Personalities / Insights

Q&A: Heat TV's Jason Jackson

The man behind the mic talks shop and dubs Chris Bosh "king of the video bomb."

December 18, 2012


Jason Jackson 

Seasoned sportscaster Jason Jackson has documented the ups and downs of the Miami Heat organization for the last nine years. A major up came earlier this year, when the scrutinized Big Three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh) and their stellar teammates were crowned NBA Champions. Being a part of the historic title win was surely a highlight of Jackson’s decorated career—which has already included Emmy wins for his Inside the Heat series, hosting The Jax Show radio program, and anchoring stints on ESPN. “I am blessed to be one of the members of the franchise that was here in 2006, so this is my second team championship experience … I am honored to be the messenger who delivers this wondrous tale,” said Jackson of his work. Here, we get more insight on Jackson’s relationship with the team and its unpredictable players. 

What are you looking forward to this season?
JASON JACKSON: The new journey with new members. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has hammered home the message that this is a different run with a different team. He doesn’t want his team to think anything will be the same, or that the title will be handed to them. I am looking forward to seeing how the team challenges itself nightly, while integrating new members such as Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. The games and cities for the most part are the same, but the stories that emerge from the contests always have their own DNA. I am looking forward to chronicling them all.

What is the key to success in sports reporting?
JJ: The answer is simple and complex and provided in a single word: preparation. While in school, you have to intern at a paper, magazine, radio, or TV station to learn the building blocks of the craft. After landing a gig, never stop reading, listening, and probing the subject matter. I have been doing this for over 20 years, but I still watch every show back every night to make sure I am growing and learning.

Who's your favorite player to interview? 
JJ: Right now Chris Bosh is my favorite. He is funny and thoughtful and expansive and insightful all in the same interview, let alone day-to-day. He is also the king of the video bomb. Some [bombs] are better than others, but nothing tops a special night in Milwaukee that the true Heat fans will never forget.

We're intrigued. 
JJ: The Heat had struggled to get past the Bucks all season, but finally did. I was conducting a post-game interview with LeBron James when Chris Bosh came crashing into the interview, which is commonplace with James, Bosh, and Wade. Bosh took it to another level when his silliness included dropping one of our favorite expletives, which begins with the letter S.  I had to pause and apologize to the viewers while James was doubled over laughing. Bosh felt terrible but it was funny.

How do you spend your downtime in the off season?
JJ: Most off seasons are filled with golf at The Biltmore Hotel, but this one was extra special. This year I was able to take my family to The Baseball Hall of Fame. My favorite baseball player of all time, Barry Larkin, was inducted into the Hall, so we made the trek to Cooperstown, New York for the enshrinement.

Do you have any Miami haunts?
JJ: Favorite music venue, The Stage. For food, The Grove Spot, Morton’s steakhouse in Coral Gables, and the Ale House in Doral and Coral Gables. For cigars, Cuban Crafters and El Clique. To chill out, The News Lounge, Four Seasons, and Tobacco Road.

What keeps you sane on the road?
JJ: I am a Blackberry guy through-and-through, but I have to have my iPod Touch for movies, music, and Words with Friends. 

—Liana Lozada

 

Nicole Henry Sings Her Way to Stardom

This Miami-based jazz star is belting her way straight to stardom.

December 10, 2012


With legions of fans, Henry has been called a “pop-soul superwoman” by
The New York Times

For singer Nicole Henry, the desire to perform is one of her earliest memories. “I remember, after watching episodes of Fame, looking in the mirror and just saying, ‘I want to be onstage,’” she relates with a laugh. Luckily for the stunning chanteuse, the stage clamors for her with equal vigor. Her impressive voice, between contralto and mezzo-soprano, is startling in its power and range; Henry deploys her considerable talent with such finesse, however, that she is capable of both core-rattling belts and the sweetest of melodies. This chimeric quality has earned her legions of fans and even accolades from The New York Times, which called her a “pop-soul superwoman.” Since 2004, Henry has released five albums; her latest, An Evening with Nicole Henry: Music of the 70s, is due out in January. “With this album, the idea was really to open up my repertoire,” Henry says. “I thought the ’70s was perfect because I was raised on music from [then]; my parents played that for me as I was growing up.” This month, December 15, Miami audiences can hear her perform live at a holiday concert at Pinecrest Gardens.

