Monday, December 23, 2013

Meet the District Winners 2014: Brian Michael Moore

Brian Michael Moore
Age 21

Aria choices for the Region Finals (subject to change)

1. Dein ist mein ganzes Herz - Das Land des Lächelns - Lehàr
2. Dei miei bollenti spiriti - La Traviata - Verdi
3. In qual fiero contrasto… Tradito, schernito - Così fan tutte - Mozart
4. La fleur que tu m'avais jetée - Carmen - Bizet
5. Ah! Viens dans la forêt profonde - Lakmé - Delibes

Opera Idols: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Brian Michael Moore: I'm from Cincinnati, Ohio. I lived there all my life until I started school at the Manhattan School of Music, where I am currently in my third year. I've loved music since I was little because my parents made my brother, sister and myself take piano lessons when we were very young. I was a very active child; playing a lot of sports and learning to play the piano. When I was 8 years old, I was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer called Ewing's sarcoma in my left leg. I had surgery to remove it followed by a year of chemotherapy and radiation; and I came out fine in the end. My leg recovered, and I was very active with sports again, until three and a half years later my arm started hurting. I thought it was just a pulled muscle from playing basketball, but when it got progressively worse, my mother took me to my doctor.  We eventually found out that it was osteosarcoma, a different type of bone cancer. I had a very involved surgery on my shoulder, another year of chemotherapy, and again I came out fine.  I have been cancer-free for nine years. 

OI: When did you know you wanted to become an opera singer?

BM: I couldn't play the piano during my recovery. That's when I learned how much I loved music and missed playing the piano. Eventually I regained the use of my arm and the nurses would bring a keyboard to my hospital room so I could practice while getting treatment. I have been playing the piano ever since. Even though cancer robbed me of part of my childhood, I like to think that cancer gave me a gift by helping me realize my love for music.

VSA International Young Soloist Competition
at the Kennedy Center (2013 Winner)
My older sister Lauren studied voice in high school and college and I loved to see her perform! I wanted to take voice lessons too but my mother wanted me to wait until high school to make sure I was mature enough. So when I went to high school, I was lucky enough to be accepted to take voice lessons with a highly recommended teacher in Cincinnati named Karl Resnik. I wasn't very good at all for my first year, but I really started having confidence when I won my first competition as a sophomore in high school... against much older people. I joined all the musicals and had a blast singing classical music as well whenever I could, even though my opportunities were limited. After being cast in the Cincinnati Opera chorus as a high school junior at 17-years-old, I got to see first hand what being in a professional opera was like and I loved it! I then decided to pursue a degree in voice.

OI: How will you be preparing for the Region Finals?  On the day of the auditions, do you have any rituals you follow?

BM: I will be preparing probably much the same way as the other singers - practice practice practice. And occasional resting, I don't want to blow out my voice before the next round. On the day of the competition though, I usually wake up some ridiculous number of hours beforehand, go for a walk to get my morning juices flowing, and then take it easy until the competition.

Ein Tierhandler in Strauss's
Der Rosenkavalier at Cincinnati Opera
OI: Do you have a favorite opera, aria, composer?  Do you have any 'role models' in the opera world?

BM: My favorite opera tends to be the one I'm currently in, but I'd have to say overall I really love Faust by Gounod. My favorite arias are always changing as well, but my two favorites right now are probably Faust's aria and Don Jose's aria from Carmen, which I will be offering in the next round! I tend to listen to Roberto Alagna for a lot of my french rep, especially his Romeo, but I would definitely not consider him a role model… I think I'll go with Pavarotti as far as overall voice and success is concerned!

OI: What would your dream role be?

BM: My dream role is definitely Don Jose. While I like Faust and Romeo as operas better than Carmen, the role of Don Jose is right up my alley, and I greatly hope I'll be able to play it some day.

OI: What does it mean to be a District Winner?  

BM: I am greatly honored and it certainly means a lot to be a district winner, especially at such a young age! I guess it just puts a perspective on things in a way that other competitions or auditions really can't - it's the Metropolitan Opera, the end-all be-all for the success of a singer.  It really is a great confidence boost to be selected to move on. However, having already sung in this space and for Ms. Nichols, I do feel a lot less nervous than I would otherwise be, and less nervous than I was in the first round.

OI: What performances do you have coming up?

BM: I will be performing Tebaldo in Bellini's I Capuletti e i Montecchi with the Manhattan School of Music's Opera Repertory Ensemble, conducted by Tom Muraco.  The performances will be on Sunday, May 4th at 5:30 and Monday, May 5th at 7:30 with open dress rehearsals on May 1st and 2nd, both at 7:00. 

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