November coincidentally brings me to performances one week after the other of operas performed in concert. I really enjoy singing these kinds of performances. While the grandeur of opera with all the possibilities and effects of a set, costumes, lights and dramatic staging are part of what makes the art-form so special and powerful, it is quite refreshing now and then to strip it down to the bare bones and let the music alone do the talking. For those who don’t know what a “concert performance” of an opera is, it is simply the cast of singers standing on stage, often times using the score to reference while singing, and performing the opera with all the dramatic interpretation and intention communicated solely through their singing and minimal, stationary physicality.
First I will sing Colline in La Bohème with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra on November 15, conducted by Music Director Gregory Vajda. It is always a pleasure to work with Gregory, a true Mensch, with whom I sang the Baritone solo in the Brahms Requiem with Symphony Silicon Valley and, before that, La Bohème at Atlanta Opera. Also joining in the reunion from the Atlanta Bohème is baritone Andrew Garland as Schaunard. We form quite the dynamic red-headed duo as the Frick and Frack of the opera. Also in the cast will be Anton Belov, who sang the Count to my Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera New Jersey years ago. It’s a small opera world, ladies and gentlemen. That said, I’m looking forward to working with the other cast members who are new to me as well. It’s always fun when the first music rehearsal feels like the first day of school. Old faces and new.
The following week, I make my first outing with Oroveso in Bellini’s Norma with Baltimore Concert Opera on November 22 and 24. This is the kind of repertoire my voice was made to sing, so I am particularly excited to have my first taste of this role. Such incredibly beautiful and powerful music to be sung in this opera. Now that I think about it, I believe this is probably the first opera gig I’ve been involved with in a long time where I don’t already know anyone in the cast. How exciting!!!