The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one’s personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses given by the French writer Marcel Proust. At that time, it was popular among English families to answer a list of questions that revealed the tastes and aspirations of the taker.
A similar questionnaire is regularly seen on the back page of Vanity Fair magazine, answered by various celebrities.
This week’s Proust Questionnaire profiles Kyle Ketelsen, Enrico VIII in Minnesota Opera’s upcoming production of Anna Bolena.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The loss of a child. (Way to start a questionnaire, Proust!)
Where would you like to live?
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Spending every day surrounded by the people you love (and who love you) the most
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Consumption of chocolate
Your favorite musician?
Jack White. Rock’n’Roller, modern-day Blues man, champion of the eclectic.
The quality you most admire in a man? The quality you most admire in a woman?
Integrity. Standing for something, whether it’s personal or professional. Living by a code.
Your favorite virtue?
Your favorite occupation?
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Dunking from the 3-point-line. OK…dunking from anywhere.
Do you have a website, Facebook fan page, or a Twitter for everyone to follow?
How do you eat your eggs?
Increasingly without yolk, but often wrapped in bacon.
How long have you been involved with opera and what drew you to the art form?
My mother introduced me to opera when she bought an “Opera Goes to the Movies” cassette, somewhere around 1986. I found the music incredibly moving (particularly the Puccini excerpts from “Moonstruck” and “Fatal Attraction”), and it seemed familiar to me, though I previously had no idea what opera was. I was in high school, and sang Sarastro’s O Isis und Osiris in state competition; at the time, I didn’t even know it was from an opera! In my third year of general studies at the University of Iowa, I decided to take voice lessons, in order to keep my voice in shape. I auditioned for the vocal faculty, and they suggested I become a voice major. Having no other specialty in mind, I agreed. Gradually, but on a sure course, I discovered I had the abilities to make a career. I left grad school at Indiana University in 1999, and began working professionally.
Favorite behind-the-scenes memory…
In 2000 I was a finalist in Placido Domingo’s Operalia competition. Before the finals concert, we drew numbers – literally out of a hat – to determine concert order. I picked the number one, which is just death for a competition. No one wants to go first! However, since Placido was conducting, I had the great luck to wait with him before we entered stage at the beginning of the show. While standing there he asked me if I sing Escamillo, and that perhaps I could for Washington Opera’s Carmen the following season. I told him indeed I do, and so I was hired for a string of engagements in D.C. Before Carmen, however, I debuted there as the villain in “The Tales of Hoffmann.” In the audience was a man who’d become my European agent. I attribute a great deal of my success in Europe to my experience with Domingo, and being heard in his competition.
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