Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First time Figaro

My name is Jonathan Beyer and I will be singing Figaro, aka “The Barber,” in The Barber of Seville, here at Boston Lyric Opera. I am beyond thrilled to be here. This will be my debut with the company and my debut in this role. Although Figaro’s aria is probably the most famous in the entire repertoire, I haven’t sung any of it until now.

It is a thrilling experience.

I actually am no stranger to Boston. I am from Chicago originally but spent my first two years of college at the Boston Conservatory studying composition and piano. My junior year of college I decided to head back to Chicago and give singing a try. I’m pretty sure I made the right choice. Not only because I've enjoyed success as a singer but because I was a pretty lousy composer! ☺

Performing a role for the first time can be rather daunting. My fellow castmates have already had huge successes in major houses singing these roles. There is a desire to make sure that I keep up with the brilliance and experience they bring to each rehearsal. Each has a fantastic bag of vocal fireworks and hilarious stage gags. Everyone is so fantastic and I am confident that this production will be not only musically astounding but also a laugh riot!

The conductor for our production is Maestro David Angus. He is really spectacular and has such a wonderful feel and energy for the music of Rossini. He has been working with me closely as we determine which ornaments to use for this production. It is tradition to add a great deal of flourishes, additional high notes, and crazy coloratura passages to each piece. We get to start from scratch and pick ornaments that are flashy but tasteful and really represent the drama on stage.

Our director is Doug Varone. He is not only a great director but has a very successful dance company and extensive dance background. He has really been helping us this week create our characters as well as making some fantastic visuals for the audience. It is a very physical and fun production so far! We've finished staging Act 1 … a rather remarkable accomplishment to stage 300 pages in 4 days!

The cast is filled with amazing performers and singers. John Tessier as Count Almaviva has mind blowing high notes and wickedly fast coloratura. As Bartolo, Steven Condy is not only a great singer but an absolutely hilarious actor. His comic antics are matched with the hilarious comic timing of our Berta, Judith Christin. David Cushing has an incredibly impressive sound and Gregory Gerbrandt not only sings a beautiful Fiorello but plays some mean guitar in this show as well.

That leaves us with the Rosina of Sarah Coburn. I have been completely obsessed with her voice since I first heard it when we were singing at Chicago Opera Theater in 2006. I have never experienced such beauty, flexibility, power, and style in a soprano. Her singing is exquisite, she is absolutely gorgeous, charming on stage. Being able to share the stage with this remarkable talent is such an honor.

I cannot wait to perform this show with her!

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