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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spotlight on Figaro in THE BARBER OF SEVILLE with Baritone Daniel Belcher

You often sing the role of Figaro in The Barber of Seville, and other Rossini roles as well.  What are your favorite aspects of the role and Rossini’s music in general?

Figaro is like an old friend to me, particularly Rossini's Figaro.  The wit, the vocal pyrotechnics, the insane situations, are a complete blast.  Above all, there is one secret to making Figaro complete....that is making everything sound vocally and seem physically AT EASE.  Somehow, Figaro can always get out of situations.  The moment it looks hard, it undermines the character.  Everything must be a complete joy!!

You sing a wide variety of roles and concert repertoire, from world premieres of avant garde music to some of the earliest Baroque operas.  Do you enjoy singing any specific type of music over the others?  If so, please tell us what kind and why.  If not, please elaborate.

As much as I love the music of the great composers, Mozart, Rossini, Puccini, etc., it's being able to work with living, breathing composers and librettists that excited me the most.  During my training in Houston, I was able to sing in three world premieres.  That has only continued in my career.  We don't have the luxury of going to Mozart or Britten or Puccini and asking why they made a certain musical choice.  However, I can do that with John Adams or Kaija Saariaho or Tod Machover or any of the other composers I get to work with.  A wonderful situation came out of working with Ken Cazan in Central City two years ago.  We are longtime friends, but reconnected on Gianni Schicchi and Les Mamelles de Tirésias.  Ken was approached by a young film composer wanting to write an opera about Oskar and Emily Schindler.  Ken invited me on board and we already have one presenter, the Gartnerplatz in Munich, that will perform the opera in a future season.  I am thrilled I get the opportunities to continue to create music.  Hopefully, the work I do on new works is reflected in the classics.  My goal is always to bring a freshness and spontaneity to whatever I sing.  I hope the audience will find my Figaro just as fun!

Daniel Belcher as (above) the title role in Gianni Schicchi and (below) Le Mari in Les mamelles de Tirésias (both 2011)

Editor's Note: The above questions are just part of an interview with Daniel Belcher in the 2013 Opera Insider. This Festival resource guide will be available for download soon - stay tuned!

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