IN BETWEEN Mozart and Rossini operas (as Zerlina in “Don Giovanni” and Rosina in “Barber of Seville”), American mezzo-soprano Karin Mushegain decided it would do no harm to reach out to wider audiences by singing in PC games like “Heroes VII.”
As far as she could figure out, “Heroes VII” is the first PC game using opera music. She worked with composers Paul Romero and Rob King, who thought of opera in computer games after watching “La Boheme” in Los Angeles when Mushegain was only 15.
King was aware opera was not for everyone, and the computer company had mixed feelings.
After weeks of pleading with the company boss and a lot of jokes, King was able to convince the firm. The plan was considered with one contingency: that there would be mixes of the music without the vocal as an option for the user to switch in between.
“One of the artists of the company came up with a cute little icon/button of an opera singer with her mouth open and closed in the second option menu of the game and then this allowed the user to turn off the vocal on the track,” said Mushegain. “We had both versions streaming so you could switch between the two. I remember being pretty nervous when that game was released. But it all worked out and the majority of the game fans really enjoyed it.”
But even as Mushegain enjoy this occasional singing diversion, for her there is nothing like the excitement of performing live on stage than recording songs for video games.
All set to sing the title role in Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” (Cinderella) at Meralco Theater on Aug. 15, Mushegain said there was nothing like singing for a live audience where she got to savor the moment and enjoying the beautiful ebb and flow of energy she shared with the audience.
In the studio, she performs for a recording machine from which she doesn’t share live energy.
She told a music reporter: “When you sing and give everything to your audience, you feel their energy going back to you. Now, this doesn’t happen in a studio. You can’t take back mistakes, you can’t stop and start, you can’t worry about it being perfect, and I love that.
“It only takes us a few hours to record the three tracks I perform on. On the other hand, I rehearse two or three weeks for an opera before we ever have an audience. Now you can see the time-commitment difference there.”
As an aside to that interview, she announced: “I’m off to the Philippines to sing the title role in the Rossini comic opera. This is one of the roles I sing the most, and I absolutely adore this opera. I’ve never been to the Philippines, so I’m a bit nervous! But I’ll be performing with a dear friend who is from Manila, so that’ll make things easier. And no plans to be in the studio right now, but I do love it, so I hope I find myself there again in the not too distant future.”
The “dear friend” is top international Filipino opera performer and tenor Arthur Espiritu, who will play Don Ramiro.
Noel Azcona will play the stepfather. Byeong Im Park and Myramae Meneses are the stepsisters. Other performers: Tanya Corcuerro and Ronnie Marquez
Mushegain was called an “excellent singing actress” by the Seattle Times for her Angelina in “Cenerentola.”
Another American critic described her Cinderella as “charming, expressive, superbly sung and quite expressive. This time the fast passages were no mere exercises for showing off; they were emotionally expressive. Her closing aria was dashed off with gleeful exuberance. Equally, her acting was utterly believable and pulled the listener into her adventure.”
For tickets to Cenerentola, call 7827164, 5763132 or 09065104270, 8919999.