Abdiel Vazquez, Conductor and Pianist
Mexican Conductor and Pianist Abdiel Vásquez returns to OCB to conduct Dialogues des Carmelites. He has previously conducted OCB’s past production of Simon Boccanegra. Abdiel has had an extensive international career. Hailed by the press in Mexico as “a national treasure,” he has also worked with singers like Javier Camarena and Maria Katzarava in recitals, concerts, and opera companies. His new Wagner/Verdi album “Love & Death” has been praised by the international press for displaying “virtuoso hands, the mind of a conductor, the imagination of an orchestrator, the spirit of an improviser, and the heart of a singer.” Read below for our interview of OCB asks…
How did you get into Opera?
I discovered opera in my teen years thanks to Napster, the infamous file sharing app of the early 2000s. The first thing I randomly discovered was the first act duet of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and I was sold right away. Later I shared the news with my piano teacher who happened to be also a very famous coach in Mexico (and later director of the Opera company in my hometown) and he took the news with delight, guiding me through the repertoire and his knowledge of the human voice.
What, in your opinion, makes OCB unique?
It’s relaxed, low key format allows all audiences to approach opera in close-up and allows singers to take risks.
How do you relax when not on stage?
Going out with friends, spending time at home with my wife, reading, walking.
Do you have any advice for other singers?
Excellence is not a secret, it’s a habit that’s forged every day – the higher your expectations are of yourself, the farther you will get.
What are your dream roles?
I dream of conducting Salome, Elektra, or Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss. But I usually fall in love with whatever I’m studying at the moment, and I study so much that everything ends up creeping up in my dreams!
Which colleagues do you admire?
Anyone that sets a high bar for themselves, not matter how big or small a part they play, or how big or small the gig is. We all have a lot to learn from these people.
What/who is your favorite opera and composer? Why?
This one is almost impossible. Currently Verdi – he seems to know the human voice better than everybody else. He’s almost like a teacher. I think he is followed by R. Strauss in this regard.
Which character (not in your voice range) would you most like sing and why?
I would sing any tenor role, especially Don Jose (Carmen), but alas, I’m only a conductor and a pianist.
What other music do you listen to?
Rock, 70s, 80s, and 90s – especially to get pumped up before my solo piano concerts.
Do you read books/watch movies to prepare for a role?
Whenever I study an opera or any piece of music, I try to get acquainted with any literature or art behind it or around it. It’s always quite enlightening.
How do you balance a career with a life offstage?
Keep a schedule, be organized, plan ahead, when it comes to career. When it comes to life offstage, improvise! Take risks, try new things, meet new people and get to know them, expand your world.
How do you unwind after singing?
After any concert, I try to have a good dinner and drinks, preferably in great company.
Number Thirteen, the dreaded question: Have you ever appeared in Phantom of the Opera?
No, although I wouldn’t mind.
Opera Company of Brooklyn Presents: Dialogues des Carmelites on Saturday, October 8 from 7 PM to 9:45 PM at 600 W 218th Street, 1 G, NY, NY 10034. Tickets are a suggested donation of $20 in advance, $40 day of and can be reserved online here. For more information about the production and cast, click here.