Magazine article Opera Canada

Debut: Tenor Gary Rideout Steps Up to Take the Leads

Magazine article Opera Canada

Debut: Tenor Gary Rideout Steps Up to Take the Leads

Article excerpt

GARY RIDEOUT'S AUNT THELMA CLAIMS HE IS Canada's best-kept secret. "She says I have all the goods but no one knows about me," laughs the tenor. That status, however, could change as a result of Rideout's stunning performance as Loge in Das Rheingold in the Arizona Opera's Ring Cycle this past summer, which earned the singer rapturous reviews.

"I was reluctant to audition for Loge because I thought my voice was too sweet for the role, but once I started my research, Loge, as a character, became enticing." Rideout says. "He is fire, and that is something that should be feared and respected--a power to be harnessed--yet fire is also quixotic, and of many colors. I felt that the role could be more meaningful, and I played Loge for all he was and all he was capable of being. One review said I stole the show."

Rideout was born in Hartland, New Brunswick, but didn't stay there--or anywhere--for too long, since his father worked for various power companies in Canada and the United States. Rideout was a talented boy soprano, but after his voice changed, he left singing behind him. However, Grade Eleven in Ortonville, Michigan, was one of the many turning points of his career. He had to pick up a music course to fill out his timetable, a move that reawakened his love of music. At Michigan State University, though, Rideout chose to major in English, once again leaving music to one side. Finally, in Toronto, where he'd returned to take a masters program at York University, he began singing again for the third time. "The desire to perform was very strong," he says, "although somewhere at the back of my mind, I thought I'd be a writer." After dabbling in community theatre and augmenting his training by a series of acting, dance and improvisation lessons, Rideout established a busy professional career. "I'd take any class that was going," he says, "because you never knew who was going to offer you a job."

During a run in Thunder Bay when Rideout was playing Lt. Cable in South Pacific, the music director suggested he should study voice seriously. This led to a year at the Royal Conservatory. Says Rideout: "The more singing lessons I took, the more it became clear that my voice was large--bigger than musical theatre--so I entered the Opera Division at the University of Toronto." He also went to Italy for three months where he studied with Tito Gobbi and Gina Cigna.

Once he discovered opera, Rideout threw himself into a meticulous study of his craft. He successfully auditioned for the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble, where he spent three fruitful years playing a host of comprimario roles and covering leads. …

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