This is the first installment in what I hope to be a regular series of interviews with friends of mine who are actively pursuing careers in classical music. Matthew Anchel is a bass and native New Yorker currently spending the season as a Domingo-Thornton Young Artist at the Los Angeles Opera.
Jacob Paul: Good Evening Matt
Matthew Anchel: Hello Jacob!!
JP: I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to join me today from clear across the country.
MA: Oh goodness, it’s my pleasure!
JP: Now Matt, what was your reaction when you learned you would be joining LA Opera‘s prestigious Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program for the 2010-2011 Season?
MA: Well! It had been such a big journey, literally. When you audition for the program you submit an audio recording and if they like it you’re flown out to LA to sing for them in person.That first round of live auditions is the semifinals, and in that audition I sang 3 arias and after I was finished, they asked me “Do you think you’re ready for a program like this? You haven’t finished your degree, and you’re 22!” and I stomped my foot and said, “YES! I’M READY!!!!” And then I got to the final round where you sing for Placido Domingo.
JP: And what was that like? Singing for a living legend…
MA: well, I was sort of surprised because I didn’t really realize I’d be singing on the big stage, and then I walked out and was like, “Oh…so….this is it…”but I saw Placido in the distance and he smiled and waved. It was a fun audition!
JP: And how has the season treated you thus far?
MA: Well, it was an ENORMOUS educational experience.Lohengrin had some big time singers in it, Dolora Zajick, Ben Heppner, Soile Isokoski, and it was all under the baton of James Conlon, who is amazing. I only had a small part in it, but being surrounded by these amazing artists and just seeing how they work, how they interact with Stage Management, coaches, etc, it was all a huge learning experience. Rigoletto was fun because I had a slightly bigger role, Count Ceprano, and had a fabulous costume with sequins and feathers! Great cast too!
JP: Sounds like it. And why don’t you share your exciting news for the 2011-2012 season.
MA: Ha! Well, I’ll be moving to Leipzig, Germany to become a member of the ensemble at Leipzig Oper for the next two seasons!
JP: Any news on what your assignments will be when you arrive?
MA: so far I know I will be singing Alaska Wolf Joe in Rise anf Fall of Mahagonny, Harasta in Cunning Little Vixen, 2nd Armored Man in Magic Flute, Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata and a few other things.