Locally based dramatic soprano Anima embodies ‘Lovers in all Predicaments’


Parsing the varied meanings of “anima” and “animus” in the analytical psychology of Carl Jung can get witheringly complicated.

Suffice it to say that Anima, the Summerville-based operatic soprano, lives up to her name: a life force, animated, that represents the feminine principle.

Anima, aka Marcy Betzer, said she is drawn to an understanding of the mythology behind the operatic stories she performs.

“According to Jung, philosophers believe ‘amina’ is the moment when personality and life become tangible,” she said. “We are all animas, the integration of our spirit and life. And I try to bring my characters to life onstage as opposed to just standing there singing. I portray the concept behind the character.”

Anima will present her boutique opera concert “Lovers in all Predicaments” on Saturday at the Unitarian Church in downtown Charleston.

More than a recital A boutique opera, in this instance a 90-minute program featuring one hour of music, is more than a recital, designed to maximize the qualities of the venue in which it is performed.

“I came up with that term for a concert because I perform 13 different concert series, one of which is ‘Lovers in all Predicaments,’ ” said Anima, who among other things will perform the hara-kiri scene from “Madame Butterfly.” “The composer provided for all the drama and emotional impact in the music, and I like to bring that to life.”

Accompanied by pianists Janet Elshazly and Bill Whitfield, soprano Esther Williams, actor Haylee Whitfield, violinist Brianna Whitfield and the ATA Taekwondo Form Warriors under the direction of Scott Stauffer, Amima will perform arias from the works of Wagner, Saint-Saen, Massenet, Charpentier, Mascagni, Catalani, Verdi and Puccini.

Also on hand and lending an air of intrigue will be a mystery master of ceremonies.

A portion of the proceeds from the performance will benefit the Lowcountry Food Bank.

“We are both excited and grateful to be the beneficiaries of ‘Lovers and Predicaments,’ ” said Pat Walker, president and CEO of the food bank.

“Summertime is one of the most difficult times of the year for many food-insecure Lowcountry families,” she said, “and we see a substantial increase in demand for our services. This benefit will help us meet the needs of struggling families as we enter our most demanding time of year.”

Feast or famine Anima, 34, who moved to the Charleston area four years ago, was born in Upstate New York. For the past 12 years, she has performed widely in the U.S. and abroad, spending three summers in Spoleto, Italy.

“I’m completely obsessed with my art, and everything in life boils back down to the music,” she said. “It’s been my life’s passion from the beginning and will forever be.”

Anima, who likes to think of her adopted home as “an innocent New Orleans,” said it is not only the principal artistic themes of “Lovers in all Predicaments” she hopes to convey, but also the concept of citizens serving their community in whatever capacity.

“I can sing and I like to do that as a service. As an artist, it’s a feast-or-famine career, but you can always contribute. You don’t have to wait for someone to discover you or accept you or hand you a career. Be an entrepreneur, create or re-create yourself.”

Reach Bill Thompson at 937-5707.