Magazine article Opera Canada

Phillip Addis

Magazine article Opera Canada

Phillip Addis

Article excerpt

This is shaping up as a breakthrough season for Phillip Addis. The Port Colbourne, Ont.-born baritone sang his first Belcore last fall in L'ehsir d'amore for Atlanta Opera, followed by his New York debut for Opera Francais de New York as Roderick Usher in Debussy's unfinished and rarely performed The Fall of the House of Usher January took Addis to Calgary Opera for his first John Brooke in Mark Adamo's Little Women, with an all-Canadian cast. In April, he'll have a gig at home, as the Count in Opera Atelier's new, English-language The Marriage of Figaro, the only role he has sung previously. Then in June, to close the season, he makes his Paris debut as Pelleas in Pelleas el Melisande at the Opera-Comique, under the baton of Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

For someone in the first decade of a professional career, Addis has come a long way very quickly. His first professional engagement, he good-naturedly confesses, was as Yakuside in an Opera de Montreal Madama Butterfly:"My one solo line was cut, so my debut consisted of playing the wedding chimes!"

Addis majored in music at Queen's University, playing the tuba and singing in the chamber choir on the side. From a chance lesson with baritone/voice teacher Bruce Kelly, a whole new world opened up, and, as he says, "I was hooked." He switched to vocal performance and never looked back.

After graduation, he enrolled in the two-year diploma program at the University ofToronto's opera school, studying with Patricia Kern. He then joined Opera de Montreal's Atelier Lyr-ique, which is where lie cut His professional teeth.

Even in a crowded field of lyric baritones, Addis has qualities that set him apart. His sound is rich, smooth, focused and even from top to bottom, a litde reminiscent of a young Gerald Finley and ideal in the French and Italian repertoires-Together with boyish looks and an engaging stage presence, it's no surprise his star is rising.

Perhaps his most important debut is as Pelleas at Opera-Comique, where the work had its premiere in 1902. At a prerehcarsal session called by Gardiner last December, Addis was struck by the atmosphere of the theatre and the pervasive sense of history. …

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