Month: October 2015

Ten Questions with Liam Moran

Ten Questions With…

Liam Moran, bass
Colline in La Bohème



1.  Where were you born / raised?
I was born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, but am now a proud Dairy Stater, living with my wife and two kids in La Crosse. 

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
Professional soccer player, if I were good enough, which I’m not!  I’d love to say a chef but would hate the hours.  More likely law or education.

3.  The first opera I was ever in was… 
Falstaff, in the chorus at Tanglewood when I was in high school.  I’ve known that fugue since I was 16.

4.  My favorite opera is…
Depends on way day you ask me.  Could be… L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Le Nozze di Figaro, Carmen, Don Carlo, The Rake’s Progress, Eugene Onegin, Nixon in China, St. François... you get the idea.

5.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is…
Pre-show, anything spicy.  Post-show is the same, except with a Guinness.

6.  People would be surprised to know that…

I can’t wink my left eye.  The right isn’t so great either.

7.  A few of my favorite books are…
The Brothers Karamazov, All the King’s Men, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Thinking, Fast and Slow.

8.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?
You’d see mostly podcasts- Snap Judgment, Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me, This American Life.  As for music you’d see mostly soul and R&B: Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, and lots of Tribe Called Quest.

9.  What is the worst costume you’ve ever worn? Or if no such costume, what was the best costume?
The answer to both was the Bonze costume from the Sydney Opera production of Madama Butterfly, which involved lots of red body paint and a bald pate.  It looked super cool but took several extremely uncomfortable hours to put on and take off.

10.  Everyone should see La Bohème because….
It’s got everything- humor, pathos, soaring music, nuanced drama, all under two hours.  (Ed. note:  plus intermission.)

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
These days, with an infant and a toddler in our house, the question is would you like some coffee?  The answer will always be “yes.”



Don’t miss the chance to see Liam in La Bohème, one of the greatest operas of all time!  Performances are November 13 and 15 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Ten Questions with Evan Ross

Ten Questions With…


Evan Ross, bass
Benoit / Alcindoro in La Bohème







1.  Where were you born / raised?
I was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.  My wife and I moved back to Michigan after grad school in Boston and have been living here ever since. 

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I would be a chef and restauranteur.  I have always loved food and love to cook.  I also watch a lot of food TV.

3.  The first opera I was ever in was… 
Massenet’s Cendrillon.  I was in the chorus in my undergrad.  My professional debut was as the Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata with Michigan Opera Theater.

4.  My favorite opera is…
Verdi’s Falstaff.  You can’t go wrong with Verdi and Shakespeare together.  The way that Verdi writes for the voice and the comedy in the score are both thrilling to me.  Ending with that fugue was a stroke of brilliance.

5.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is…
I’m not a big eater before a show, so I am usually ravenous afterwards.  I need some protein and carbs to re-charge me after the show, but I don’t have a set meal.

6.  People would be surprised to know that…

All of my height is in my torso.  I have the same length legs as my wife and she is a full foot shorter than me.

7.  A few of my favorite books are…
I like to read mystery novels and biographies.

8.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?  
I don’t actually listen to music all that often, which I know is surprising.  I am more likely to listen to a book on tape or a podcast.

9.  What is the worst costume you’ve ever worn? Or if no such costume, what was the best costume? 
My oddest costume was when I was playing a cat in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges.  I wore a spandex bodysuit with a full body mohawk made from a dryer vent.  I felt very exposed!

10.  Everyone should see La Bohème because….
It has one of the most gorgeous scores ever written and really makes you invested in the characters.



Don’t miss the chance to see Evan in La Bohème, one of the greatest operas of all time!  Performances are November 13 and 15 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Ten Questions with David Lefkowich

Ten Questions With…

David Lefkowich
Stage Director of La Bohème







1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Born in Albany, New York; raised in Delmar, New York.

2.  If you weren’t a director, what profession would you be in?
Chorus singer at the San Francisco Opera.

3.  The first opera I was ever in was… 
In 2004, I was the assistant director for La Fanciulla del West at Glimmerglass Opera.  The performer singing Billy Jackrabbit was indisposed for the final performance and the cover was already singing Castro (another role in the show).  I had to go on as Billy AND Castro whenever they were onstage and not singing.  Full makeup, four quick changes, and two fight scenes.  Harrowing.

4.  My favorite opera is…
The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky / Les Contes d’Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach / whatever I am currently directing.

5.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is…
Pre-show:  is anxiety considered a meal?
Post-show:  steak-frites.

6.  People would be surprised to know that…
I spent the first year of my career as a healthcare consultant.  I didn’t hate it.

7.  A few of my favorite books are…
Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafon), anything by Haruki Murakami, The Velveteen Rabbit (Marjery Williams).

8.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Bastille, “Pompeii.”  Hozier, “Take Me to Church.”  Lionel Ritchie, “You Are My Destiny.”  Various recordings of Carmen, La Bohème, and Lucia di Lammermoor (my next three projects).

