Mark Walters sings Don Giovanni's "Champagne" aria
That opera camp, Dorian Opera Theater at Luther College, had a profound effect on you! Tell us more about it.
We were really trained in all aspects of opera. In addition to performing, we even built the sets and costumes. We took voice lessons and movement classes. I got a taste for the creative process, the sense of being onstage. I also got to meet other singers who said they were going to be opera singers; opera is much more social than playing an instrument, where you often spend many long hours of practice alone.
You’ve done leading male roles in Verdi operas such as Rigoletto and La Traviata, as well as German baritone roles. What do you hope to do in the future?
I actually started off as a very light baritone: I sang Curly in Oklahoma and Figaro in The Barber of Seville, for example. I plan to do more Verdi operas right now, and hopefully, more German parts in the future depending on how my voice develops. I always carry two or three scores around with me, and I'm constantly studying new repertoire.
What motivates your character, Don Giovanni?
Lust for life. The singer who originally portrayed the role was 23. With that in mind, I think Giovanni has to have the impulsiveness of youth.
How does The Don justify his behavior?
He says, to be fair to women, he should be able to love them all because it’s cruel to withhold himself—it’s only fair that all women should get to experience him! [laughs].
You’re a baritone. Is Mozart’s Bad Boy a bass or a baritone role?
|Mark Walters in rehearsal for the title role in Don Giovanni. Alan Alabastro photo|
It’s a lot of fun to be the villain. I’m soon going to be doing my first Scarpia in Tosca—he’s a very cultivated villain, for example. Giovanni I don’t think of as a villain in my approach to him. He pursues what he wants, and he has no regrets, even in his dying moments. He doesn’t have the sin of fear or regret. He does leave a lot of collateral damage in his wake, though. Even when you play a villain, you can’t think of them as the bad guy.
You recently sang The Don in Osaka. What was that like?
|From left: Mark Walter (Don Giovanni), Evan Boyer (Masetto) and Cecelia Hall (Zerlina) in rehearsal for Don Giovanni. Alan Alabastro photo|
I heard Seattle Opera was a great place to work, and that the people and musicians were wonderful. I love to hike, so I’m really looking forward to doing that here!
Don Giovanni runs for seven performances from October 18 – November 1st. For more information, please visit seattleopera.org.