Although Henry was raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, it was only when she arrived at the University of Miami that she began to seriously consider singing as her calling. As a member of the university’s gospel choir, she was asked to be a background singer for musician Billy Mann at a show in Miami Beach. “To see that this is his job; this is his career! That was the first time I thought that this was something that I could do.”

Since then, Henry’s career has taken her everywhere from Japan (where she was crowned Best New Jazz Artist of 2004) to Russia (from where she returned just days before our interview). But Miami continues to be home. “I started making a really good living in South Florida, and here I am [more than] 10 years later.” For Henry, nothing beats playing to a hometown crowd either: “People here have seen me grow. To have that kind of support, friendship, and love coming to you onstage is irreplaceable,” she says.

And it’s not just the professional life that she enjoys: “I really love living in Miami Beach. It’s peaceful to come home, breathe in the humidity, and jog on the sand. I just have sun in my veins.”

But Henry has never forgotten her childhood ambitions: “I see myself hopefully becoming more of a household name and expanding my reach into mainstream audiences,” she muses when asked about her future career. “What I love about singing is giving people the opportunity to celebrate feeling. Any time I can encourage somebody to [do that]—whether it’s feeling good or feeling bad—to celebrate feeling is to celebrate being a human, and life.” Nicole Henry Holiday Concert, December 15, at Pinecrest Gardens/Banyan Bowl, 11000 Red Road, Pinecrest, 877-496-8499

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAN SALEH

—juliet zion

 

Noel Fisher Talks Twilight and More

The actor takes on a huge franchise while starring in a hit Showtime series.

November 15, 2012

Between his part in the latest installment of the multimillion-dollar franchise Twilight and his guest-turned-recurring role on Showtime’s hit series Shameless, Noel Fisher has his hands full. “I love this job, I wouldn’t do anything else,” says the Vancouver-born 28-year-old, seemingly smiling on the other end of the phone.

Although Vladimir, the ancient Romanian vampire that he’ll portray alongside Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, is starkly different from Shameless’ Mickey Milkovich, a sexually confused and violent teen, Fisher plays each of his characters with a raw sensibility. This might be due to the passion he feels for his job, and the excitement he gets from taking on difficult roles. “The most interesting characters to play, as an actor, are the characters that have really difficult things to deal with,” says Fisher, “I guess that’s what acting is, trying to show the struggles in people’s lives and how they act and try to overcome those struggles.”

Here, he discusses Twilight, his passion for sci-fi and the upcoming season of Shameless.

Congratulations on your role on Twilight! It’s a huge franchise, how does it feel to be part of it?
NOEL FISHER: I’m a big sci-fi junkie. Fantasy, action—I really love all that kind of stuff. Playing a 3,000-year-old vampire who is hell-bent on revenge is pretty perfect for me. I was really happy.

Twilight has catapulted the career of many actors who are now major stars. How was working with them?
NF: It’s really lovely when you get to actually meet all these people, and they’re just regular people and they have a great sense of humor and they kind of just want to have a good time. They really do a wonderful job of creating a good atmosphere on set. You wake up every morning being [like], ‘awesome, I get to go to work today.’

Your role on Shameless has been turned into a recurring one. What can you tell me about the upcoming season?
NF: I’m really excited for everybody to get to see season three of Shameless. Selfishly, just for myself, I’m really excited that fans get to know a little bit more about Mickey, because he’s kind of been this peripheral character up until now. He’s this strange, closeted, violent person who you don’t really know that much about, besides his reactionary way of dealing with life. And I think it’s going to be really interesting for fans to get more of a glimpse as to why he is the way he is.

