When tenor Nathan Granner and mezzo-soprano Joanna Lynn-Jacobs step on stage for Saturday Mornings at the Opera it will be their first time performing with LA Opera. But it won’t be their first time performing together. They have spent the last couple of years performing together as classmates at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. Both are excited to use their skills and training to share their love of opera with young audiences.
“I can’t wait to see what they laugh at,” says Lynn-Jacobs. “Being in grad school, taking in information, we’re the sponges. And to turn it around and present all that we’ve taken in is exciting.”
The cast has been rehearsing Who Wants to be an Opera Singer? for less than a week and are already cracking each other up, while singing works by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and Rossini. Goofy faces and fits of giggles are right at home in a show that features a giant Wheel of Opera and game show contestants who buzz in with Wotan’s Spear. But the core of the production is the music and the singers’ clear passion for opera.
Granner is excited to present “the diamonds” of opera to young audiences, “those teeny rare pieces of music that everyone should know. These are pieces that are easy to love. This is really amazing music!” Granner’s love for opera is infectious and he’s thoughtful about the importance of introducing the art form to new audiences. “Here there’s a real calling to help us understand where we’ve come from as far as music. And why it still needs to be performed.”
While the music may be new to the audience, the artists stressed the importance of making the characters relatable. “We play people who are just people. Fooling around, figuring it out.” says Lynn-Jacobs. Granner and Lynn-Jacobs will use that goofy relatability, along with stunning singing, to introduce new audiences to opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion January 13 and February 3.
For more information and to purchase tickets to Who Wants to be an Opera Singer?, click here.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.