An interview with Amerie Jones
Kristin has been jet setting across the United States accomplishing some monumental things! I am so proud of my BFF that’s it’s unreal! There have been some huge changes and wonderful surprises that have taken place in her life; therefore, imagine my shock and delightful surprise of finding out where she has been when we had our phone interview.
Amerie: Hey, watcha doing?
Kristin: I’m getting ready to attend a meeting for the Foundation.
Amerie: Oh, Kristin Lewis International….?
Kristin: No, The Kristin Lewis Foundation… Where are you?
Amerie: Wait – what?! You’re here in Little Rock?! I just pulled up to Tokyo House and I’m about to eat my soul out…
Kristin: (giggle) Eat your soul out, huh…?
Amerie: Yes, I have committed myself to eating decadent Asian goodies…They have a sushi bar that’s great….
Kristin: I like sushi, but I’m not in the mood for it. I think that I’ll pick up a salad from some place close by, a little later. So, are we going to do our interview while you eat…?
Amerie: Yes, we are. In fact, while I’m walking in the restaurant now… Tell me about your debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York this past January? I was so proud of you for your performances! That’s been one major dream for your career since its beginning.
Kristin in Aida at the Met with Roberto Frontali, baritone, as Amonasro
Kristin: Yes! I received the good news of my singing the title role of Aida at the Metropolitan Opera two days before Christmas, which really made that the best Christmas gift ever. My singing on that stage was a long awaited milestone for me… a dream come true. So many of the greatest artists in the history of opera have walked the halls of that building and performed on that stage….and then the day came that I was requested to follow in their footsteps… I feel very grateful to God.
… and with tenor Yonghoon Lee as Radamès.
Amerie: Amen. I was so busy with work; therefore, I was one of the unlucky ones who had to miss it. In addition l could not attend your Dallas Opera debut in March for similar reasons. Total bummer… So, tell us about your Manon Lescaut….?
Kristin with Matthew Grills, tenor, as the dance master in
Manon Lescaut at the Dallas Opera Company.
Kristin: No worries. Manon Lescaut was written by the very famous Italian composer named Giacomo Puccini. The libretto was based on a French play written in 1731 called L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by Prévost. The opera, Manon Lescaut, was composed in the 1830’s and contains some of the most romantic music ever written. Debuting the title role of this masterpiece at the Dallas Opera was for me a magnificent honor.
In addition there’s an interesting fact that some people outside of the opera world may not know. Very quickly after being established, The Dallas Opera Company was nicknamed “La Scala West” because of its ability to attract top singers on an international level. In fact Maria Callas sang one of its initial fund raising concerts in 1957! She, among other stars, brought top-notch prestige to the company during its first few seasons. The Dallas Opera has long since moved from its original building, the State Fair Music Hall, but the structure still exists and provides the space for different types of events. The Dallas Opera performances now take place in the Windspear Performing Arts Center, where its legacy of great opera continues. This company has a very rich musical history; and I’m blessed to have been a part of this legacy.
Amerie: Wow! Congratulations! That’s cool information….
Kristin: Some of the magnificent people that graced the Dallas Opera stage back then were Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Alfredo Krauss, and Giuseppe Di Stefano. A young and very talented Franco Zeffirelli built the first sets for the company….and soon followed were many other leading figures who added to the prestige of the Dallas Opera Stage. My experience with this company was glorious; and I have fallen in love with the city of Dallas.
Kristin Lewis in Manon Lescaut at the Dallas Opera Company.
Amerie: What else did you experience while in Dallas…? What else made you fall in love with the city? When I attended seminary at Southern Methodist University, I couldn’t really enjoy the city because of my study load. My books were my boyfriends….
Kristin: (giggles)… while at SMU, your books were your boyfriends…?
Kristin: Ok…well…before leaving Dallas, I sang during a Sunday worship service at the Potter’s House…
Amerie: What?! You got to meet the Bishop!!!
Kristin: Yes, and immediately following the service, I had lunch with Bishop TD Jakes and his lovely wife, First Lady Serita Jakes. She is such an amazing woman. It was an incredible experience. And speaking of incredible experiences, another reason why I am in Little Rock is to discuss a multi-organizational partnership between the Kristin Lewis Foundation, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Opera in the Rock, the Wildwood Performing Arts Center and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in a very exciting, future project. Being at home in Little Rock is always good for my soul, and now there is more exciting work for me to do here as well.
Amerie: So what are you gonna be up to after you leave Little Rock…?
Kristin: Well, immediately after returning to Europe I will begin preparing for some concerts in Talinn, Estonia and Vienna, Austria; and then June, I’ll be performing at The Avenches Opera Festival in Avenches, Switzerland. I’ll be singing the title role of Aida, but not in the form of a traditionally staged opera. It’ll be more like a concert…
Amerie: Oh that sounds neat!!!
Kristin takes her first bow at the Met
Kristin: Yes, it is actually. It will be an outdoor event that takes place in an ancient Roman arena. Those are always full, rich experiences. I can’t wait. So… what are we going to do when we meet up later?
Amerie: The same thing that we try to do every day….
Kristin: What’s that…?
Amerie: Try and take over the world….
Kristin: (giggle)…Great plan! …
Amerie: The power of the pink and green*! The 20 pearls that rocked the world, baby! I am a disciple of Ethel Hedgeman Lyle – the founder of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated!!
Kristin: That reminds me… I need to pay my sorority dues….
Amerie: So there you have it folks! Kristin Lewis, back home in the “Rock Town” and constantly working to give back to the community! Thanks, Kristin!
About the contributor: Amerie Jones
Amerie Jones is a cradle Methodist and pastor of The Method, a Wesleyan society where youth and young adults holistically use their faith to be the best they can be body, mind, and soul. Born and raised in Arkansas, Jones is not only a local pastor in The United Methodist Church, but also a journalist, a producer for the awarding winning radio show,“The Method:Real Talk for Real People,” and a published author who has had work displayed in the world famous Bridwell Library. Jones is the face of vital ministry of a world-renowned school of theology and has a Bachelor’s of Science from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas and a Masters of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.