Month: October 2013

Ten Questions with Nmon Ford

Ten Questions with…






Nmon Ford, baritone
Scarpia in Tosca



1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
The sitzprobe (literally “seated rehearsal”): the first full orchestral run-through of the opera. After days or weeks of rehearsal with only piano, I enjoy the excitement of hearing the instrumentalists tearing into any score that I enjoy greatly, like Tosca or Salome. Alternate favorite thing: singing arias center stage with a spotlight (let’s keep this real).

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 

Not living entirely in the future. The way this career works, and with what’s required to pursue it fully, it’s difficult not to view life in terms of the next rehearsal, or the next gig, or the next season.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:
Rachelle Ferrell. Genius— and I seldom use that word.

4. A few of my favorite films are: 
Aliens. And The Avengers was good.

5. Three things I can’t live without are:
Good weather, ice cream, and Zara.

6. My number one hobby is:
Sleeping late.
7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
Donny Hathaway.

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
Chief Networking Officer at a corporate strategy firm.

9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
Either the Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlo) or Otello.

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

Most recently, my sitzprobe for Salome in Bordeaux earlier this year. Gave me chills.


Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Have you ever been surprised by your love for (or dislike of) a role?

I expected not to enjoy singing the title role in Attila in Italy a couple of seasons ago, but it ended up being some of the most fun I’ve ever had onstage. The entire experience was like singing an opera in Parma circa 1957. Conversely, I thought I’d like Falke in Die Fledermaus; I was mistaken.

See Nmon in Madison Opera’s production of Puccini’s Tosca November 1 & 3 in Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18why wait?

Ten Questions with Melody Moore

Ten Questions with…

Melody Moore, soprano
Tosca in Tosca

1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:

– being able to express what I cannot express in daily life and daily conversation.
2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
– keeping stability in health and keeping a quiet mind.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:
  – Rufus Wainwright’s Judy Garland Show.

4. A few of my favorite films are: 
 – The Hours, Dogville, and any Lord of the Rings movies.

5. Three things I can’t live without are:
– books, hot baths and my stuffed bear, Brutus.

6. My number one hobby is:
Cooking.
7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
– Renata Tebaldi.

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
Neuroscience or Quantum Physics or Chef.

9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
 That’s why I’m lucky, I get to sing exactly what I love. 

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

– When I went on for Gheorghiu on opening night of Tosca at San Francisco Opera, I could literally feel the grain of the fabric on the dropcloth below my feet. I could feel electricity surging through my body. I didn’t sleep well for three days afterward. Absolutely exhilarating. 


Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
I don’t desire a specific question, but I would love it if someone actually understood that- although our lives as singers may seem exciting and glamorous – we pay a price. We often do not get to SEE the wondrous surroundings in cities where we sing because we are in rehearsal. We often are away from our homes and families for extended times and we live lonely lives at times. I wish, sometimes, that there was a broader space for that understanding.

See Melody in Madison Opera’s production of Puccini’s Tosca November 1 & 3 in Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18why wait?

Ten Questions with Scott Piper

Ten Questions with…







Scott Piper, tenor
Cavaradossi in Tosca


1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
Having the ability to travel and perform with fantastic colleagues.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
Staying healthy in the midst of the constant travel.


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

Ray Charles performing “Georgia” at the opening of the Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio.

4. A few of my favorite films are: 
La Strada
Kissing Jessica Stein
Avatar

5. Three things I can’t live without are:
Chocolate
Beef Jerky
Marshmallow Peeps

6. My number one hobby is:
Reading.


7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
Aureliano Pertile.

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
Medicine.

9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
Tosca.

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

The moment before the first downbeat of the score.


See Scott in Madison Opera’s production of Puccini’s Tosca November 1 & 3 in Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18why wait?

