hang of it, and while a part of my heart will always be dedicated to the lighter side of singing, I have great reverence for this profound art form.
Art usually addresses something conceptual… whether it’s political, personal, emotional. What does your work address in concept?
Alongside some of the most beautiful and powerful music ever written, the visual spectacle is often what brings people to the theater. Besides the obvious stories of love and relationships, opera was and still is one of the most effective ways to convey political and philosophical statements through the guise of entertainment, which is perhaps a leading reason it has remained relevant.
Where can someone see your work(s)?
This is a very busy year for me. I am currently singing the role of the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with France’s Nantes/Angers Opera, and later this year will sing the role of Mimi in two back to back productions of La Bohème, first with Minnesota Opera and later Cincinnati Opera. The summer will find me in several concerts at the Oregon Bach Festival and the Bard Festival before presenting two more productions of Le Nozze Di Figaro with Grand Théâtre de Genève and Michigan Opera Theater. I will also sing a new role in the baroque opera Eliogabalo with the Dutch National Opera. Outside of these performances, I am thrilled to begin my professorship with the DePaul University School of Music this fall.
What does it mean to be a woman artist to you? What does it mean to be a Chicago artist?
The first time I visited Chicago, in 1998, I made a commitment to live in this great city. Simply put, Chicago speaks to me, and I never tire of the peerless restaurants, shopping, history, and, of course, cultural scene. To be an artist in Chicago is very fulfilling, as I’m privileged to perform in some of the top venues in the world including the Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony Center, the Ravinia Festival and more. Chicago audiences are also wonderful, both knowledgeable of music and theater, but unassuming and polite, which are charming Midwest qualities.