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The Empowered and Fearless Victoria Wefer, 8/01/2009
Victoria Wefer
by Suzette Banzo

"It ain't over till the fat lady sings" is a phrase we hear repeatedly. While it's often said at the defining moment when all hopes are gone, what it has also done along the way was demean and stereotype a group of gifted women who are serious artists. Victoria Wefer, a beautiful, well-rounded and talented woman joins the ranks of an evolving new image within Opera, challenging the perception of how a serious opera singer should look and replacing it with how a curvaceous, vivacious artist should sound. Empowered...Fearless.

Suzette: When did you first discover that you had a voice for Opera?

Victoria Wefer: When I was fifteen, I was singing in my high school choir and a girlfriend let me know about a competition for singers and urged me to participate.  My choir director pointed out that this was an operatic competition so I would need to get a voice teacher in order to be as good as required.  I began training and felt the calling; I never turned back.  Suzette, my life changed dramatically after that contest; I pursued music full force.

Suzette:  How well did you do in the contest?

Victoria Wefer: (laughing) I did not win the competition but out of 30 contestants, I placed 25.  This was my first time and I competed against very seasoned singers.  I designed my gown and if you can believe it...I still have it!

Suzette: That is so endearing; what was the gown like?
Victoria Wefer: It looked like Cinderella's wedding dress, white and puffy with beading everywhere including beading on the white satin shoes. I drew it, picked out the fabric and took it to a local seamstress who put it all together. In my mind, an opera singer was a princess.  I was so shocked to see the look on the other contestants' faces because they were all wearing casual attire. I think I was more disappointed about that than not winning the $5,000 prize.

Suzette:  How funny, what a visual! Where do you usually shop for your gowns now?
Victoria Wefer:   My favorite place to go is the garment district in NYC.  If you find a gown you desire is not in stock, almost all the stores can order it and they will tailor it to fit your shape. They cater to a broad range of sizes. I shopped there even when I was a size 24.

Suzette: What is the most exciting city where you have performed?

Victoria Wefer:  Monte Carlo took my breath away.   The exposure to the French is an amazing place and I recommend it to all. The people love music; they love opera and cherish their artists. There is so much to do and see. You will have a wonderful time even if you have champagne taste on a Pepsi budget. Everyone I met was so friendly and gracious.  I had the privilege of being the only American singer selected to sing in a concert at Princess Caroline's villa in Monte Carlo.  What a night!  It represented so very much for me. Never was I so grateful to my mother for investing in my etiquette lessons. I experienced "white glove" treatment with everything. It was over the top and splendid and I loved it.



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