That’s a hard one. There is no one answer. I have three lists, in the following three categories: operatic, non-operatic, and non-musical.
Operatic: A few come to mind. Hans Sachs in Der Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Massenet's Don Quichotte, Goloud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, and maybe later, Boris Godunov.
Non-operatic: Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, and Tony in The Most Happy Fella
Non-music: Grandfather... but not too soon!
Although, I love the opera, the title role in Billy Budd.... he's just too nice.
There is a moment in the third act monologue of Die Walküre where Wotan changes his mind right in front of the audiences eyes. He realizes he is no longer angry at Brünnhilde, but for the sake of the world, he must carry out his curse and put her to sleep. He finishes the first part of the Farewell, with the line "Denn einer nur freie die Braut der freier als ich der Gott", (The one alone will free the bride; one more free than I, a God"). The moment takes place in the interlude music. Brünnhilde recognizes that Wotan has lost the strength to do what he absolutely must, embraces him and looks in his eyes, and Wotan begins the most beautiful section, "Der Augen leuchtendes Paar,..."(Your gleaming pair of eyes..) and reminisces about battles, and meals, and how when he couldn't take another day as King of the Gods, she was there. At the end of this, Wotan says that he must kiss her Godhead from her, and kisses her on the forehead. Whatever happens next is wonderful whatever the director chooses.
In [Francesca Zambello's] production, Brünnhilde feels the "Gottheit" leave her, gets up under her own steam, walks to the rock, looks Wotan in the eye as if to say, "You've done all you can do, Daddy, I'll take it from here," and lays herself down. That slays me! It's lucky that I have some time to recoup before the next section because I always have to choke back a tear.
The music and the drama.
One is home in time for David Letterman. (joke!) Seriously, it is the beauty of variety. I love apple pie, but I wouldn't eat it every day. Because of my voice type, in addition to Wagner, I am able to sing Verdi, Puccini, and Strauss. What is better than that?
It had to be Puccini and Mozart. Specifically, La Bohème and The Marriage of Figaro. The opera bug bit me from those two operas.
One of the things I like about my career is the wide span of characters. I love being the bad guy, and, lets face it, who wouldn't love to play a god? But as I get older, I see the humor in almost everything! I do love being funny.
In the first place, I have no vengeful mezzos in my acquaintance...any more! In the second place, people don't mess with my iPod! Very dangerous. Thirdly, I have to categorize the answer to this question again as operatic, non-operatic, and non-musical.
Operatic: I have coachings I put on my iPod that are literally worth thousands of dollars. Case in point, I have coachings on each of the Wotan roles in the Ring with none other than Donald Runnicles.
Non-operatic: Alison Krauss and Union Station's Live double CD from 2002.
Non-musical: My NYC pastor, Tim Keller, and his wife Kathy's 2 CD-set called “Cultivating a Happy Marriage.”
My beautiful wife, the Ring cycle and The Gaither Vocal Band.
It depends on the day! By the very nature of the ebb and flow of life, I have good days, bad days, funny days, and sad days. Sometimes I have more in common with Falstaff, and others, Iago. While I'd love to THINK of myself as the King of the Gods, what I really have in common with Wotan are his struggles with doing the right thing and failing. Some days, it’s the Dutchman and his tortures. Other days, it's laughing at the world like Gianni Schicchi!
Labels: 10 Questions
Theater of Voices
Royal Opera House
Massenet Don Quichotte
Mariinsky Opera Orch
Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus