Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ten Questions with Kelly Markgraf

Ten Questions with...





Kelly Markgraf, baritone







1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
That the challenges and learning never ends.


2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is:That the challenges and learning never ends.  And the travel. :)

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:

James Taylor concert just a few weeks ago in Houston, where we live.  He's 66, still has his voice and all of his spirit.  An amazing performer.


4. A few of my favorite films are: 
The Lion in Winter, The Philadelphia Story, Contact
.

5. Three things I can’t live without are: 
My wife, my daughter, and tea.

6. My number one hobby is:

Discovering new teas.

7. If you could perform with any singer that is retired or deceased, who would it be?
Bobby Darin.


8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in? 
Antique restoration.
 
9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender? 
Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.


10. Describe your favorite moment on stage.

During a season of summer stock theater in 2001, the lights in the theater went out.  All power was down.  The audience, refusing to accept that the show wouldn't go on, went to their cars and procured dozens of flashlights.  Some held theirs over the edge of the pit, some shone them from their seats onto the stage.  One man even parked his car at the side door of the stage, shining his headlights through the open door and onto the stage.  And the show went on.  That was magic.

Come hear Kelly at Opera in the Park on July 26 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE Admission!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ten Questions with Sean Panikkar

Ten Questions with...


Sean Panikkar, tenor



1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:

All of the travel.  I love seeing new places and experiencing new things while being paid to do so.



2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is:  
All of the travel.  Being on the road away from your home and family can be very challenging.  People take for granted the little things, like sleeping in their own bed. 

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:
I saw Billy Joel and Elton John perform at the old Veteran Stadium in Philly and it was amazing. 


4. A few of my favorite films are:
I love superhero movies, and if a Bourne movie is on TV, I can't change the channel. 

5. Three things I can’t live without are:
God, my family, and music. 

6. My number one hobby is:
Home improvement projects.  I was a double major in engineering and music, so that kind of thing feeds the other side of my brain. 

7. If you could perform with any singer that is retired or deceased, who would it be?
Shirley Verrett.  She was a professor at Michigan while I was there and I got to know her quite well, even though she wasn't my professor.  I am so thankful for youtube and the ability to see the greats do their thing.  I was so sad when she passed away a few years ago. 

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I would be in construction.  My lifelong dream, prior to music, was to own a construction company that did not only the engineering/construction, but also the architectural design. 

9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
I would love to be a Verdi baritone.  All of the Verdi baritone roles are so good. 

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 
My Metropolitan Opera debut was really special. I was just out of the San Francisco Opera's Adler Fellowship and I was performing Edmondo in Manon Lescaut. I was in my mid-twenties and I was so excited to be at the Met. James Levine was conducting and the production was simulcast into the movie theaters. That first performance at a place that you have dreamed of performing is really cool.  

Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer). 
Q: What is one of your quirks related to being a singer?
A: I am an obsessive germaphobe. Singers rarely, if ever, feel 100%. We all wake up and the first thing we check is whether our voice is ok. Being a germaphobe comes out of necessity. If we catch even a cold, we are at a severe disadvantage. I am constantly washing my hands. Even my 5 and 2 year old children know to cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.

Come hear Sean at Opera in the Park on July 26 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE Admission!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ten Questions with Wallis Giunta

Ten Questions with...



Wallis Giunta, mezzo-soprano


1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
Exploring the depths of my imagination as I create and invade all of the characters I get to play.  Whether it's an opera role or just an art song, I get to escape and be a totally different person. 


2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
Traveling and living alone most of the time - regularly asking for a table for one, and often having no one to share my incredible experiences with in the moment.


3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:

Front row seats for Ray Lamontagne, unplugged, at Carnegie Hall. 

4. A few of my favorite films are:
Well, I really like Will Ferrell, so I would have to say Anchorman, Zoolander, and probably Old School.  Otherwise, I like Guy Ritchie films (Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smokin' Barrels, etc.), and any kind of movie-musical!

5. Three things I can’t live without are:
My Moleskine diary, my titanium spork, and my Neti-pot. 

6. My number one hobby is:
Reading!!!  I could just read all day every day and be perfectly content.  

7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be? 
100% Giuseppe Giacomini. 

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I would love to work in animal rescue and rehabilitation, most especially with small domestics.  I am very fond of rabbits, and have some experience doing volunteer work with rabbit rescues around the world.  So if the singing thing doesn't work out, look for me where there are bunnies in need.

9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
Oh, Iago in Otello!  The Credo... the most epic aria. 

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 
I was covering Sesto in a production of La Clemenza di Tito at the Canadian Opera Company last year, and with about a half-day's notice, I got the call to go on.  It was the second perfomrance in the run, and I hadn't even had a staging run-through for Sesto or music rehearsals with the conductor before that afternoon (mainly because I was busy singing the other pants role, Annio, at the same time).  Even still, it was a big success, and the most transporting, magical night I have ever had on stage.  The adrenaline, nerves, and everything else combined for an almost out-of-body experience.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone ask you.
Q:  Are you very enthusiastic about apple pie, the eating of said pie, and the making of it to the best of your ability, with an exclusively butter crust?
A: Yes.
 
Come hear Wallis at Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 26 at 8pm.  FREE ADMISSION!