An opera performer talks about style.
Opera Columbus' Artistic Director Peggy Kriha Dye has traveled around since receiving her high school and undergraduate diplomas in Minnesota. She went to New York, received a master's degree in music from the Manhattan School of Music and studied at The Juilliard School's opera center. Today she is a busy single mom, still traveling at times to perform and enjoying her local work, as well.
“I was asked to help with the educational programming when I wasn't singing out of town,” she says, of starting her work with CAPA five years ago. “I fell in love with this side of the curtain and was lucky to have the opportunity to evolve as a leader. Three years ago I was named artistic director. There is nowhere else I want to be right now.”
Dye's performance credits are lengthy. She created the role of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire at the San Francisco Opera, and has repeated the role with the Pittsburgh Symphony and The Washington National Opera. She also has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Shanghai Opera, the Salzburg Festival and many others.
Have you always had great style, or is that something you developed as an opera performer? Style is something I've learned a lot about by being in entertainment and around designers. Because of my profession, I've had the opportunity to sing at many events and there is an expectation to stand out. Often, I have had designers lend me clothes to wear to showcase their work. I am also fortunate to be around wonderful patrons that have been amazing guides to me.
Being a native of the Midwest, how has this region of the country affected your aesthetic sense? I like the simple nature of how I've grown up. I've learned to appreciate simple but beautiful things.
You've traveled far and wide since graduating from high school in Minnesota, attending Juilliard and then working in San Francisco. How have those experiences influenced your sense of style? Traveling has taught me that there are many ways to do things and it has given me permission to not be concerned about fitting in. I used to think style was simply fitting in and looking like the people I was around, as opposed to expression. In Europe I've noticed that what I used to think was “dressing up,” is simply dressing. Even the children are always, what I consider, put together. I've learned that I don't need a special occasion to look my best.
If you could encourage Central Ohio residents to do one thing regarding their personal style, what would you tell them? Dare to be what you think is beautiful, whether you are at the game or the theatre.
You often wear black, but what is your favorite color to wear on stage? Red. Nothing pops from the stage more than red.
What can you share that you've learned about costuming that you have translated into your own style? I tailor all my clothes. When I shop, I factor in the price of tailoring, whether it's a casual piece or a bit fancier. I don't take it personal if it doesn't fit right off the rack; in fact, I assume it won't. Like a good costume, when something fits well, it's as good as the garment itself.
What is your favorite look for the upcoming holiday season? I love a good sparkle, from my clothes to my shoes to a hint in my makeup.
What do you wear around home on a rainy, cold weekend? My huge Minnesota sweatshirt, jeans and thick socks.