Ten Questions with Ryan Kuster

Ten Questions with…

Ryan Kuster, bass-baritone
Angelotti in Tosca




1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
the collaboration between everyone that is involved during the rehearsal process. I love exploring the character through the exchange of musical and dramatic ideas.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
managing my time in between gigs.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:
The dress rehearsal and then final performance of Susan Graham’s Octavian in
Der Rosenkavalier

4. A few of my favorite films are: 
The Princess Bride, Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V, (it’s not a movie, but) House of Cards.

5. Three things I can’t live without are:
My travel pillow, my headphones and my favorite book.


6. My number one hobby is:
Self-improvement.

7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
I would love to perform with Jose Van Dam.

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I really don’t know. Probably something where I was doing service for others.


9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
I like my roles. 🙂

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

My favorite moment wasn’t on stage. It was outside and involved a horsefly and me ending up bleeding while I was performing. Ask me about it sometime. 😉


See Ryan in Madison Opera’s production of Puccini’s Tosca November 1 & 3 in Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18why wait?

Ten Questions with Nikolas Wenzel

Ten Questions with…

Nikolas Wenzel, bass
Sacristan in Tosca




1. My favorite thing about being a singer is:
The ability to go to work every day and pour your soul into something – to work collaboratively with others and create art is the greatest privilege we have as singers.  I am so grateful to be able to do this for a living.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is: 
The demands that having a career places on a singer are very high – the time away from home and family, the extra hours, and the travel all take their toll. There are many sacrifices that being in this line of work requires, and it’s a very delicate balancing act.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:
When visiting London with several high school classmates in 2001, I had the privilege of seeing the West End production of
Les Misérables from the first row of the balcony. That I was finally able to see that show, and through it understand and experience all of the emotions that can be conveyed through live performance, helped galvanize for me that my future lied in music and in the theater. I will never forget that evening.

4. A few of my favorite films are: 
I am a huge Stanley Kubrick fan – so some of my favorite films of his are Barry Lyndon, Paths of Glory, and of course The Shining. Kubrick was an absolute master of the lens, and his work was truly groundbreaking with regard to the visual narrative. But – for me, it’s his incredibly insightful and pointed use of classical music in his scores that make his films what they are. He is able to take elements of existing classical works (he was a huge Beethoven fan) and craft them into their own subtle commentary on the story – even at points allowing them to serve as leitmotif. It’s absolutely fascinating.

5. Three things I can’t live without are:
1 – My beautiful family. 
2 – My iPhone. 
3 – I know this won’t be popular, but – DA BEARS.


6. My number one hobby is:
Most definitely photography. I’ve been shooting on and off since high school, and I’ve definitely been devoting more time to it since the birth of our first child. She makes the perfect subject.

7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
Without a doubt, I would choose Cesare Siepi. Not just for the sake of actually being able to hear him live, in person –  but to be able to watch and learn from an absolute master of the Italian bass repertoire. If it were possible to sing the Leporello to Siepi’s Don Giovanni – there would be nothing that could ever top that!

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I think I would probably be in professional photography – wedding, scenic, sports –  or maybe even cinematography. I think that would be another career field that would be very fulfilling.

9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
It would be great fun to sing The Queen of the Night from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. It’s one of those dream roles for singers – it features two of the most virtuosic arias in the rep, has minimal stage time, and is an incredibly fierce character. What else can a singer ask for?

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage. 

A few years back, I was singing Dr. Dulcamara in a production of L’Elisir d’amore. As I had begun singing the opening lines of his first act aria, I sort of…well, I let’s just say that I lit my hand on fire. Thankfully, it was quickly extinguished –  and somehow I didn’t miss a beat, and the orchestra and I went on as if nothing had happened. The best part?  The audience, and even some of my colleagues thought that it was a planned gag. Ahhh…there’s nothing like the magic of live theater!

Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Where did you grow up?

I actually grew up not too far from here, in a town called Pecatonica, IL, just west of Rockford. I used to travel to Madison quite often to see concerts with my friends, and I’m thrilled to return to the area and make my debut here!


See Nikolas in Madison Opera’s production of Puccini’s Tosca November 1 & 3 in Overture Hall. Tickets start at just $18why wait?