9.  What is the best costume you’ve ever worn? 
I have only worn a few costumes professionally, but one of the most fun was when I performed as a super in the David Hockney Tristan und Isolde at San Francisco Opera.  Bright orange hat, tunic, and leggings, plus a broadsword.

10.  Everyone should see La Bohème because….
The music, the passion, the romance, the heartache, and the despair.  It has everything needed for a fantastic evening of entertainment.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  Have you ever fallen into the orchestra pit?

A:  Not yet!


Don’t miss David’s production of La Bohème, one of the greatest operas of all time!  Performances are November 13 and 15 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Ten Questions with Nathaniel Hill

Ten Questions With…


Nathaniel Hill, baritone
Madison Opera Studio Artist





1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born in Defiance, Ohio.  It’s a small rural town in Northwest Ohio and I lived there until I went to college.

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
That’s tough.  Maybe the film industry.  Maybe a lawyer.  Or maybe an Alaskan hermit, I’m not really sure.

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
The Carmen chorus with Toledo Opera when I was about fifteen.  I was instantly hooked.


4.  My favorite opera is…
Either Carmen, Pagliacci, or Don Giovanni.

5.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is…
Pizza!

6.  People would be surprised to know that…
I have seven older sisters.  Yes, seven.

7.  A few of my favorite books are…
Mostly biographies.  Into the Wild, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, etc… 

8.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Mostly opera and musical theater, but you might get lucky and find The Who, The Tallest Man on Earth, Bon Iver, Bob Dylan, and even Kanye.

9.  What is the worst costume you’ve ever worn?
The worst costume was definitely from this summer when I wore a fat suit as Gregorio in Roméo et Juliette.

10.  Everyone should go to the opera because….
It’s thrilling.  They’re the greatest stories ever told.  Why wouldn’t you go?

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):

Q:  Who will win the 2016 NBA Championship?

A:  Cleveland, obviously.  Go Cavs!

Don’t miss the chance to see Nathaniel all year long, on our mainstage and in our community.  First up is La Bohème, one of the greatest operas of all time.  Performances are November 13 and 15 in Overture Hall.  Tickets start at $18; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Ten Questions with William Ottow

Ten Questions With…

William Ottow, tenor
Madison Opera Studio Artist












1.  Where were you born / raised? 
La Crosse, Wisconsin.

2.  If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I don’t really know, being a politician has always interested me, but I’d probably be a pretty bad one.  I’d be a political science or economics major if I didn’t sing, but I can’t say I know what you do with those degrees. 

3.  The first opera I was ever in was…
The chorus of Don Giovanni at UW-Madison my freshman year; that’s really when I realized that opera is a thing I wanted to do.

4.  My favorite opera is…
How can I pick just one opera?  But instead of choosing La Bohème or Werther or Così fan tutte or L’Elisir d’Amore or Carmen, I’ll choose Albert Herring by Benjamin Britten.  Albert was my first major role and it will always have a special place in my heart.

5.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is…
I always forget to eat pre-show, so usually I just eat a couple apples, but post-show I enjoy a nice burger with something brewed by New Glarus.

6.  People would be surprised to know that…
I ran track at UW-Madison for three years. #badgertough

7.  A few of my favorite books are…
Harry Potter will always top my list of favorite books.  Others include the Miss Peregrine series by Ransom Riggs, The Great Gatsby, Heirs of Cain by Abraham Rothberg, Goodbye Columbus by Philip Roth, and The Outsider by Albert Camus.

8.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Looking at my actual playlist I see Madison Opera’s season of La Bohème, Little Women, and The Tales of Hoffmann, mixed in along with Benjamin Britten’s “Holy Sonnets of John Donne,” The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, and The Decemberists, among others.  (Is that more than five?  I can’t count past four.)

9.  What is the worst costume you’ve ever worn?
My junior year of show choir in high school, a portion of our show we were dressed as 80s rockers.  We had pleather pants, neon mesh shirts, long, ratty wigs, and giant silver platform boots.  It was so ridiculous, it only lasted one performance before we had to scale it back.

10.  Everyone should go to the opera because….
Often I think I encourage people to go to the opera because I love it, but people should go to the opera because they love it.  I see people fall in love with opera all the time; it’s easy to do.  But in order to fall in love with opera, you have to go and experience it for the first time.  Luckily Madison is a wonderful place to experience opera, as there are many more affordable opportunities than other communities of a similar size.  La Bohème was the first opera I ever saw live and it opened the door to a new world for me.  Madison Opera has a wonderful season programmed this year and people owe it to themselves to open themselves up to this world I live in and love. 

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  How many wisdom teeth did you have?
A:  Five.

Don’t miss the chance to see William all year long, on our mainstage and in our community.  Visit madisonopera.org for more information.