Page 101 - Classical Singer magazine 2019 Fall University Issue
P. 101

won his  rst Tony Award at 73 years old. After decades of turning in acclaimed performances in musicals from The Wiz to The Full Monty, De Shields took home the win this year for best featured actor in a musical for his performance in H adestown. For Heggie, the acceptance speech was a highpoint of the evening.
The advice: “Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming,” De Shields said. “Slowly is the fastest way to get where you want to be.” And,  nally, “the top of the mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.”
Heggie also says a reality check never hurts. “In a Q&A,” he says, “if someone asks me, ‘How do you do this? It’s so hard!’ I say, ‘Just being able to ask that question is a privilege. That this gets to be our hardship.’
“Because you know what’s really hard? Being an immigrant from
another country. Having kids you can’t take care of, you’re not protected, you don’t feel safe. That’s hard.
“Let’s talk reality. Keeping perspective is really important. And always keeping your main address gratitude. It’s not easy to do that in this profession.
“Rejection is hard. It’s scary. It’s not secure. But how lucky are you to be pursuing a life in singing?”
Next up, Heggie will accompany mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton for a recording of his songs that will also include an aria from If I W ere You. It so happens I interviewed Barton just days after my interview with Heggie, and the two traded compliments, thrilled to be working together again and appreciative that they seem to share the same philosophy of  nding joy in a labor of love. The album will be released by Pentatone sometime next year.
Heggie’s next task, after our interview, is an errand to the Mac store to buy an oversized iPad to
read from at the piano. An unwieldy amount of paper has inspired him to  nally bow to the god of technology. In one way, the choice is surprisingly modern, given his penchant for pencil and paper—but in another, it is consistent with a practicality he urges composers to adopt.
“We have to remember we are not curing cancer here,” he says. “We’re not performing brain surgery. We’re doing theatre. And, yes, every part
of it matters. But we need to be  exible, and theatre especially has to be  exible because you have di erent singers with di erent voices and di erent talents.”
Lisa H ouston’s bio can be found on page 73.
Michelle Vera as  e Queen of the Night and Fritz Hepler as Tamino, 2019 produc- tion of Mozart’s “ e Magic Flute”
Westmont announces the
Second Annual Westmont Music Guild Vocal Competition for High School Seniors and Community College Students
$2,000 in cash prizes
Up to $200,000 in combined Westmont College Music Scholarship Assistance to be offered to  nalists
By invitation only based on application and pre- screening audition
Competition Date: February 23, 2020, live on the Westmont College Campus in Santa Barbara, CA
Application Deadline, December 1, 2019
For Application Information contact 805-565-6040 101

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