Magazine article Opera Canada

Daniel Okulitch

Magazine article Opera Canada

Daniel Okulitch

Article excerpt

Asked about the most challenging aspect of performing in Howard Shore's The Fly, which had its world premiere at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris last July and then its American premiere in Los Angeles in September under the baton of Placido Domingo, bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch does not hesitate. "It was the sheer physicality of the role of Seth Brundle, along with a difficult score. There is a huge range of behavioral changes that take place as Brundle is transformed into the Fly onstage, along with strenuous physical and vocal demands." At one point Okulitch, costumed as the Fly, climbs upside down along scaffolding as he sings. Fortunately, his impressive vocal and acting abilities were up to the challenge, resulting in a well-received performance. He clearly relished the opportunity and freedom the new opera provided to create a major role for the first time. "And they pay me for having this much fun!" he joked in its aftermath.

Having handled the pressure of such a high-profile engagement and gaining confidence in being able to carry a show, the Calgary-born, Vancouver-based artist is now ready to tackle other major bass-baritone roles, and doors of some important houses are opening to the 32-year-old. This season's engagements abroad include the title role of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro for Dallas Opera (Nov.), Swallow in Britten's Peter Grimes for Washington National Opera (Mar./Apr.), Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking for Fort Worth Opera (May, reprising a role he sang to great acclaim for Calgary Opera in 2006) and Theseus in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Milan's Teatro alla Scala (a Robert Carsen/Michael Levine production with fellow Canadian artists Gordon Gietz and Erin Wall, June). …

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