I love stories like this one in today’s NY Times, “Out of the Spotlight, Until the Met Needed a Tenor.”
Jim Dwyer writes in his About New York column, “Until a few weeks ago, Jay Hunter Morris had spent much of his early 40s in the invisible universe of the backup opera singer, a life that included selling Rollerblades in Central Park and passing out towels at gyms.
“Then he got The Call.
“ ‘We were in a rehearsal room, doing the understudy rehearsal,’ Mr. Morris said.
“Waiting for him was Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Gelb needed a tenor, and fast, to take on what people in opera say is one of the most demanding roles ever written: Siegfried, the hero of the third part of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ cycle, a five-and-a-half-hour production. The role had eaten up two tenors before opening night, with the second falling ill with less than two weeks to go. …
“ ‘Mr. Gelb looked me in the eye and said, “Can you do this?” ‘ Mr. Morris recalled. ‘I said, “Yes, I can.” ‘ He nodded … “O.K., I’m going to give you a chance.” ‘ ”
A star was born.
P.S. Got any young stars graduating from the middle school musical to, say, community theater? Consider a gift like this one from Suzanne’s company, Luna & Stella.