Q&A with 2014 Schwab Vocal Rising Star Miles Mykkanen who will be appearing at Caramoor on March 16.
1. You’ll be living with and studying these songs for an entire week straight in preparation for the public concerts on March 16 (at Caramoor) and March 17 & 18 (NYC). Which piece are you most excited to obsess over? Are there any that you afraid to get to know on an intimate level?
The music in “Ports of Call: An Itinerary of Song” is all incredibly diverse. The program features songs that will be familiar to regular concertgoers in addition to a handful of rarities. But no matter new or familiar, each of these songs are gems and will be undoubtedly entertaining for all.
Until last October, I had never looked at a Russian song or attempted the daunting task of reading Cyrillic. However, I was offered Lensky in Juilliard’s recent production of Eugene Onegin and had to face my fears. Over the last five months I have been immersed in Tchaikovsky’s music and the beautiful Russian language. Russian has become my favorite language to sing; the Italianate vowels and the luscious liquid consonants produce a sensuality that lends itself perfectly to music. When Steve asked me to sing “The Song of the Indian Merchant” from Rimsky-Korskov’s Sadko, I immediately started jumping up and down and squealing (the prospect of working on new music—especially gorgeous music—always excites me). Rimsky-Korskov’s beautiful melody has been haunting me and I am thrilled to be performing it on the program!
I am not afraid to get to know any of my songs on an intimate level, however I am extremely afraid of the technicality of Grieg’s Tak for dit Råd! There is a lot of Scandinavian blood running through me (I am Finnish-American), but Norwegian is not a language singers often encounter. To top off this tour-de-force song, the words come at a lightning-fast pace and the whole thing climaxes on a big ol’ high A. May the Norse Gods and the spirit of Jussi Björling be ever in my favor!
2. Best dessert you ever had. Go! (I will accept up to two answers)
I get two answers! This is difficult because I am a huge dessert lover with quite the sweet tooth… The first one that comes to mind is from an Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. The dish is three scoops of strawberry and mango sorbet each dipped in white chocolate and drizzled with a tad of milk chocolate sauce. It doesn’t matter how much I ate, I will always have room for that treat.
My second answer is my favorite after-dinner cocktail: a pear martini. I had my first pear martini with my dad at a bar in the Northwoods of Wisconsin (where I grew up). Even though they technically are “anytime-cocktails”, there is truly nothing else like sipping on a pear martini on a warm July night watching the sunset over a lake with your dad!