I’m excited!
NF: You’re not going to be disappointed. There are some really, really crazy plot points that are going to throw you for a loop and spin the whole thing around. I don’t know anything else that has the ability to take you on such a roller coaster of emotions that you’re hysterically laughing in one scene and then in the very next scene you’re sobbing.

—anna ben yehuda
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOE DEANGELIS PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Young Gallerist Turns Publisher

Bolstered by the launch of a new quarterly publication, the forward-thinking Wynwood gallerist continues to spark cultural dialogue in Miami.

November 01, 2012


Johnson-Milewski at Gallery Diet in Wynwood

Inside Nina Johnson-Milewski’s high-ceilinged office behind the exhibition area at Gallery Diet—one of the most avant-garde art spaces in Wynwood—there’s a sculpture on the wall evoking ship rope, except it’s actually a hollow tube of burlap hand-sewn on the bias, with threads meticulously removed to create a plaid effect. Surely it’s quizzical to some, but the piece, created by Christy Gast, speaks to Johnson-Milewski’s unwavering devotion to showcasing challenging, conceptual art. “For me, art is about opening up new perspectives and ways of seeing,” she says, “and I like how conceptual artists do so in the most intuitive and often inexplicable ways.”

While she’s still young—turning 28 this month— Johnson-Milewski’s been involved in the art scene since she was just a teenager. At 15, she interned at the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery on the outskirts of the Design District, assimilating the inner workings of the art world and realizing that she’d rather run a gallery than be an artist. She eventually earned her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (an institution affiliated with Tufts University), then returned to Miami and joined Steinbaum as assistant director.

But at only 22, she struck out on her own, spurred by a desire to show artists dealing with conceptual practices, and opened Gallery Diet in 2007 (which currently has a roster of 12 artists). Ever since, she’s become ubiquitous on the scene. “I responded to what I felt was a void in the art community,” she says. “A common thread with the artists I show is that they don’t have a particular medium (or, for lack of a better word, ‘look’) that they always turn to. They really work based on an idea, and the resulting object is a method to describe, or even question, that idea.”

Earlier this past summer, Johnson-Milewski launched The Miami Rail, a quarterly publication covering art, culture, and ancillary topics from an unabashedly critical perspective. The impetus came when Phong Bui, founder of The Brooklyn Rail, was in town to give a talk at Lester’s, a literary café/cultural hub in Wynwood owned by Nina’s husband, Daniel Milewski. Attendees asked why there wasn’t a similar publication in Miami, and Bui teasingly told her, “Why don’t you start The Miami Rail?” Johnson-Milewski took the question seriously enough to snag a $26,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to assemble a local periodical (with a no-frills, black-and-white design on newsprint with a color cover) that pushes forward intellectual and cultural dialogue in Miami.

“Miami often suffers from brain drain, but that’s in large part due to a notion that there’s a general public here who can’t handle something that’s intellectually rigorous,” she points out. “But if you do offer something that is intellectually rigorous, you set the bar high, and then people will raise their own reference points to meet you there. That way, you can build a real audience.”

—omar sommereyns
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GESI SCHILLING

 

Madonna's Mark on Miami

A look back at the city as it was when she called it home.

August 29, 2012


Madonna gets friendly with music mogul David Geffen at the Delano (with Ingrid Casares in the background), during the Underworld book-release party, 1995

On November 19 and 20, Madonna will return to the American Airlines Arena on her MDNA Tour, and no doubt the sold-out concerts will dazzle with a mixture of artistry, politicizing, and plenty of sex. The latter, in fact, is what brought Em to the Magic City on February 14, 1992, when she and her entourage checked into the 16th floor of The Alexander hotel for a six-day sexual exploration to be photographed for the book she’d release later that year—Sex. For the notorious tome, Madonna frolicked in the buff at the Brickell Avenue home of Burdines’s then-president, James E. Gray; four months later, she bought it and became one of us.

