Candid Conversation with the Count: Meet David Blalock
Every great opera needs a tenor, and Barber is no exception. Paisiello’s love-struck Count Almaviva stops at nothing to get his girl. Making his New York debut with On Site Opera as the ardent Count is rising star tenor, David Blalock. We spoke to David about the excitement of performing in intimate spaces and his unique perspective having performed both Figaro and the Count. Don’t forget to check out the playlist to hear some of his favorite operatic moments!
• OSO: What was the first opera you ever saw?
DB: The first opera I ever saw was H.M.S. Pinafore when I was in college. I absolutely loved it! Gilbert and Sullivan will always hold a special place in my heart.
OSO: Name from an opera…Your favorite:
• OSO: Aria?
DB: This one is constantly changing. I am a huge Benjamin Britten fan, and today the answer is “Now the Great Bear and Pleiades” from Peter Grimes.
•OSO: Love duet?
DB: “Là ci darem la mano” from Giovanni. It’s such beautiful music and I can’t help but smile when I hear it.
DB: The Finale of Falstaff is absolutely fantastic. I adore the entire opera.
DB: Diva – Susan Graham. Not only is she fantastic, but we have the same birthday! Divo – I have to say Jonas Kaufmann. I was lucky enough to sing in the chorus of a production he was in. Being on stage while he was singing is one of the highlights of my singing career.
• OSO: Do you play any instruments? If yes, what instruments?
DB: My mother is a piano teacher, but sadly, I am barely proficient on the piano.
• OSO: Favorite cocktail?
DB: Old-fashioned. Leave out the cherry. Leave out the orange. Leave out the bitters. Just make it a straight rye.
• OSO: Last book you read?
DB: I recently finished “The Long Walk” by Brian Castner. I am singing an opera based on the book this summer.
•OSO: Is this your first time performing Paisiello’s music?
DB: Yes. I must say it has grown on me very much since I began studying the score.
• OSO: Have you performed in the Rossini Barber? If so, what are the differences you note between the two Barbers?
DB: I have! In fact, I sang baritone until I switched to tenor in 2012. The last leading baritone role I did was Rossini’s Figaro while I was in graduate school. The biggest difference for me is the difference in my two characters. I am naturally a ham, so I think Figaro was a great fit for me. However, I am learning that I can have just as much fun singing the Count as well! Plus, it’s nice to finally get the girl.
• OSO: The subtitle of the opera is “The Useless Precaution.” Have you ever taken, what you feel like, are useless precautions? Has the result been as comedic as in the opera?
DB: As an opera singer, I think my career has been full of useless precautions. Nothing ever turns out exactly the way I’d like, no matter what precautions I take. If I’m lucky, the result is comedic.
• OSO: Beaumarchais characters from his “Figaro Trilogy” are some of the most beloved in all of opera. What excites you most about performing Paisiello’s version in a site-specific production?
DB: Singing and performing in an intimate space is always very exciting for me. In a dark hall, it can sometimes feel that the audience is not connected with what is happening on stage. However, when I can see and feel reactions from an audience, especially in a comedy with these characters, I think it enhances what is happening on the stage. There is a wonderful sense of communication with the performers and the audience that I very much enjoy.
• OSO: What is the greatest music-related advice you’ve ever been given?
DB: Sing like you know you have a beautiful voice.
• OSO: Besides On Site’s Barber, what projects are coming up next for you?
DB: Well, as I mentioned earlier, I am singing a world premiere of The Long Walk this summer at Opera Saratoga. It is a true story about how a soldier named Brian Castner deals with the burden of war once he returns from Iraq.
Check out the playlist below to hear some the music mentioned in David’s interview!
Join On Site Opera for Paisiello’s The Barber of Seville
June 9, 11, 12, & 13 at 7:30pm | The Fabbri Mansion
Tickets are $40 and available online at bit.ly/OnSiteBarber or by phone at 866.811.4111.
In the 2014-2015 season, American tenor David Blalock (Count Almaviva) is slated to perform Jaquino in Beethoven’s Fidelio with Madison Opera, Don Ottavio in North Carolina Opera’s production of Don Giovanni and in Silent Night with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Last season, as a Virginia Opera Emerging Artist, David Blalock was heard as First Priest in The Magic Flute, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos and Le Remendado in Carmen. David has also recently completed his second summer as an apprentice artist with Santa Fe Opera, singing Bertram in Rossini’s La donna del Lago and Infirmary Patient in the world premiere of Theodore Morrison’s Oscar. In the spring of 2013, David made his Fort Worth Opera debut as Young Thompson in Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied. From 2009-2011, David was a member of the Maryland Opera Studio in College Park, Maryland. He has also performed as a young artist with the Seagle Music Colony and Ash Lawn Opera, singing roles in La Cenerentola, La bohème, The Magic Flute and Brigadoon. http://www.cami.com/