We had the pleasure of interviewing Valerie Niemerg, Author of Elly Uncomposed: A Novel Opera. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Hi Valerie, Great to have you with us today! Please share with our readers about yourself.
Hi, I live in Colorado, and I am a retired opera singer, a cancer survivor, a veteran foster mom, a public speaker, a blogger, a choral conductor, and an author.
Please tell us about your book, Elly Uncomposed: A Novel Opera.
Elly Uncomposed is a humorous and endearing work of literary fiction in which a modern-day, timid pianist is trapped in a real-life eighteenth-century opera. Readers don’t need to know a thing about opera to enjoy Elly’s adventure!
Elizabeth Kirtenpepper loves the opera. But she never wanted to be in one. Certainly not a real-life opera. So, when a strange magical twist of fate transports her into The Marriage of Figaro, Elizabeth finds herself swept out of the orchestra pit and into the scullery of the ruthless and domineering Count Almaviva.
Stuffed into a corset and forced to wear impractical shoes, Elizabeth meets Figaro, Susanna, and the whole cast of memorable characters, but no one is sticking to their story, and a strange, hooded villain is running through the estate, unraveling every bar line and fermata of Mozart’s score! Elizabeth will soon have to summon her own inner diva to vanquish calamities from leprosy and sexual politics to revolutions in Spain.
But the reticent little pianist from Kansas may just end up changing her own story as well when she discovers that everything she ever really needed to know. . .well, she learned it at the opera.
Please share with our readers about your journey.
I was very fortunate to travel for many years as a professional opera singer. I got to have some incredible experiences on stages around the world. As a mezzo-soprano (alto), I rarely got to sing the big soprano heroine roles, so I had a lot of time to sit backstage and invent stories in my head. A few years back, I stepped away from the stage and married my EHarmony love, moved to a new home, and started a family. Despite the arrival of cancer and the challenges of foster care, we somehow survived all and continue to enjoy our new story.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
Well, living amid the great stories of operas for a few decades didn’t hurt! But as for writing, at first, I tried my hand at spy novels, and I spent so many years editing them and getting coaching and feedback that I ended up becoming a decent writer.
Any message for our readers?
You don’t need to like opera to enjoy Elly!! Most of her biggest fans have never been to an opera and have an opera education that ends with Bugs Bunny. A reviewer on Artsfuse.com said Elly Uncomposed is a “fun introduction to the world of opera.” The best feedback I’ve gotten was from a man who hadn’t ever been to an opera or even considered it but couldn’t “wait to run out and see one!”
Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find out more about you?
Thank you so much, Valerie, for giving us your precious time! We wish you all the best for your journey ahead!
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