Artist Spotlight: Tenor Douglas McDonnell

Douglas McDonnell, Tenor

Tenor Douglas McDonnell is equally at home within Opera, Operetta and Musical Theater. He will be making his Opera Company of Brooklyn debut as Sir Edgar Aubry in the upcoming performance of Der Vampyr on Oct. 29. Recent leads include Herodes (Salome), Nicholas Nickleby, Giovanni (Rappaccini’s Daughter), Tom Jones, Azor, Don Juan (The Death of Don Juan), Macheath (The Beggar’s Opera), Adam (In Questionable Taste: Garden of Eden), Lohengrin (excerpts, Berlin concert), The Perfect Man, Howard (The Vine of the Soul), Sailor (Dido and Aeneas), Strephon (Iolanthe). Performed with the Metropolitan Opera for 18 years in a wide range of solo, chorus, and acting roles. Upcoming roles include Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus) and the Leading Man in Grand Theft Musical.


How did you get into Opera?

I auditioned for and was accepted into the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera children’s choruses when I was 9 years old. I sang at each for 5 years, becoming a soloist at each one, and fell madly in love with opera. I realized very early on that it performing in Opera was the life I wanted!


What, in your opinion, makes OCB unique?

The variety of operas put on and the fullness of each season.


How do you relax when not on stage?

Relax? I’m sorry, could you define that word for me?


Do you have any advice for other singers?

Learn how to act as well as you can sing. That’s the only way to fully connect with the members of the audience.


What are your dream roles?

Tannhauser, Otello, Parsifal, Tristan, Don Alvaro in Forza.


Which colleagues do you admire?

Placido Domingo. Such an incredible singer and musician. Jussi Bjoerling, Enrico Caruso, Francesco Tomagno, and Lauritz Melchior. What incomparable voices and vocal techniques!

What/who is your favorite opera and composer? Why?

Richard Wagner. The best music ever composed by anyone in the entire history of all music, both melodically and emotionally, period.


Which character (not in your voice range) would you most like sing and why?

Scarpia. What fun to play such a lecherous villain!


What other music do you listen to?

Jazz and classic rock


Do you read books/watch movies to prepare for a role?

Almost never. If I do, it’s to get a sense of the bigger story if the role is abbreviated from the original (like Shakespeare), I want to create the character I am playing completely from scratch on my own whenever possible. Preconceived notions are an interference with that process. I want the emotions I am portraying to be completely authentic and come from within.


How do you balance a career with a life offstage?

When someone figures out the answer to that question I sure hope they will let me know!


How do you unwind after singing?

Go out with the cast and blow off some steam at the local tavern of choice.


The dreaded question: Have you ever appeared in Phantom of the Opera?

No. Unfortunately. I’d most certainly love to if given the chance.


Opera Company of Brooklyn Presents: Der Vampyr on Saturday, October 29 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.

Categories Blog, News | Tags: , , , , , , , | Posted on October 18, 2016

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