Magazine article Opera Canada

Brett Polegato

Magazine article Opera Canada

Brett Polegato

Article excerpt

Baritone Brett Polegato has been criss-crossing the Atlantic a lot lately. He started the season with Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre in Russia for a run as Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, just a year after making a successful Bolshoi Theatre debut singing his first Wozzeck. After returning to Toronto, he plunged into preparations for his newest role, Starbuck in Jake Heggie's I Moby Dick, opening at Calgary Opera in January 2012 with Ben Heppner reprising his Captain Ahab. Polegato will be celebrating his 20th year as an opera singer in 2012, making him a relative veteran in the business despite his still remarkably youthful demeanour. Over two decades, he has developed into an estimable artist. Even in a country blessed with a number of fine baritones, Polegato stands out for the beauty of his voice and impeccable musicianship. It was no fluke that he was chosen to represent I Canada at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 1995. He didn't win, but as the only man in the finals, it did help launch an international career that has taken him to such leading international centres as Milan, Paris, Geneva and Munich. Happily I for local audiences, he still calls Canada home, and has appeared frequently in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

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Now with the vocal maturity of a singer in his 40s, Polegato's lyric baritone has darkened and gained in volume and power, opening up new repertoire. Part of being an artist, in his view, is the willingness to be stretched and to grow "I consider myself incredibly lucky to be embarking on this new stage, " he says. " For a lyric baritone to have a long career, he has to think about transitioning. Once you're in your 40s, who wants to keep seeing you as Papageno?"

Having successfully expanded his core repertoire to include Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, Heerrufer (Lohenerin) and Wiz - Beck, he now looks forward to adding Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde) and Posa (Don Carlos). Even though Pelleas has been something of a signature role, he is ready to try his hand at Golaud in the not-too-distant future, and will revisit Onegin and Wozzeck in the next few seasons. In concert, he looks forward to Zemlinsky's Lyrische Symphonie in Montreal with conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin and rising star soprano Angela Meade (Mar. …

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