It was a turning point for Miami—the queen of pop had deemed our city sexy enough to live in, catapulting our image as a sultry celebrity hot spot. Her nightly romps at legendary haunts such as Paragon, Warsaw, and Liquid—with her local personal accessory, Ingrid Casares, in tow—are still fodder for tour-guide spiels, as is her onetime co-ownership of the recently defunct Blue Door at the Delano. In this image, taken on November 25, 1995, she’s kissy-kissy at the Delano with music mogul David Geffen. He and other notables had flown in earlier that week for the opening of Liquid, and stayed for the book signing of (then-Mrs. Calvin) Kelly Klein’s Underworld—a sexified photographic ode to unmentionables. Another Madonna influence? In that golden age of South Beach, all roads seemingly led back to her.

Madonna left the Miami scene in 2000 to become Madge: stale, faux-Brit Mrs. Ritchie. Now Guy-less, she surprised us this year at Ultra Music Festival looking for “Molly.” Regardless of whether she found her, in Miami, the party still goes on.

—KEN RIVADENEIRA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MANNY HERNANDEZ PHOTO COLLECTION

 

Q&A: Alonzo Mourning’s Second Calling

The NBA legend and humanitarian discusses the struggles and strides of his eponymous foundation for Miami’s youth.

July 24, 2012

Alonzo Mourning is no stranger to the Miami spotlight. He was integral to the Miami Heat’s 2006 NBA championship win, and continues to be a familiar face as the team’s vice president of player development. Keeping Mourning and wife Tracy even more busy are their fundraising efforts for the Alonzo Mourning Charities, a non-profit that Mourning founded in 1997, shortly after he was drafted by the Miami Heat. Not only has the charity raised millions for youth programs, it also helped the Overtown Youth Center (OYC) get off the ground in 2003. For Mourning, who spent much of his young life in a group home and foster care, the center’s mission to provide mentorship and educational enrichment in a safe, fun environment hits close to home.     

You’ve had a busy year, with the Heat winning the championship and your annual One Night…One World fundraiser for OYC happening this month.
ALONZO MOURNING: Yes, it has been, on many levels. There are many issues I'm passionate about and that keeps me heavily involved, whether it’s with the Heat organization, supporting our community and national leaders, traveling around the country speaking to kids, or the ongoing work with the OYC to help combat the many challenges we face. Things will continue to be busy because there is so much more work to be done.

How does winning an NBA championship as a player compare to winning one as an employee of the organization?
AM: Winning that last game as a player on the court is unparalleled, but as a team effort, that feeling is felt and shared by the coaches, the staff, and the whole community. It’s a wonderful thing.

How do you use your star power to help places like OYC?
AM: It’s about bringing awareness to an issue in whatever way I can with the resources I have. The truth is, anyone can be a star in his or her own community, or as a spokesperson for a cause they believe in. In a community plagued by conditions such as unemployment rates as high as 22 percent, 20 percent dropout rates, and only a 63 percent graduation rate, it is imperative that the community, as a whole, channel its attention to youth residing in Overtown. The OYC is working around the clock to combat these issues, but we need support.

What have been the biggest challenges?
AM: Our biggest challenge has been trying to create a positive effect on the entire family unit; trying to get parents to buy into the belief that our program does works if the adults in the lives of the children would embrace whole-heartedly those higher standards of educational discipline, higher standards of family involvement, and higher standards of health and wellness.

What sort of long-term progress are you working toward?
AM: An expansion of our program model to provide services to a larger portion of Miami so that kids in neighboring communities, that are also in need of support, can also have a fighting chance to succeed.

Aside from donating funds, how can Miamians get involved?
AM: By becoming a mentor; by advocating for academic equality regardless of economic status, race, or ethnicity; by voting on those issues that impact quality education; and by creating awareness for issues among friends, family, co-workers, and their community.

