Over the many years that I’ve been doing this I’ve chatted with a lot of talented Mainers, but this time ’round I think there has never been a singer as well-traveled and as gifted as today’s artist, Kate Aldrich. She is a world-class (not to mention world-famous) mezzo-soprano opera singer, who was born and brought up right here in our fair state, and to list her accomplishments here would run for many column inches.

Suffice to say that if you have the opportunity to hear her live in concert, you should. And, as you probably have figured out by now, she will perform at five concerts with another famous Maine act, the DaPonte String Quartet, who will bring “Innerscapes” to Rockport, Wells, East Boothbay, Brunswick and Alna between Aug. 1 and 7. I had the chance to interview her on the 20th to learn a little more about the shows and what’s been happening in her life since we spoke 10 or so years ago.

Q: I understand that you’re going to be coming back up to Maine for some shows in early August.

Aldrich: Yup. Well, I’m actually already here in Maine.

Q: Oh, you are? I was told you were in Italy with your family now.

Aldrich: No, I got back a couple of days ago so I’m just working on music and visiting with family. So that’s great.

Q: What part of Maine do you come from?

Aldrich: I’m in Alna now but I’m from the Damariscotta area which is not far from Alna.

Q: Have you ever performed with the DaPonte String Quartet before?

Aldrich: No, I haven’t. I just know them from the fame of the group. And then I know some of the players because they live not far from my parents now, actually.

Q: About the program for these five performances, were the pieces picked out by the quartet?

Aldrich: It was somewhat of a collaboration. Of the pieces that we’re doing together, for example, there was one piece that they really wanted to do. That is a piece that I had designed to do, so we knew that one, for sure, from the get-go. But then we needed one other, either a song-cycle or a piece to do. We went back and forth trying to find the right piece that was going to work for the group’s members — the makeup of the actual group — as well as something that I could sing that they were interested in doing as well. And something that would program well together with the other pieces that we’d already agreed upon. It’s important to have some kind of continuity in a program.

Q: What are you doing musically speaking after these five performances?

Aldrich: I’m doing something actually right after with Chamberfest in Damariscotta. A one-concert thing. And then I go to Puerto Rico for a concert version of “Werther.” So, I’m keeping a blend of work and normal family things, like taking care of my daughter.

Q: Is it hard to find a balance between those two things — work and family? I mean, they are both time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Aldrich: Well, both things are incredibly rewarding in and of themselves and I love them. I love being a mom and I love what I do. I love performing and I love music, but it is complicated working out schedules. My husband is also a musician, so working out his schedule and my schedule and my daughter’s schedule at school, it’s definitely complicated. But we make it work, organizing chunks of time. So far it’s good, it’s just required us to have an open mind in how you are going to do things.

Q: How old is your daughter?

Aldrich: She’s 6.

Q: Would you like her to follow in your footsteps?

Aldrich: Of course. I mean, if that’s something that she wants to do. She’s very headstrong and she’s got very strong ideas of who she is and what her life is. She’s very interested in the performing arts, in theatrical stuff, and is very much a leader. Who knows how that will play out, in terms of her life.

Q: Now, opera is sung using many languages. Do you speak all the languages you sing?

Aldrich: Not all of them, obviously, but I do speak Italian. My husband is Italian, so I do speak that language. I also can get by pretty comfortably now in French. I sing a lot in France so that helps. German I have to sort of piece together conversations, but that’s about it.

Q: Well, what brought that to mind was watching the videos on your website and YouTube, and I couldn’t help but notice that not only do you have a fantastic voice but your acting ability is wonderful, as well. I mean, I don’t know what you’re singing or saying but it is, as the old saying goes, written all over your face.

Aldrich: Yeah, I’ve been told that I’m very emotive.

Q: And they would be right in that, too!

Aldrich: (Laughter)

Q: Is there anything you would like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Aldrich: I think they should come to the concert and see the DaPonte group and enjoy their musicianship and I’ll be joining them. Also, we’re going to be in some really unique venues, some of them are a little bit more traditional in terms of music and some of them are not. We’re going to be in a church in Alna, that should be a really special venue to listen to music. Yeah, so I think they should come see us.

Q: Is there anything we have not discussed that you thing we should before we finish up this interview?

Aldrich: The pieces that we’re doing are fascinating and I think repertoire-wise they’re pieces you don’t get to hear all the time.

Lucky Clark has spent 48 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.