FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Alaska is a dramatic place in the sense that it prefers the extremes of light and dark, of hot and cold. Long winters break for a few weeks of spring before summer’s fury pelts heat and sunlight at those who live at the crown of the world.
Bre Valdez is an Alaskan musician from Two Rivers currently in her sophomore year studying opera at SUNY Potsdam in New York. Under the stage name Lupyn, Valdez also writes and performs her own music. (Courtesy Bre Valdez)
Bre Valdez is an Alaskan musician from Two Rivers currently in her sophomore year studying opera at SUNY Potsdam in New York. Valdez seems to have taken inspiration from her home state and into her life. Opera singers are purveyors of drama, filling concert halls with the love stories of Puccini, the buffas of Mozart, and the tragedies of Verdi.
“I have been cast in the chorus of my university’s opera, and currently they are doing Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas,” Valdez says during a phone interview. “It’s been really, really exciting. I’m also covering for the role of Belinda.” Dido and Aeneas is a tragedy involving a Trojan hero, a Carthaginian monarch, infidelity, and an infamous death scene. Clearly, opera is not wanting for drama.
Despite this, opera is not Valdez’s only musical pursuit. Valdez, under the stage name Lupyn, also writes and performs her own music. Influenced by what she calls “gothica”, her music is orchestral and haunting; the accompanying video for her single “Fantasy” featuring stark themes of black and white.
“A lot of my pop music is influenced by many different great artists, the first of which being Evanescence,” she says, adding, “Within Temptation is another gothica influence. I also love a lot of music from the 1980’s. I’m a big fan of Phil Collins.”
Valdez mentions other artists such as Celine Dion and Toni Braxton, and says she currently works with one of her idols, Clive Farrington from the group When In Rome.
Opera, however, is a demanding discipline. “I use my classical training in everything that I do musically every single day, it informs a lot of my foundations and my technical technique,” Valdez says. However, keeping technique polished is only one part of being an opera singer. Becoming a professional requires performance, advanced schooling, and ambition. Balancing opera and pop careers seems like a daunting task, but Valdez seems to be up to the challenge.
“I would really love to promote my music with a tour. But it can be difficult trying to organize live events and also keep up with my schoolwork,” Valdez explains. “I can’t really see justifying taking a break from school unless I’m picked up by a label.” She mentions that she and her development team have fielded some soft inquiries from labels such as Capitol Records and Atlantic Records.
She says she still wants to maintain a balance between her schooling and her career, however. She is benefitted, she explains, in that opera singers do not reach their prime until their thirties. This allows her to pursue both careers simultaneously.
Valdez hopes that someday, her hard work will bring her back to Fairbanks to perform for her hometown.
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