Page 37 - Classical Singer magazine 2019 Fall University Issue
P. 37

entire career. When asked how he achieved such astonishing success in such a short time, Gri ey is modest. “It was being in the right place and right time,” he says, “along with positive word of mouth.” In 1994, Gri ey made a smooth transition across the street from the Juilliard School to the Metropolitan Opera as a new member of their Young Artist Program. Clearly, he was at the right place at the right time—and his remarkable artistry probably didn’t hurt his chances.
Acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa heard Gri ey after he completed his  rst year at the Met. The Tanglewood festival was considering vocalists for roles in their upcoming production
of P eter Grimes. Advisors encouraged Gri ey to audition for the role of Bob Boles, but he made the gutsy choice instead to learn and o er selections from the title role. “I felt like I had
more to say as Peter Grimes,” he remembers. “I related to the role of an outsider in a small town.”
“I was bullied, and I prayed from the time I got on the bus to the time I reached my desk. Eventually, I walked several miles to school because I was afraid to ride the bus with those bullies.”
Gri ey’s deep connection with Peter Grimes was apparent to Ozawa,
and his debut the following summer placed him in front of powerful individuals in the music industry,
including composer André Previn (who would eventually write the
role of Harold “Mitch” Mitchell for Gri ey in A S treetcar N amed Desire
at San Francisco Opera), other  rst-rate conductors, and an agent
at Columbia Artists Music who immediately welcomed Gri ey to the roster.
The eponymous character of Peter Grimes became a springboard for extraordinary success along Gri ey’s artistic path. In 1998, he stepped
into the role at the Met, and he once again portrayed Peter Grimes at the Glyndebourne Festival, the Opéra Bastille, Santa Fe Opera, and in the new Met production and HD broadcast in 2008. In 2013,
he headlined a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall performance of
Scene from 2018 production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw
Discover Western’s
Alumni Adrianne Pieczonka, Michael Schade, and John Tessier are examples of the success of our program which o ers:
. Three staged opera productions
. Weekly 1.5 hour lessons for performance students
. Many performance opportunities including Baroque and contemporary ensembles
. Masterclasseswith international artists such as Martin Katz, Wendy Nielsen, Edith Wiens, Johannes Debus, Richard Margison,
Jane Archibald and Russell Braun 37

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