Canadian soprano Magali Simard-Galdes, just 26, will have her first leading role when she plays Roxane in Cyrano. “Roxane is a dream role in the theatrical world,” she said. “Like Juliet, she’s almost mythical.”

When James Meena approached her about the role, she knew the story (“Everyone relates; no one wants to be rejected”) but not the music. But hearing it for the first time, she said, “It’s easy to listen to. It’s lyrical, and there are some great vocal lines. Bernard kept it faithful to the original.”

Plus, it’s easy to get caught up in the romance. “Cyrano is willing to sacrifice his own happiness to make Roxanne happy,” she said.

This may be the biggest spotlight Simard-Galdes has ever found herself in, but she’s been working toward this her whole life. She’s an accomplished violinist who began playing at age 4. She’s also a former gymnast who’s fluent in French and English and conversant in Italian and German.

This won’t be Simard-Galdes’ first trip to North Carolina. She spent two summers, when she was 13 and 14, studying violin at the University of N.C. School of the Arts. That’s also where she learned to speak English. “Twelve years later, I’m making my American debut back in North Carolina,” she marveled.