Audrey Luna

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - February 15, 2008
Audrey Luna
Audrey Luna

Audrey Luna
Opera soprano

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Salem, Ore. I lived there until I was about 20. I went to Portland State University for undergrad and got my master’s at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in Ohio.

Where are you currently living?

Chicago. I’ve been here for about two-and-a-half years.

What sparked your interest in theatre and opera?

It was my mother actually. She noticed a talent in me early on and enrolled me in voice lessons, violin, piano, flute, ballet. I was taking all those about the same time and I just kind of wheeled my way into what I loved, which was singing.

Would you say that your mom played the key role in molding your career, or would you credit others as well?

I’d really say that my mom played the key role. But she wasn’t like a stage mom; she wasn’t pushy or anything. But she really instilled the value of having something in your life that you love and are interested in, and how it really can save you in many ways to have something like music in your life to really focus on. So many times these days youths just don’t have that creative outlet, so it was really her who did that for me. I did have great voice teachers along the way, and doing those outside music lessons was really important.

Are you excited about your role as Juliet in Hawaii Opera Theatre’s upcoming show, Romeo and Juliet?

I am so excited. As you must already know, I was the last-minute replacement. I was already going to come to sing Anne in A Little Night Music this summer, and then I was going to come next January to do the Abduction from the Seraglio. So I was just stoked already that I was coming to Hawaii, but to hear 24 hours before having to get on the plane that I would be flying to Hawaii to play Juliet was just the most exciting thing.

Have you ever done Juliet before?

Yes, I did a matinée performance with the Pittsburgh Opera.

Did that experience really help with the late notice?

I’d have to say that it was nine months ago that I did it, and it was still fresh in my memory. But I wasn’t sure because I’ve never had to do anything so last-minute as this. So on my eight-hour plane ride here I just had that score right in front of me with my iPod, and it was really just the words that I needed to refresh my memory. It came back very easily - I was actually surprised.

Is this a particularly challenging role for you?

What I usually do is a lot of mean sort of characters. So this is just a breath of fresh air to play a young girl in love. It’s a tragic ending and all, but most of Juliet’s character is a happy, playful young girl with crazy ideals. So, I don’t find it challenging. It’s exciting to really do a different extreme, because when you get to do an extreme, you really play with it and you let your whole soul get into it. So, I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.

Where is the most amazing place music has taken you?

That would be here in Hawaii. I was here once two years ago. My boyfriend Jordan Shanahan used to sing with Hawaii Opera a lot, and he was born in Kailua. We had just met in Santa Fe, where we were young artists in 2005, and he whisked me off here to Hawaii for a couple of weeks and I got to meet his mother. I’m actually staying here at her place again. It’s amazing to be able to come to a place like Hawaii for work. It makes no sense, in a way. This is great, because I get to bond more with my now fiance’s family and it’s really special.

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” directed by Hawaii Opera Theatre’s Karen Tiller, is onstage at the Blaisdell Concert Hall at 8 p.m. Feb. 29, 4 p.m. March 2 and 7:30 p.m. March 4. For tickets or more information, visit or call 596-7372.


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