Is it difficult to balance your personal life, charity work, and career?
AM: Having a great and fulfilling career and family life has allowed me to focus on an area that now needs my attention more than ever, the OYC. It is integral to so many children and families in the community. The experiences we provide and the transformation that we have made will clearly impact generations to come by providing a college tour experience for both students and parents, scholarships to first generation college students, assisting students with meaningful internships, changing the behavior patterns of youth coming from abusive families so that it doesn’t become a vicious cycle, and transitioning students from below reading averages to above reading averages to take them to the next level.  

—LIANA LOZADA

 

Matthew Sherman: Miami's Juice King

For the owner of the beach’s vibrant juice spot Jugofresh, the only dogma is that there is no dogma.

July 02, 2012

Sherman at Jugofresh, plating a spoonful of Medicina—coconut oil, bee pollen, and coconut sugar

It’s 20 minutes until closing time at Jugofresh, a gleaming new juice bar just off West Avenue, and the line is nearly out the door. Owner Matthew Sherman isn’t breaking a sweat; instead, he’s vibing to vintage funk and soul tracks, and breezily explaining to a few members of the thirsty mob just how his meticulous cold-press techniques make his organic, enzyme-packed juice blends, smoothies, and small plates so much tastier and more nutritious than what they’ll find at dozens of other juice spots around the city.

“For a lot of people, eating healthy is a chore,” says Sherman. “It doesn’t have to be this monumental, arduous task. We’re trying to change that by providing an environment where you can come hang out, listen to some beats, and have a good time.”

His new role as a helpful juice sommelier makes sense when you consider his background as a sports exercise psychology consultant and holistic life and nutrition coach. However, there was a point in time when the trim, vibrant, 32-year-old Sherman was seemingly allergic to anything healthy. “I once weighed 360 pounds,” he says, pulling up a photo on his cell phone. “I used to order triple-cheese pizza, sit the box on my belly, and just go at it.”

Various fad diets and exercise plans helped him to lose much of that weight— but with one nasty side effect: He felt even worse than before. “I was having muscle problems, my weight fluctuated a lot, and I smelled bad. It was just gross,” Sherman says, grimacing. “It was only when I stopped reading books on diets, stopped judging myself, and simply started eating what made me feel good that I really slimmed down and got healthy—and juice was a huge part of that.”

Still, it wasn’t as if a juice bar was originally a part of his plan. First, he was juicing at home for himself. Then he started juicing for coaching clients. Before long, they were recommending friends and friends of friends. “The next thing you know, I had kale on my ceiling,” laughs Sherman. “My place was a total mess. I called up a friend from New York to come help me, and we started working out of a catering kitchen.”

They soon outgrew that kitchen as well, thus leading to Jugofresh. If the pattern holds, it might not be long before they need a bigger space. In the meantime, Sherman’s pleased to have a fun outlet to help people take a more relaxed approach to healthier eating, and especially drinking.

“Ninety-five percent of my diet is fruits and vegetables, but if someone shows up in a loincloth with a spear and a pig on it, I’m not afraid to throw down,” says Sherman. “My only dogma about eating is that I have no dogma. Feeling guilty about yourself and what you’re eating doesn’t help in the long run, and I know that from experience. I just pay attention to my body. If you listen closely, it’ll tell you just what it needs.”

 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JIM ARBOGAST

—Jason Fitzroy Jeffers

 

Tennis Phenom: Alex Bogomolov Jr.

The roller-coaster years of the Miami-raised tennis star have him poised to peak at this month’s Sony Ericsson Open on Key Biscayne.

