Steve Witting, Stage Director
Stage Director Steve Witting, a New Yorker from Queens, began his career in opera as a supernumerary at the Metropolitan Opera House. He was discovered by John Dexter in the crowded masked ball scene in Verdi’s opera and went on to create the lead mime roles in Parade (a French triple bill) and the Stravinsky triple bill. For the next four years, he was mentored by Dexter in the craft of directing opera and theater; studying the productions of Billy Budd, Lulu, The Rise and Fall of The City of Mahogany and The Dialogue of the Carmelites. He directs plays at The Weathervane Repertory Theater and opera with Trill Vocal Productions, New York Lyric Opera and The Opera Company of Brooklyn. Read below as Steve shares his experience with OCB.
How did you get into Opera?
My earliest memories of opera were of drinking tea with my Grandmother while listening to the “Live from the Met” radio broadcasts on Saturday afternoons. In fifth grade I went on a class trip to the Metropolitan Opera to see Tosca. At age 20 I worked as a supernumerary at the Met. The next season I was introduced to John Dexter and was mentored by him for four years in the craft of stage directing.
What, in your opinion, makes OCB unique?
The intimate setting brings the audience to a rare communion with the most ancient and beautiful classical instruments, the human voice.
How do you relax when not on stage?
I like to read and reread Shakespeare.
Do you have any advice for other singers?
Acting is easy. singing is hard. I am in awe of singers.
What are your dream roles?
I would love to direct a marionette puppet version of L’enfant et les Sortiléges
Which colleagues do you admire?
My late mentor, John Dexter.
What/who is your favorite opera and composer? Why?
I love Dialogues Des Carmelites by Francis Poulenc because of it’s rare success of pairing agitated, intelligent, postwar composition with an almost unfathomable dramatization of religious martyrdom during the French revolution.
Which character (not in your voice range) would you most like sing and why?
Falstaff, because he is a great comic character who is deeply human.
What other music do you listen to?
Lately I’ve been listening jazz legend Sidney Bechet.
Do you read books/watch movies to prepare for a role?
Usually books, they encourage my imagination much more effectively than movies or tv.
How do you balance a career with a life offstage?
Luckily my life onstage is my career.
How do you unwind after singing?
A double scotch.
The dreaded question: Have you ever appeared in Phantom of the Opera?
No, but I know a tour guide on the Circle Line boats who was in the national tour.
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.