Each week we will be sharing some fun stories and facts about our 2023 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars! Starting on March 6th, they will be rehearsing and living at Caramoor up until their performance on March 12th. We hope you will join us!
This week we are introduced to mezzo-soprano Maggie Reneé!
Maggie Reneé will never forget her first full-opera role and European debut, as Cherubino in the Berlin Opera Festival’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro. All was going along swimmingly well until the moment Cherubino was supposed to hand a letter to Susanna, and Maggie realized that the prop letter must have fallen out of her pocket backstage. With only one year of Italian under her belt, the words “Non ho la canzonetta” (“I don’t have the letter”) emerged from her lips. Then, a quick-thinking Cherubino looked around, found another prop nearby in the form of a little journal, ripped out a page, and handed it to Susanna while singing “Ecco la” (“Here it is!”). While the moment itself was scary, Maggie’s speedy recovery in front of a full audience made her feel proud.
Aside from the many successful opera productions, recitals, gigs, and other performances since then, Maggie is also deeply proud of the money she’s raised — $5,200 so far and counting — in support of the American Cancer Society, through selling her hand-painted mugs and other cool merch on her YouTube and streaming channels. She has a vibrant social media life, merging her music-making and advanced content-creation skills in a joyful, meaningful way.
When you see the name Maggie Reneé in our program book (or on your screen) and your mind auto-corrects the accent hovering above the third e in her French name, you might think that Caramoor needs to do a better job proofing. But NOTHING could be further from the truth! In spite of the more common placement of the accent over the second e, Maggie’s mom deliberately chose to pop that accent over the third. She thought it looked prettier that way, and we concur. But maybe she didn’t foresee that her daughter’s name would one day be in lights (and print and screen) and that people everywhere would always be telling Maggie Reneé to correct a thing that is not even wrong…
Another thing not wrong in the world of Maggie Reneé: a Big Mac and fries.
And one more thing not wrong for this Rising Star: not practicing a whole lot right before a performance. After she’s warmed up, she usually knows she’s ready to go and does not want to overthink, just sing.
Why sing? To bring joy to audiences and characters to life, with or without the designated props in her hand. And speaking of her hands Maggie Reneé is a lefty.