Lisette Oropesa will be giving a performance in Baton Rouge, but she just thinks of it as a hometown visit with friends.
"It's not work," says the world-renowned soprano. "It's fun."
Oropesa will sing at Opéra Louisiane's lunchtime concert at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 19, at the City Club of Baton Rouge.
Oropesa, who is currently in Rome performing in Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto," will fly to Switzerland after the Christmas holidays to sing the part of Ophelia in Ambroise Thomas' "Hamlet."
Oropesa has never performed the role, which is a challenge to learn while performing the Verdi opera. But it's a challenge she welcomes.
"Singing the same roles can get old, so it's always good to be able to sing something new," she says. "The music in 'Hamlet' is challenging. I've always loved Shakespeare's story, so I'm looking forward to the opera."
She's also looking forward to coming home to Baton Rouge where she not only grew up but met her husband, Steven Harris, while both were students at Woodlawn High School.
"He moved away, then we connected again on Facebook after I moved to New York," Oropesa says.
And in between high school and New York, Oropesa earned her bachelor's degree in vocal performance from LSU.
"I own a house in Baton Rouge now," Oropesa says. "My mother lives in it. My grandmother's house was damaged by Katrina, and my mother's house was damaged by Gustav. We were very fortunate and grateful that no one in my family took in floodwater this time."
Oropesa knows her hometown is slowly rebuilding and is happy to be able to contribute to its season of celebration.
She'll be singing a program of Christmas songs, arias and opera favorites accompanied by Opéra Louisiane music director Michael Borowitz. Tickets include the concert and a three-course lunch.
Locals who have not seen the soprano, who has performed on the Metropolitan Opera's stage and in other great opera houses across the world, will notice a difference in her appearance and, perhaps, her singing.
She and Harris began running in 2011 and also adopted a vegan lifestyle, both of which contributed to a significant weight loss for Oropesa.
They've since run in six marathons, one in Baton Rouge.
"Marathon running is about distance, not speed," she says. "We started out running and enjoyed looking at the scenery. We built from there."
The running regimen also has enhanced her singing.
"They go hand-in-hand," Oropesa says.
Running also relaxes Oropesa, as does performing for a hometown crowd.
"I'm looking forward to coming home," she says. "There won't be any stress, just fun."