March 12, 2012

Bogomolov on the court last July

Alex Bogomolov Jr., the Russian-born, Miami-raised tennis player who arrived in town as an 11-year-old, attended Sunset Senior High School, and currently resides in Boca Raton, has just triumphed yet again. The previous night, he defeated a fierce rival in Serbia’s Viktor Troicki during the Apia International Sydney tennis tournament in Australia. “I lost to him in a three-hour match in Moscow that tied for the longest of the year,” says Bogomolov. “It made this match very tough and emotional, so winning it was a really important way to begin 2012.”

Though poised for success, the path to this moment has not exactly been smooth. “I was always working hard, but it just wasn’t working out before. Things are finally taking the right course,” he says. Last year, Bogomolov was the most improved player of the year on the ATP World Tour after rising from a ranking of 166th to 34th.

Along the way, Bogomolov has had to overcome the glare of the spotlight for other reasons: a very public divorce from professional tennis player-turned-Playboy model Ashley Harkleroad, and a temporary suspension by the International Tennis Federation for using asthma medication that contained the banned performance enhancer salbutamol. On top of it all, a wrist surgery left him wondering if he’d ever play professional tennis again.

“Everything was shitty. I couldn’t even hit a backhand, and it was so discouraging,” says Bogomolov, who took up work as a tennis director at Gotham Tennis Academy in New York in 2009. “I felt like I had so much left in me, and I was praying for a second chance. Then, one night, I came home and my fiancée told me she was pregnant. I felt so happy and at peace with this new idea of being a father, and the next day, I was hitting backhands full-on. The pain didn’t matter. It was something I had to start liking. After that, everything got serious.”

That journey out of the darkness brought Bogomolov back to South Florida. He and his new family purchased a home in Boca Raton last August and couldn’t be more pleased. “It’s amazing to be back,” he says. “My kid can go outside every day! I can also practice year-round. I’ve been hitting with [pro-tennis stars] Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez, Ryan Sweeting…. Everybody spends their off-seasons in Miami, so it’s great.”

It all makes for a nice comeback story, but for Bogomolov, this is far from a happy ending. “I was tested a lot, and to have a breakout year after all of those rough years is so satisfying,” he says. “I [was] seeded at the Australian Open for the first time this year, and I’m just 28 years old. Now that I’ve tasted a little bit of success, I want a lot more. It’s very addictive.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY STEPHEN DUNN/GETTYIMAGES.COM

—JASON FITZROY JEFFERS

 

Boys in the Good: Colin Foord and Jared McKay

Inspired by our reefs, a pair of local marine life enthusiasts forge a nexus between science and art.

February 06, 2012


McKay and Foord at Government Cut

A gray, rather nondescript warehouse lies on the Seybold Canal, just off the Miami River on the border between Overtown and Spring Garden. The words FLORIDA PRECISION INSTRUMENT CORP. are painted on the wall, but inside it’s a different world altogether: a colorful marine micro-universe teeming with life, where science and art converge in remarkably symbiotic ways.

This is the headquarters of Coral Morphologic, a 3,000-square-foot coral aquaculture center and forwardthinking, multimedia aquarium studio, the only one of its kind in the entire country. Helmed by two young visionaries—marine biologist and artist Colin Foord and his collaborative partner and close friend, musician and artist Jared McKay, both 30—the HQ contains several thousand gallons of coral aquaculture systems filled with a plethora of international stony corals and soft corals (colorful invertebrates that attach themselves to rocks) from the Caribbean and South Florida, all of which are used for scientific purposes and creative endeavors that include macro-photography, films, projections, and site-specific installations.

“We noticed that Miami doesn’t really have a true pop-cultural association with its coral reefs, and we want to change that,” Foord says. “In Miami, you have the [Art Deco] association with tropical, bold colors, and really, the corals are the original neon, glow-in-the-dark examples here.”

