Academic journal article Journal of Singing

A Conversation with Dwayne Croft

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

A Conversation with Dwayne Croft

Article excerpt

At the beautiful Fairmont Copley Hotel in Boston, Dwayne Croft and I had the following conversation . . .

Leslie Holmes: I love your name . . . Dwayne. Where did that come from?

Dwayne Croft: My parents were watching a movie and saw the credits. They liked the name. I think it came from Dwayne Hickman, the actor.

LH: It's a very unusual and outstanding name that you can remember.

DC: Yes. I've met a few Dwaynes in my life, but not many.

LH: You've been singing at the Met for eighteen years, and your first role was a tiny one-Fiorello in The Barber of Seville. You were still in the Young Artists Program at the Met at the time.

DC: The first year.

LH: What did it feel like when you walked onto the stage, and you realized that here you were, on the big stage, singing by yourself?

DC: It felt huge. It felt like this vast cavern, it was so huge. I remember everything about that night. Julius Rudel was conducting. It's interesting, because a few years later I was in that same production, with Rudel conducting, and I was singing Figaro. I remember that night, especially, as I was singing in a place on stage where the acoustic was fantastic. My first note just echoed throughout the hall. I remember thinking that this was really good. It was just one of those moments when I felt that everything was right. It was a fun debut.

LH: Very exciting!

DC: Yes, it was very exciting. It was at the right moment in my life. I was twenty-eight years old, and I felt like everything was coming together.

LH: To quote Jimmy Levine about you, "Dwayne Croft is a perfect example of what I want the [Young Artists] program to accomplish." This is a huge compliment. He goes on to say, "He's now a pillar of the company, but he started carefully, when he was making the Met his young period's home house." How helpful was this Young Artists Program to you?

DC: For me, it was everything. For me, it was the difference between working a nine to five job and suddenly becoming a full time singer. It gave me the opportunity to just sing, and, from the moment I took that job, I've been a singer non-stop. It was the turning point. It made me able to pursue just singing.

LH: I have not been able to find out a lot about what happened in your life before the Met. You were born in Cooperstown, New York. Are you a baseball fan?

DC: I'm not a fanatic. I watch it, I like it, but I'm not a crazed fan.

LH: You're very fortunate. I am. How did you get from Cooperstown, New York, to the Young Artists Program at the Met?

DC: I was a young musician all through school. I was a trumpet player and a singer.

LH: And where did you go to school?

DC: Cooperstown High School. The Glimmerglass Opera started in 1975, and I was an instrumentalist. They needed supers for the Act II parade of La Bohème, and I was in that. I did it, and that's how I was introduced to opera.

LH: You sound like Sam Ramey, from Colby, Kansas. He had a very similar introduction to opera . . . except as a singer, not an instrumentalist.

DC: Yes. I was in the band that just marches across the stage. From there, I joined the chorus, and was in the chorus from '76 on, until I graduated from high school. I continued while I was in college, as well. I decided, when I was fourteen or fifteen, that singing was what I wanted to do.

LH: Do you have a musical family? I know your brother, Richard, is a renowned singer.

DC: My brother is an opera singer who is having a huge success right now at the Met. He wasn't introduced through Glimmerglass . . . he got it in college. It's sort of been a strange thing, because we both were introduced to opera at around the same time-1976.

LH: Is he older or younger?

DC: Older. We both ended up being drawn to it. I don't know how, but it just drew us in.

LH: Have you ever sung together in the same production? …

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