Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ten Questions with Morgan Smith

Ten Questions With...

Morgan Smith, baritone
The Villains, The Tales of Hoffmann


1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was raised in White Plains, New York.

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
I'd probably be a singer/songwriter, or a marine biologist.

3.  The first opera I was ever in was...
Die Zauberflöte.

4.  My favorite opera is...
Oh... tough one...  Probably Moby-Dick by Jake Heggie.

5.  My favorite pre-show meal is...
Sushi.

6.  People would be surprised to know that...
I used to race open canoes in whitewater slalom competitions. 

7.  A few of my favorite books are...
Parenting with Love and Logic, The Odyssey, In the Heart of the Sea.

8.  If we were to turn on your ipod / music listening device right now, what five artists / songs would we see on you recently-played list?
Tim McGraw, Glen Hansard, Brandi Carlyle, Damien Rice, Steve Azar.

9.  What is the worst costume you've ever worn?
Probably a fly costume in Klaus Guth's production of The Barber of SevilleSo cumbersome!  I kept slamming into my poor colleagues with those wings!  And it was a sweat box.

10.  Everyone should see The Tales of Hoffmann because....
It's unlike any other opera in the repertoire.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  At what moment did you decide to become an opera singer?
A:  While watching a production of The Tales of Hoffmann, opening night at the Metropolitan Opera, 1992, starring Placido Domingo, Carol Vaness, and Samuel Ramey!

Don't miss the chance to see Morgan in The Tales of Hoffmann, an extraordinary work that is equal parts fantasy, realism, and genuine passion.  Performances are April 15 and 17 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ten Questions with Siân Davies

Ten Questions With...

Siân Davies, soprano
Antonia / Giulietta / Stella
The Tales of Hoffmann



1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Born in Dewsbury (Yorkshire), England and raised in Rochester, Michigan.

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
This is really hard to say... I enjoy bringing pieces together to make them into a finished product, so maybe something like event planning?  At the same time, I absolutely love baking, so it would be fun to have a shop!

3.  The first opera I was ever in was...
Bluebeard's Castle by Bela Bartok.

4.  My favorite opera is...
Ever-changing.  Typically whatever I'm working on is a favorite, due to the nature of being fully immersed in the project.  I've been fortunate to perform Le Nozze di Figaro the most in my career, so it is definitely in my top three!

5.  My favorite pre-show meal is...
It really depends on the physicality of the show, but I usually have something light but with staying power 3-4 hours beforehand.  Brown rice with chicken and vegetables is a great option!  I'll also have apple juice and bananas backstage with me to snack between scenes.

6.  People would be surprised to know that...
I started college with the intention of becoming a biochemist. 

7.  A few of my favorite books are...
Dracula, Frankenstein, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

8.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists / songs would we see on you recently-played list?
It would depend on if I've been alone or with my infant son!  Led Zeppelin, Shostakovich 2nd piano concerto, Stevie Wonder, Disney movie tunes, and Pentatonix.

9.  What is the worst costume you've ever worn?
I was once reviewed as looking like an escaped mental patient... I had a shiny white tunic and was barefoot.  Looking back, the reviewer wasn't really wrong.

10.  Everyone should see The Tales of Hoffmann because....
It has something for everyone!  It's funny and dramatic with beautiful and luscious music.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  If you could be a different voice type for a day, what would be your dream role?
A:  I would love to sing Eugene Onegin or Billy Budd!

Don't miss the chance to see Siân in The Tales of Hoffmann, an extraordinary work that is equal parts fantasy, realism, and genuine passion.  Performances are April 15 and 17 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Ten Questions with Harold Meers

Ten Questions With...

Harold Meers, tenor
HoffmannThe Tales of Hoffmann




1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born in Huntington, New York (Long Island), but moved when I was very young to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Go, Steelers!).  I was raised in Pittsburgh but spent my junior high and high school years in Visalia, California.

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
I would want to be in something creative.  Possibly an architect?

3.  The first opera I was ever in was...
I did scenes of different operas in college, but the first full opera I was in was Madama Butterfly... singing Pinkerton.

4.  My favorite opera is...
I get asked this a lot and it's so difficult to answer.  There are things I love about so many.  So, I'll take the politician's approach and give several of my faves:  La Bohème, Otello, and La Traviata.

5.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
Whatever sounds good that day!

6.  People would be surprised to know that...
I'm an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan and golfer. 

7.  A few of my favorite books are...
The Bible, any good spy novel, and any beautiful burgundy and gold hardcover Ricordi opera score.

8.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists / songs would we see on you recently-played list?
You would see an eclectic list for sure.  It would look something like:
Mario Del Monaco
Metallica
Frank Sinatra / Dean Martin / Sammy Davis Jr.
Journey (The Steve Perry years)
My study playlist for The Tales of Hoffmann

9.  What is the worst costume you've ever worn?
Probably the worst costume I've been put in was a costume for Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni.  It was Mozart period costuming, but mine was light pink with mauve tights.  Really???  Ottavio is wimpy enough without that!  (I did finally insist they change it... which they did!  Whew!)

10.  Everyone should see The Tales of Hoffmann because....
It is an extremely theatrical work and is actually quite dark and mysterious.  There is a lot going on and the possibilities and choices in staging and production are endless.  I'd also encourage everyone who is interested to read the actual writings of ETA Hoffmann.  The stories are all short, but give you a real insight into the mind and the "tales" of Hoffmann, thus making the experience of seeing the opera enjoyable on a much deeper level.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  Describe the similarities between singing and golf.
A:  Check back for Part Two....

Don't miss the chance to see Harold in The Tales of Hoffmann, an extraordinary work that is equal parts fantasy, realism, and genuine passion.  Performances are April 15 and 17 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.