One thing most puzzled Erica Strauss and her family when she was growing up in their house in Far Rockaway: Wherever did she get such a soaring operatic voice? Strauss's mother Ava conjectured that perhaps her daughter's exquisite tones were inherited from her great grandfather Yehuda, who loved opera and reveled in chanting in the synagogue when he moved to Queens in 1926.But like a lot of talented girls, Erica was more interested in singing Broadway tunes than arias when she was a child."I used to sing songs from 'Annie' and 'Memories' from 'Cats' in front of the hearth of our family's fireplace," said Strauss. "When I was a kid, I could belt Broadway songs like nobody's business. There was nothing I enjoyed doing more."The young singer's repertoire evolved quickly when she reached the ripe old age of 14 and began working with her first voice teacher. The mentor introduced Strauss to "24 Italian Songs and Arias," the classic training volume for all voice students. Each week, Strauss was assigned one aria from the book, as well as a Broadway tune.Before too long, however, she became more interested in the opera pieces. By the time she saw "The Magic Flute," her first live opera at the age of 17, Strauss was hooked. Moreover, she had come to realize that her voice was richer, complex, and "more suited to singing opera.""In opera, we are trained to even out our voice," she said. "One part of the voice is not bigger than the rest of it. With classical training you can maintain the elasticity of your voice."Strauss, who is debuting at Carnegie Hall his month, has an impressive "Spinto" Soprano voice, capable of singing weighty, rousing climaxes."My voice is large and is suited for fairly dramatic roles," said Strauss, who lists Princess Elizabeth from "Don Carlos," Mimi from "La Boheme," Violetta from "La Traviata" and Tatiana from "Eugene Onegin," as roles she craves.Str
©2007 Community News Group
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