How did you get involved with this production of Don Pasquale?
Actually, I was given an opportunity through my voice teacher at University of Washington, Thomas Harper [Mime in Seattle Opera's 1991, 1995, 2001, and 2005 Rings]. Aren Der Hacopian [Seattle Opera’s Artistic Administrator and Director of the Young Artists Program] asked Tom about UW voice students, and that's how I heard about it and came in to audition for the role.
What is your background in music? When did you first become interested in opera?
I didn’t start singing until college, while I was studying at Florida State University. I was originally a trombonist for about 10 years and I’d always sung but I’d never actually pursued classical singing or opera until then. I was involved in a spring production of A Rake’s Progress during my freshman year, and the following summer I auditioned into the voice program.
What is it that you liked so much about opera?
When it comes to acting, some actors and actresses just can’t get into a role because it lacks substance. But you don’t come across that very often in the opera world; there’s just so much that you could fall head first into. It’s amazing to be able to emote using your voice. It’s probably one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had the opportunity to take part in.
Why did you pick University of Washington as the place to earn your master’s degree?
Actually, I had hopes I could work with Seattle Opera. So when this opportunity came along, I jumped on it, because it’s what I originally set out to do here, along with going to school. Seattle Opera has a wonderful reputation for having great artists and great productions. Also, I did a production at Florida State with Peter Kazaras [Artistic Director for the Young Artists Program, and Stage Director for Don Pasquale]. He guest-directed Der Vampyr when I was in college and I loved working with him, so when I found out he was directing this Don Pasquale production, I was like, “Oh, yes!” He’s great.
What other work have you been involved in since moving to Seattle?
I have to hold down a full-time job while going to grad school—so that doesn’t offer me a lot of time do much else outside of school. But at UW I was Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors for our fall production, and we just finished Benjamin Britton’s Albert Herring at the beginning of this month, I sang the Vicar. This spring, we’re doing L'enfant et les sortileges and I’m the Grandfather Clock in that, as well. So I’m getting good experience at school, but I’d also like to open doors whenever possible with the major houses.
Where do you hope your career in opera will take you?
I would like to build up my resume singing wherever I can. I’ve thought about moving to Europe and giving that a go, and eventually—like everybody else!— I’d love to sing at San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, the Met, and here at Seattle Opera.
Finally, can you tell us a little about your character in Don Pasquale?
The role is the Notary, and he’s basically a friend of Malatesta’s, who is coming in to play a “notary” for this “marriage” that is going on between Don Pasquale and Norina. He’s hired to act like a notary and get the fake union going on. That’s really all that I’m doing, but it’s great because it’s a role that is comically expressive in the face, which is something I really enjoy doing.