Our Q&A with the La Bohème star who used to be Opera Carolina’s Resident Artist

Corey Lovelace and her husband, Logan, live in the shadow of Washington, D.C. now, but it wasn’t long ago that the couple called Charlotte home. They and their three “fur babies” (two cats, Cooper and Madison, and a dog, Remy) were Queen City residents while Corey, a soprano, was a Resident Artist with Opera Carolina. 

While in Charlotte, she performed the title role of Cendrillon in La Cendrillon with Little Opera Company of Charlotte and Mimi in La Bohème with Central Piedmont Opera Theatre. She has a master’s degree in music from DePaul University.

The Chicago native will return to a very familiar stage in January when she heads down from Alexandria, Virginia to play Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème, a four-act opera that formed the basis for the Broadway smash Rent. In Rent, the young artists are dying from AIDS. In La Bohème, it’s tuberculosis.

The beautiful bohemians in Paris’s Latin Quarter in the mid-1800s were committed to their art, even if pursuing it meant living in poverty.

Have you performed Musetta before? 

This will be my first time.  

What do you love about this role?

There are so many things I love about her as a character! She is so dynamic. Of all the roles in Bohème, I believe Musetta has the greatest transformation. From her big entrance in Act II to her selfless act of love and kindness toward Mimi in Act IV, she really grows up and becomes an almost mother-like figure by the end.

Tell us about your experience with Opera Carolina.  

I had the pleasure of being a Resident Artist with Opera Carolina. I performed in the Opera Xpress production [Nanita in How Nanita Learned to Make Flan] and chorus. I also had the honor of competing in and receiving first place in the Opera Guild of Charlotte’s competition on the Belk Theater stage in 2018.

What are you doing to prepare for your role? 

Of course, there’s lots of practicing and coaching. But I have also been reading the book that gave Puccini his inspiration for the opera, Henri Murger’s La Vie de Bohème. 

How will you unwind while you’re in Charlotte?

I love the outdoors and look forward to taking advantage of the wonderful hiking and nature trails around Charlotte.

What’s your favorite role you’ve ever played?

There are so many amazing roles for soprano, but my favorite so far has been Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, but Musetta is quickly pushing her way to the top of the list!

What’s your dream role?

This is a hard choice; I have a few on my list.  But probably for me, it would be Susannah from [American composer Carlisle] Floyd’s Susannah.

If you weren’t an opera singer, what would you be doing?

I’d probably be a gardener or a florist.

What’s your favorite self-care ritual when you’re on the road? 

Nothing fancy, but hydration is important. Lots of water, fresh fruit and veggies and soothing tea.

What’s one fun fact about you? 

I am a thrift shopping queen! I love the hunt of finding unique or vintage clothes and decor.  I also love running and will be running my second marathon this spring.

What’s your superpower? 

Singing loudly! (Laughs.) Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m still trying to figure this one out. 

See Corey Lovelace in La Bohème at the Belk Theater Jan. 18, 19, 23 or 25. Tickets are available at carolinatix.org or 704.372.1000.