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!

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