Nicole Cabell from the 2012 Face Of Ventura series by Johanna Spinks.
by Susan Scott Executive Director
“Nicole Cabell is an American soprano.” So begins her formal bio, but I have a sense Venturans would write it differently – something like: “Nicole Cabell is a ‘hometown hero,” a local girl from a modest family who took the opera world by storm when she won the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 2005.”
Nicole debuted at The Proms in London the next year (a very big deal) and her career from there would take her to opera houses throughout the world, like Covent Garden, Lyric Opera in Chicago, The Met and more. And – in the midst of this career rocket – she closes the 2008 Ventura Music Festival in a sold-out performance staged at Ventura High School, her alma mater, and follows it with a master class for 500 students the next day. This weekend was a very big deal for Ventura and the town went crazy. They loved Nicole and she loved them.
The appearance became even more mythic when she came down with laryngitis the night before she was to perform. She couldn’t sing at rehearsal the next day either and found her voice only that night when she opened it to sing on stage – a veritable (operatic) cliff-hanger.
Fast forward, I catch up with Nicole in July where her Pandemic experience has her in the middle of a long cross-country move and home remodel. She’s relocating from Chicago to Rochester NY to take up her new position as Assistant Professor at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. I congratulate her, and she agrees to participate in Music Connects. She’ll think about what music to connect with as she completes the move.
Nicole decides on the song version of Langston Hughes’ poem, Kid in the Park, because she thinks it reflects the mood of the deepening cultural awareness in the country. I think it does too and I think you are going to love the video and the music.