She bounds on stage, an untamable exuberance radiating from her eyes and into the audiences, gently demanding attention. Her fiancé proposes, and she leaps into his arms before running offstage to tell her girlfriends. In less than thirty seconds, soprano Sharin Apostolou steals the scene in The Flying Dutchman without ever opening her mouth.
Sharin came to Glimmerglass this summer to cover Guenevere in Camelot and sing in the choruses of The Flying Dutchman and King for a Day, but shortly after arriving in Otsego County, she saw her summer assignments triple. Her creativity and magnetic energy were quickly noticed, and she found herself creating two characters from nothing but a simple instruction from the directors.
Neither of Sharin’s characters in The Flying Dutchman and King for a Day are even hinted at in the libretto, but they both add immensely to the story. In The Flying Dutchman, Sharin has a brief, but significant cameo as the Steersman’s fiancé. In an opera shaded with deadly obsessions and the supernatural, Sharin is a welcome starburst of joy. Verdi’s King for a Day, the composer’s first comedy, allows her to display her comic arsenal. “The directors told me ‘You are the wedding planner’s assistant. You are also the Baron’s secretary, and you might be having an affair with him.’ That was it. So I took that and just ran with it.” And run she does. In Christian Räth’s physically demanding production, Sharin is tirelessly jetting to and fro, spicing every scene with an ever-animated face and her talent for acrobatic physical comedy. “My character goes through a journey. She starts off as an uptight secretary, but then she idolizes the fake King as if he’s Elvis, and by the end she comes completely unglued, chasing after La Rocca with the marriage contract he refuses to sign.”
Sharin credits her training with allowing her to conquer any task that a director or conductor throws at her. As a voice major at Carnegie Mellon University, she was required to take four years of dance and acting classes in addition to the intensive theory and musicianship courses required of instrumentalists. Carnegie Mellon also staged both operas and musicals with undergraduates performing leading roles, an opportunity not offered by many top music schools. “Those four years at Carnegie Mellon really prepared me to do anything. The classes, the stage time and the personal attention we got all gave me an advantage over my peers in graduate school and beyond.”
After Carnegie Mellon, Sharin received her Master’s from the Manhattan School of Music, but her interests continued to expand beyond just opera. “I’ve been involved in a lot of projects that are off the beaten path, including a European tour of The Opera Show, a performance piece for five singers, five dancers and a chamber orchestra, and I perform a lot of Baroque music.” A favorite of Portland Opera, where she was once a young artist, she has performed there the title roles in Cavalli’s La Calisto and Handel’s Rodelinda, and returns there next season as Almirena in Handel’s Rinaldo. On the more traditional path, Sharin has sung Norina in Don Pasquale with Wichita Grand Opera and will sing Gilda in Rigoletto with Shreveport Opera and Adina in L’elisir d’amore with the Baltimore Concert Opera and Opera Delaware this fall. Next spring she will return to Wichita Grand Opera as Rosina in The Barber of Seville.