In partnership with Opera Memphis, Germantown Performing Arts Center is proud to present Sounds of My Life, an intimate and original career retrospective of international opera star Marie-Stéphane Bernard. Through arias and songs, the one-woman performance will take the audience on a journey through Bernard’s life as a vocal artist. The musical story focuses on the dedication and passion needed to achieve life’s most important dreams.
Bernard will perform in the Duncan-Williams Performance Hall on Saturday, March 11, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at the GPAC website or by calling the box office at (901)751-7500.
Using her favorite music from her many performances, Bernard wrote the story for Sounds of My Life with Jerre Dye, Chicago-based director, librettist, and University of Memphis graduate. She will be joined onstage by Paris-based musical arranger/director Karim Medjebeur.
Dye calls the performance both personal and universal. “This deeply eclectic song cycle combines elements of traditional cabaret and innovative storytelling to create a unique theatrical universe like none other. Sounds of My Life is a musical odyssey of the mind, body, and spirit,” he said.
Bernard’s inspiration was to create a performance that she herself would love to see. Her goal is to share beautiful music – including arias, operettas, and French chansons – and bring audiences on her life’s journey of discovery.
As a young girl in her native France, Bernard attended a school for budding young artists. She studied the violin, but was astonished to learn from a mother of a friend that her voice could be her true calling. The mother was German operatic soprano Hildegard Behrens, who took the young Bernard to her first opera rehearsal.
“I got the shock of my life,” Bernard recalls. “It was my musical baptism – I was in awe!”
After deciding to pursue opera as a career, Bernard moved to Italy to study the craft at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. To hone her skills, she took master classes in Italy, the United States, and France. From a small part in Rigoletto at age 16, her stellar international career has grown to include performances in some of the most prestigious opera houses around the world, including Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, La Fenice in Venice, and Reggio di Torino, Massimo in Palermo, Opéra Comique and Theâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. In the US, she headlined operas at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and Opera Memphis, where she sang in L’Heure Espagnole by Ravel and The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart.
She has called Memphis home for the past 12 years and is excited to share the journey of her life in musical form on the GPAC stage.
“I am happy to debut Sounds of My Life at GPAC,” she said. “The acoustics are great and the GPAC audience is always wonderful, welcoming, and warm. It feels right to start this new musical journey here!”