Angelina Reaux (say Ray-oh and you’re close) feels just fine about the fact that she can’t be pigeon-holed: “I am a singing actress, and I’m an opera singer. To me, they are the same thing.”
Perhaps taking an old theatrical admonition too literally, Reaux, 34, broke both legs during a 1982 performance in Washington of “Sweeney Todd.” Undaunted by 18 months of hospitals, operations, casts, wheelchairs and walkers, she continues physical therapy. And she’s back in the spotlight.
Singing Gabrielle in Long Beach Opera’s production of Offenbach’s “Parisian Life” at the Backlot Theater in West Hollywood, the Houston-born soprano is fresh from a run of her one-woman show “Stranger Here Myself” at New York’s Public Theater. “Stranger,” in which Reaux interprets two dozen Kurt Weill songs in the character of a suicidal young woman alone in a rented room, elicited a gamut of reactions.
So, too, her Mimi on the new DG-Leonard Bernstein recording of “La Boheme.” But Reaux doesn’t mind being controversial.
“The ‘Boheme’ was such a gift , I canceled all my engagements and auditions for months and went to Italy to work on it with two great coaches there.” She expresses pride that her performance on the album (no retakes) remains exactly as recorded before live audiences.
Reaux will sing Lauretta in “Gianni Schicchi” with the Arizona Opera in March and Yum-Yum in “The Mikado” in Chattanooga in April.
“The calendar is mainly booked with contemporary works just now,” she says.
Tonight she performs Weill’s “Seven Deadly Sins” with the Sacramento Symphony, rejoining the Offenbach cast next week--Wednesday through Sunday.
Angelina Reaux: on stage full time--but never again in high heels.