The Ring

Day in the life: Jennifer Lang

Wed, 2012-12-05 12:14

Lang as Minerve in the 2008 Opera McGill productions of Thésée by Jean-Baptiste
Lang (right) as Minerve in the 2008 Opera McGill productions of Thésée by Jean-Baptiste Lully. Photo: Emily Ding

A day in the life of Jennifer Lang is as full of scene changes and costume changes as any opera. On a typical weekday, she’s up at 6 a.m. for yoga; then it’s four hours as administrative assistant for UVic’s Web Initiatives Team in UVic Communications. After an hour of singing practice and music preparation, she teaches voice students at the Peninsula Academy of Music Arts or Long and McQuade. And one evening a week, she tops it all off with a karate class (she holds a black belt).

A mezzo-soprano, Lang specializes in classical music performance, including opera, oratorio and solo recital. Locally, she has performed with the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society and the Cowichan Consort Orchestra and Choir and in Pacific Opera Victoria’s world premiere of Mary’s Wedding. She is also a performer with Fear No Opera, a new local opera company devoted to providing opportunities for emerging artists and spreading a love of opera among new audiences.

Lang finds that her varied activities complement and support each other. “Yoga, karate and singing all involve careful attention to the breath, self-discipline and memorization. They help you get to know yourself and your own limitations,” she explains.

Her UVic job helps her keep on the edge of emerging trends in social media. Lang helps keep the Web Initiatives team on track, providing support in the areas of accounting, time management, and coop and workstudy student hires. She is particularly skilled at organizing large projects and data sets into manageable pieces.

“A lot of the skills that I use in my job at UVic are transferrable to the other things I do, particularly the social media and organizational skills. After all, I am my own small business.”

Lang was born in White Rock and grew up in Delta before coming to UVic to earn her BA in history in art/medieval studies. “My undergraduate work was good preparation for my singing career,” she says. “I got a grounding in languages—including French, Italian and Latin—and spent a summer on exchange in Germany.”

As a child, Lang had played piano, flute and organ and sung in two choirs, but it wasn’t until 2000 that she found her musical calling. “I broke a bone in my foot and so couldn’t do karate and was wondering what to do to fill the gap.” She was working part-time with the UVSS and chanced to see a poster on campus offering singing lessons, so she gave it a try and loved it. “Within six months I knew I had to make this my new focus,” she says.

She and her husband moved to Montréal, where she attended McGill, earning her MMus in voice performance and performing in half a dozen roles with Opera McGill.

Now, back in Victoria since 2010, Lang is preparing to audition with opera companies in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest and will be giving a solo recital of an all English-language program (including Benjamin Britten’s Cabaret Songs) in April in Victoria, Brentwood Bay and the Cowichan Valley.

For more about Lang: