'You have to be so zen': How soprano Ambur Braid hits the high notes in her new performance

The coloratura soprano talks about the pressures of performing as Queen of the Night in the Canadian Opera Company's production of The Magic Flute.
Canadian Opera Company's coloratura soprano Ambur Braid. (Jennifer Toole)

Ambur Braid attributes her upbringing in a town north of Vancouver as the catalyst to her love of the stage."I grew up in Terrace," says Braid. "Despite being a small community, it had an incredible musical scene." Musicians who were part of theatre acts would regularly tour through Terrace. She admits, "the only real knowledge I had of performing arts was musical theatre and some of the recitals brought in." Eventually, her parents enrolled her in a variety of art classes, while she developed a passion for opera.

Canadian Opera Company's coloratura soprano Ambur Braid. (Olivia Pasquarelli)

Now, Braid sings in productions around the world. She currently stars as Queen of the Night in the Canadian Opera Company's production of The Magic Flute. "You have to be so zen," says Braid. "If you screw up any of those notes, everybody knows." The soprano explains that the audience will catch when you make a mistake because the music in The Magic Flute is so famous. If that does happen, Braid says all you can do is push through. "It's keeping all that energy channeled and getting it done," she says. The embarrassment can be saved for later.

The Magic Flute is on from Jan. 19 to Feb. 24 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Find more details here

Read CBC Music's piece on Ambur Braid here.

Web extra | Watch the trailer for the Canadian Opera Company's production of The Magic Flute below.

Listen to Braid perform the aria played in the beginning of this segment, taken from La Traviata by Verdi, "Ah! Fors'e lui... Sempre Libera."


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