Exclusive Interview with Augusta McKee: The Case Of The Slain Soprano~ By Susan Moore Jordan
Cincinnati, 1963: One-time opera singer Augusta McKee, professor of music on two college campuses, is successfully navigating her busy life in stiletto-shod feet—until she comes up against a shocking road block. Halfway through rehearsals for a production of The Pirates of Penzance, Augusta receives the awful news that her leading lady has been murdered. But “the show must go on,” and while forging ahead to make that happen, Augusta stumbles upon pertinent information which could lead to the identity of the perpetrator.
First, though, Augusta must convince Homicide Detective Malcolm Mitchell that what she has uncovered can help him solve the case. While the strong-willed diva and the dashing detective clash at their first meeting, their dissonant chord becomes harmonious when Augusta and Malcolm continue to cross paths and discover a shared passion for opera … and a strong desire to catch the killer.
Sahar: Good Morning everyone! What a pleasure it is today to have as my guest, the esteemed Augusta Mckee–a one-time opera singer turned professor of music on not one but two separate campuses, and now known across our fifty states as the stiletto-wearing sleuth! Good morning, Augusta, and thank you for coming!
Augusta: Thank you for inviting me, Sahar.
Sahar: I have to tell you since you agreed to come on my blog, I have been pouring over various newspapers and tabloids about the case you assisted the police with–The Case of The Slain Soprano. Since then, you have become a bit of a household name, known far and wide for your uncanny talent in uncovering clues and solving murders. Besides being an accomplished musical professor and director, have you always had a penchant for mysteries and if not, what got you interested in this line of dangerous work, which by my calculations, is a far cry from opera! Or is it?
Augusta: I’ve heard it said that solving a crime could be compared to putting a puzzle together. Only the pieces usually aren’t all there on the table, so to speak, so the detectives have to hunt for them. Directing a musical production does have some similarities … however, the pieces are there, and it’s the director’s job to turn them into a harmonious whole and make them fit together as perfectly as possible.
Sahar: You and your cast have faced such a terrible tragedy.
Augusta: Yes. It was a shock to lose my student and our leading lady, Linnea Murphy, in Cliffside College’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance” because of a brutal act. Linnea was a lovely young woman and a voice student as well, and I think when you’re personally affected by that kind of experience it’s natural to want to help find the perpetrator. Of course, if you’re not a law enforcement officer, your knowledge of the case is limited. And if you have information, you wonder if it will be helpful in solving the crime. In this particular case, it was.
Sahar: And thank goodness your knowledge helped solve the crime! We can all sleep a little bit better now. You are such an accomplished director. How many productions have you done thus far?
Augusta: “'The Pirates of Penzance" was my 12th production at Cliffside.
Sahar: Twelfth! That’s incredible. But as they say, all work and no play make for a boring life and you–Augusta McKee, are anything but that! Forgive me, but from what I’ve read, you’ve been romantically linked to the dashing Homicide Detective, Malcolm Mitchell. Is there any truth to that rumor?
Augusta: Despite our first meeting being somewhat … um … confrontational, I now see Detective Mitchell as one of the most admirable people I’ve ever met. It was especially helpful to learn he had seen me at the Cincinnati Summer Opera when I was performing there many years ago.
Sahar: Perhaps next time, we can persuade your handsome hero to come on as well?
Augusta: I can’t speak for Detective Mitchell. Certainly, you could contact him, but please remember, for any law enforcement officer, the job comes first.
Sahar: Absolutely! So, share with us what’s next … I read in the paper that you are currently directing another production, this time at the Conservatory of Music, called “Phantoms of the Opera.”
Augusta: The chair of the opera department, John Edmanston, invited me to stage direct this production which will be performed the last weekend of October. We’re performing scenes from two operas which include famous ghostly characters: "Don Giovanni" by Mozart and "The Tales of Hoffmann" by Offenbach. Dr. Edmanston decided it will be our contribution to Halloween in Cincinnati this year, and I’m delighted to have this opportunity. Friday and Saturday, October 25 and 26, mark your calendars! The haunting begins at 8 p.m. We have a great cast of remarkable young singers.
Sahar: Hear that folks? Mark your calendars for October 25th and the 26th–8 pm. Augusta, it’s been such a pleasure meeting you.
Augusta: Thank you, Sahar. It’s been my privilege.
Sahar: And for those of you wishing to read more about Augusta Mckee and The Case of The Slain Soprano, there’s a link provided below. Augusta, this has been a lot of fun, and I look forward to hearing more about your crime-solving soon. Keep us posted and please come back to speak to us soon.
Author Biography [Amazon]
A murder mystery, The Case of the Slain Soprano is a departure for Susan Moore Jordan, whose previous historical novels follow characters as they deal with physical, mental, and emotional life challenges with the help of music. Jordan, a singer, teacher, and former musical theater director, has written about her adventures in “More Fog, Please”: 31 Years Directing Community and High School Musicals. She resides in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
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