Friday, October 30, 2009

A Tale of Two Tenors

Today, I ran into tenors Bray Wilkins and Alex Mansoori during their lunchbreak, and we chatted about the past week in the Young Artists Program.

Alex and Bray are alternating in the role of Ferrando in Così. They both say that playing a role that's double-cast actually improves their performances, rather than creating any competition between them. "It gives us each a chance to sit back and watch someone else up on his feet trying things out and working on the character," Alex said.


Bray in Così rehearsals with Marcy Stonikas and Maya Lahyani. © Bill Mohn photo


Bray agreed, and noted that working with Alex—who recently sang Ferrando in Così as a member of San Francisco Opera's Merola Program—has led him to rethink a lot about his character choices. "Alex brought a lot of ideas about the character," said Bray, who adds that the two have talked a lot about Ferrando's motivations and actions.


Alex as Francis Flute in last season's YAP production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. © Rozarii Lynch photo


By now, the singers know their music well so they can really start getting into character onstage. They try things out, see what works with the other singers' character choices, and make changes if necessary. "It’s really collaborative," Alex said. It’s also a very physical show—Alex can often be seen around our offices wearing a pair of kneepads—and this week while rehearsing a fight scene with baritone Michael Krzankowski (Guglielmo), Alex was knocked down and suffered a concussion. Luckily, everyone is OK. "Michael was just teaching me a lesson: tenors are wusses," Alex joked.



Bray, Michael, and Alex at a recent Seattle Opera board meeting. © Bill Mohn photo


Check back next week for more from YAP!

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