Interview with Alexa Petrenko, host of Sunday Night at the Opera.
1. How did you get started in broadcasting?
I sort of fell into it more than 20 years ago now. I used to listen to the opera show on 96.3 and after a while I thought that I would like to do that, so I bugged the station until they finally gave me an audition, and the Sunday morning choral show. I had a background in music, languages, print journalism and emcee-ing, all of which turned out to be very useful. Who knew all the things I had picked up would lead me to radio? I have to say I just love speaking into the mic…
2. What’s the best movie you’ve seen?
One of my very favourites is the 1992 remake of Enchanted April by Mike Newell. It addresses a number of my fantasies, particularly the ones about escaping winter and going to Italy. I watch it quite often.
3. If you could go to ONE more concert in your life, who would you see?
It would have to be music that reaches for transcendence. Maybe something Mahler, maybe with Susan Platts singing. Or Trio Medieval in a vaulted cathedral with heavenly acoustics.
4. What would your partner or friends say is your most annoying habit?
“What, are you going to rescue another dog?”
5. Everybody has one thing they cook REALLY well. What’s your specialty?
Food for my dogs. They all arrived in dire states and have become super healthy and live forever. I’ve been able to help many friends heal chronic problems in their animals through diet also, saving them thousands in vet bills. Happy to share recipes…
6. Coolest person in entertainment history…GO!
Well Barbara Hannigan is very cool, but I think it would have to be a toss-up between YoYo Ma and Bobby McFerrin. Fortunately they put a CD out together – it’s called Hush.
7. Favourite gift you ever received?
Birthday present from a boyfriend about 10 years ago, this completely delightful battery operated book filled with dozens of exotic birdsongs. We ended up splitting up during that same birthday dinner, but I would take the book to the desert island.
8. Fiction or non-fiction? Why?
Fiction. Tell me a story from your imagination.
9. One book you wish they would make into a TV show?
Hmmmm….maybe Louis de Bernieres’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin? He is a brilliant storyteller. I know it’s been made into a movie, but maybe would also work as a TV show as it is quite long and could carry through weeks and weeks…
10. One classical composer who should have his/her own movie?
I think it’s probably high time for a Murray Shafer film. Maybe Peter Raymont of White Pine Pictures could produce it, he did such a great job with Glenn Gould, Genius Within. Plus many of Murray’s compositions take place on a vast scale in natural landscapes, they are very cinematic.