Friday, February 6, 2015

Ten Questions with Corey Crider

Ten Questions With...


Corey Crider, baritone
Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd





1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in Marion, Kentucky, where I again live with my family of six.

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
I'd play bass in a band, or try my hand at straight acting... or pursue ANYTHING in professional tennis.

3.  My favorite opera is...
Rigoletto.

4.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
Pre - a salad with some protein, preferably steak.
Post - an 8 oz+ filet mignon with an assortment of deliciously prepared vegetables, and a healthy pour of pinot noir (I'd prefer some gnarly cab, however, quite sadly, most reds make me blotchy and wreck my voice).

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
At 28, having completed my master's degree in voice, I began to investigate the possibilities of becoming a linguist and was an aptitude test away from joining the U.S. Army to do so.  I simultaneously found out that something went wrong with my paperwork, so my test would be delayed, AND that the voice faculty at the Cincinnati Conservatory were looking for another baritone for the Artist Diploma program in opera.  I had not auditioned for them during the window of time in which they had auditions, but they had been told about me and wanted to hear me.  I auditioned, was accepted into CCM to begin studies two months later, and decided to amend my plans to serve my country as a linguist.

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar / in the car / for karaoke?
"Bust a Move" by Young MC is a real winner for so many reasons.  It doesn't HURT, because it's rap - and EVERYONE within a 10 +YEAR radius of my age knows every word and appreciates that I do too.  Plus, my mimicry of said artist is not too shabby.  :)  But singing-wise, my wife Michelle (also a classical singer, and far more skilled at pop singing than I) and I like to shut a place down with "Time of My Life" from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
I have ZERO tolerance for reality TV other than sports.  So, being as I'm so "principled" in my media consumption (hahaha), I'm not too guilty about my pleasures.  That said, my less-than-erudite enjoyments include sitcoms like New Girl, Marry Me, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Selfie.  FX's Archer might deserve an honorable mention, but no one should harbor feelings of guilt for finding pleasure in enjoying the funniest and most clever thing on television.

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
David Lynch's Dune, A Clockwork Orange, Casablanca, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Mahler Adagios (for sleeping), The Beatles, Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull.

10.  What is the best / worst costume you've ever worn? 
Both the best and worst costume was in Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld at Glimmerglass Opera.

11.  Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  What opera needs to be written and by whom?
A:  The Lord of the Rings by Howard  Shore.  So much of the work, motific and otherwise, is already finished in his film score.  It is one of the most lyrical works I've ever heard, it just needs a librettist.  I firmly believe it would instantly be the greatest American opera, possibly even English-language opera.


Don't miss the chance to see Corey in Sweeney Todd, a thrilling American masterpiece!  Performances are February 6, 7, and 8 in the Capitol Theater.  Tickets start at $25; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Three Questions with Four Choristers, Part IV

Three Questions With...
 

Christopher Apfelbach, bass
Gail Becker
, mezzo

Glen Siferd, bass
Fred Younger, tenor
Madison Opera Chorus, Sweeney Todd



 






1.  What is your day job?
Christopher: I'm currently a second-year graduate student in speech-language pathology.  Following graduation in May, I'd like to work in a voice clinic, providing diagnoses of vocal function and therapy services to those having trouble speaking or singing.

Gail:
I am a private voice teacher with over 35 students. When I'm not teaching, I'm directing the Tommy Ensemble for Overture Center.  If I'm not doing that, I'm musical directing productions in Madison, with companies like Children's Theatre of Madison and Oregon Straw Hat Players. Many times I still like to get up on the stage and perform too. I sing in cabaret clubs in Chicago and New York. I have a new cabaret show on February 14th at the Zona Gale Theatre in Portage.  And throughout all these jobs, I'm keeping busy by being the Director of Education for a new regional musical theatre in Madison called Capital City Theatre.


Glen:
My day job is deciding how to most productively use my time, because I'm joyously retired!  It does make it easier to fit in rehearsals.

Fred:
Retired computer programmer.


