Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Chat with Blagoj Nacoski

Macedonian tenor Blagoj Nacoski was practically born to be an opera singer. His mother is a mezzo-soprano in the ensemble of the Macedonian National Opera, and his grandparents sang in the company’s chorus. Growing up, he’d spend time with his mother while she was learning her roles and was always attending her rehearsals and performances—in fact, he says he could probably still sing all of her repertoire today.

This weekend, Nacoski adds a new role to his own repertoire: Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff. This is also his U.S. debut, and he’s pleased to be with Seattle Opera for it. “I feel like I’m in a big family, so it helps me to better face this double debut,” Nacoski says.

The young tenor is actually relatively new to Verdi roles. He’s sung Casio in Otello, but otherwise, his repertoire is mostly Mozartean, and usually a mix of “‘good guys,’ lovers, and counts.” The role of Fenton—the young tenor in love— certainly resembles Nacoski’s usual characters. And since it’s new to him, he’s been doing a lot of preparation. “I work on the text and I try to give the right expression to everything I sing,” Nacoski says. “I also usually know every other role of the opera, which helps me to be in my role 100%.” When creating a performance like this for the first time, Nacoski says he follows “the indications of the composer, and I try to listen to as many different recordings as I can. If I find things that I like I use them, but I always try to give something personal to the role, that will make it different.”

Nacoski, a lirico-leggero tenor, looks forward to someday singing roles in the French repertoire, such as Des Grieux, Werther, and Faust. But in the meantime, he’s enjoying his current roles—and he’s definitely happy to be singing in Falstaff. “I think this opera is really a masterwork, where you can feel the maturity of the big Italian maestro,” he says, noting that Verdi’s sense of humor truly shines through in the piece. “Verdi was almost 80 when he wrote it, and yet the music and story are so fresh and comic.”