Storm Large has had an unconventional career for a classical vocalist. She honed her skills on the West Coast rock club circuit, even making it almost to the top of a reality show, “Rock Star: Supernova,” in 2006. Now she tours the world as a vocalist with the genre-busting “little orchestra” Pink Martini. Large made her Carnegie Hall debut last year with The Detroit Symphony, singing Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht’s “The Seven Deadly Sins,” a role she’s reprising this week with the Louisville Orchestra.
“The Seven Deadly Sins” is the story of a young woman, Anna, who leaves her home in rural Louisiana to travel America and use her looks to build a fortune to benefit her family back home. Brecht’s bitterly ironic treatment of Anna, who is portrayed as “sisters”—two broken characters who make up one whole person—is juxtaposed against Weill’s beautiful composition.
WFPL’s Erin Keane sat down with Large earlier this week to talk about her versatile career.
On diversifying vocal performance:
“If you want to make a living, you have to just kind of do everything, and work with people who are better than you so you learn and you yourself become better. And you have to try things even if you think you’re going to suck.”
On performing with Pink Martini:
“It has been such a lovely departure from what I’m used to doing, which is being on stage and being the complete and unequivocal focal point. When I sing with Pink Martini I am part of a collection of amazing soloists, incredible musicians who are miles and years ahead of me in their education and their abilities. And so to travel and to tour with them and to perform with them has I think increased my musical abilities tenfold.
“And it’s relaxing for me. When you’re the lead singer, everyone thinks it’s so glamorous and so exciting and everyone makes a big deal about you. And it is fun, there are fun cool parts of it. But it is an immense amount of pressure when you are the focal point. You are the unicorn, everyone wants to grab your horn.”
On understanding Berthold Brecht’s writing in “The Seven Deadly Sins”:
“I didn’t understand what his perspective was until I understood that he absolutely loathed capitalism, was a die-hard Communist, and had nothing but vitriol for America and the capitalism that America was based on. But he also had a deep and dirty kink for our culture and our entertainment, especially pulp novels with dames and detectives and guns. He was attracted and repulsed.”