Recently, the coveted Knight Arts Challenge awarded CM a $150,000 matching grant to create a multimedia project promoting the upcoming Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, scheduled to open in 2015 at the new Museum Park in downtown Miami. This spring, Foord and McKay will also install a series of high-definition screens at Miami International Airport featuring marvelous aquascapes created with live coral in their aquaculture lab (including many of the most sublime, polychromatic soft coral morphs they’ve collected and cloned). Also in the works? A corresponding website with real-time coral evolution video, a projection project for the screens at New World Center, and an iPad app.

Beyond the artworks, Coral Morphologic is doing its fair share for science, as well. Foord has discovered three new species of local zoanthids (botanical-looking invertebrates). The duo have also collaborated with scientists at the Université de Provence in Marseille, France, sending over their own specimens to help build a living genetic database of coral and to make these particular species of soft coral accessible to biotechnology and pharmaceutical researchers.

But wherever Foord and McKay’s work takes it, Coral Morphologic will always remain bonded to its hometown, as it couldn’t have been formed elsewhere. “We want to keep promoting the idea that Miami truly is a coral reef city,” Foord says. “We hope this becomes an international point of view. This city is more than just a hedonistic playground—it’s also a place of unique intellect and creative opportunity.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM ARBOGAST

—omar sommereyns

 

Elizabeth Caballero Spices Up the Florida Grand Opera

The opera singer brings a uniquely Cubana flair to this month’s La Rondine.

January 09, 2012

Today’s opera star has to be fit, which probably explains why Elizabeth Caballero eyes, but does not eat, the two small croquetas she’s ordered on a cool, golden November morning at La Carreta in Key Biscayne.

She instead sticks with dipping long slices of Cuban bread into her café con leche while explaining how a working-class Cuban-American came to Florida on the Mariel boatlift in 1980 as a child, fell in love with opera, and decided to pursue the diva’s life.

And she’s well on her way. The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, praising her performance this past October as the doomed slave girl Liù in a Lyric Opera of Kansas City production of Puccini’s Turandot, wrote that she “has sung only one small role at the Met stage… but deserves to ascend farther.”

Caballero had never heard of Ross before friends told her about the review. “But everybody has been asking me how much money I gave [him],” says Caballero, who’s friendly and direct with an easy laugh. She adds that receiving the adulation of an audience is reward enough for what she does. “When you get a review like that, it’s just icing on top of an amazing red velvet cake.”

This month, Caballero stars as Magda in Florida Grand Opera’s staging of Puccini’s La Rondine, a tale of a woman in pursuit of a dream who takes up with a younger man but ultimately realizes she must return—like the swallow of the opera’s title—to her older, wealthier paramour. La Rondine has mostly languished since its 1917 premiere, but in the past decade has enjoyed a major revival. It’s an opera Caballero believes in, and not solely for its scrumptious music.

“It’s more of a realistic story in today’s society,” she says. “[Magda] is just out for her own pleasure. She does not think about the consequences she’s bringing to her lover. It’s all about her.”

After finishing La Rondine in February, Caballero heads to Austin Lyric Opera in April for another Liù in Turandot, then to Colorado’s Central City Opera in July to play Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème. And in 2014, she’ll sing Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni for Seattle Opera.

Caballero, who is technically based right here in Miami, stays with friends and family during her frequent local performances. Looking ahead, she would like to sing more at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and also wants to increase her European credits, her only one now being a 2008 production of La Rondine in Trieste, Italy.

She says she loves being constantly on the go, despite the obvious drawbacks. “All I know is that I really like it. And even if you don’t care for opera, you still can’t say, ‘That girl can’t sing,’” she says, giggling. “And I like that.” La Rondine, January 21–February 4, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-854-7890; fgo.org

PHOTOGRAPH BY REED HUMMELL

—greg stepanich

« Previous 1 3 4
FOLLOW US
Around The Web
 
Aspen Peak Magazine Austin Way Magazine Boston Common Magazine Capitol File Magazine Gotham Magazine Hamptons Magazine Los Angeles Confidential Michigan Avenue Magazine Ocean Drive Magazine Philadelphia Style Magazine Vegas Magazine