Met Dawn Upshaw. She’s a real peach.

Dawn-upshaw.jpgAt Ainadamar rehearsal, I (finally) met Dawn Upshaw. Being a graduate of IWU’s School of Music, she is renowned in those small halls; a legend of artistry and proof that a small school can really produce fine, world-class singers.

I won’t go on-and-on about her singing, its magnificence has been documented enough. I find in this business the real story is who the performers are as person. Are they easy with a smile? Approachable? Do they look you in the eye and at least have a polite manner? That fascinates me much more; the personal, collegial aspects of opera personalities. To bare not only your God-given talent, but also your training and experience on the stage, WHILE maintaining a grip on what it is to be a flesh and blood human off the stage is what makes a singer a real artist. Its one thing to reach star status in this business, but I think it is more important to see how people relate not only the audience, but their colleagues as well once they have landed in that very rare air. Sometimes, I think that is harder for successful singers to understand those of us on terra firma.

Sure, you have your cold-fish: friendly, but not really engaged in meeting you during production. Rarely, you have a real jackass who is clearly offended by your handshake (I won’t Mention Any cuRrent, well-Known Dramatic ELAstic Verdi bAritoNes.) But Dawn Upshaw was clearly personable and charming.

I know her brother-in-law too, so we could both commiserate.

I’ll write about a few other spectacular singers who are, more importantly, extraordinary people that I proudly call friends.

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