2.  What are you most excited about for Madison Opera's Sweeney Todd? 
Christopher: I'm most excited to be Bobby Goderich's hapless victim in the shaving contest between Pirelli and Todd.  My first show with Bobby was in 2007, and he's always been a comedic role model for me.  Such timing!

Gail: Sharing the stage with incredible singers who really understand Sondheim's lyrical intricacies and vocal nuances. It's only until you delve deep into the script and score do you realize how clever he is.  It's fun to share that with others who appreciate his work as much as I.
 

Glen: It's all exciting, but the combination of ensemble and individual singing for the chorus members is particularly great.
 
Fred: 
Emotional complexity.  Sweeney becomes a monster, with the help of the even more monstrous Mrs. Lovett, but he's also a sympathetic character, as she is to some extent.  Evil, innocence, violence, love and humor are all stirred together.


3.  What is your favorite show that you've been in?
Christopher:
Mike in my high school production of A Chorus Line. I love to tap dance, and it's the only show in which I've ever gotten to do so.

Gail: Dead Man Walking was an experience with Madison Opera that I will never forget and I still feel like I won the lottery to have been a part of it. As for other theatre, I've been a professional actress for over 20 years; it's always Sondheim shows that have the most profound effect on me. Playing the Witch in Into The Woods and Gussie in Merrily We Roll Along are my favorites to date.

Glen:
Either Turandot or Aida, but I guess Aida wins because of the triumphal scene.  That always blows me away.

 
Fred:
Tales of Hoffmann.  Theatre is always magical and Hoffmann is even more so.  And Madama Butterfly, partly because it's moving and beautiful but also because my son was Trouble in our production in 1988.  I auditioned for Ann Stanke and had Brendan along with me.  After I sang Ann asked if she could speak to Brendan for a few minutes.  She then asked me if it would be all right to let Brendan play Trouble.  Serendipitous, and a very special memory.  I haven't taken a child or a pet to an audition since, but it's probably not a bad strategy.



Don't miss the chance to see these four amazing singers in Sweeney Todd, a thrilling American masterpiece!  Performances are February 6, 7, and 8 in the Capitol Theater.  Tickets start at $25; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ten Questions with Meredith Arwady

Ten Questions With...


Meredith Arwady, contralto
Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd





1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Born in Saginaw, Michigan.  Raised in North Muskegon, Michigan, and then in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
English professor or personal shopper.

3.  My favorite opera is...
I usually feel very close to whichever operas I am currently studying or performing.

4.  My favorite pre/post-show meal is...
Pre:  protein.
Post:  with friends/family.

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
I can stand or sit cross-legged in deep water without treading water or even moving, and my head remains above water and I never sink.  It's amazing!

6.  What is your favorite song to belt out at the bar / in the car / for karaoke?
"Maybe This Time" has been my shower song for decades.  Sometimes I replace "Maybe this time... I'll win!" with "Maybe this time... I'll be clean!"  Can be modified for many situations.

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
Project Runway.  And I feel no guilt.

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
Pride and Prejudice ('95 miniseries), Anne of Green Gables / Anne of Avonlea.

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?   
Recently it was all Christmas music, all the time.  The same answer may also be given in August.  My love of Christmas music knows no season.  It just happens to be socially acceptable in December.

10.  What is the best or worst costume you've ever worn? 
An entire costume made entirely and solely out of thick, long, reddish hair down to the floor and nothing but boobs with fake nipples poking through.  I had to be brushed by two dressers before each performance.  This answers both the best and worst costume question.  Loved my time as Chewbaca!

11.  Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  What excites you the most about this Sweeney Todd?
A:  I'm glad you asked!  That my sister Allison planned her timing to travel with the CDC to Liberia for her second month of Ebola work so she could be stateside in time to come see my first Mrs. Lovett!  Hurrah!

Don't miss the chance to see Meredith in Sweeney Todd, a thrilling American masterpiece!  Performances are February 6, 7, and 8 in the Capitol Theater.  Tickets start at $25; visit madisonopera.org for more information.