Chris Carr recently took some time to answer 10 questions about his life as a opera singer and student. Mr. Carr, who will be starring as Pish Tush in The Mikado, is in his second year in the Lyric Opera/UMKC Apprentice Program and has some exciting plans after he finishes at UMKC this spring. Read below as Mr. Carr talks about how his interest in opera began and why he probably knows how to ride a horse!
1. How did your initial interest in the art form of opera begin?
Mr. Carr: My interest of opera grew during college. I had begun college as a performance major in saxophone and was taking voice lessons for scholarship money. I was put in a production the first semester and I haven’t looked back.
2. Where did you grow up?
Mr. Carr: I grew up in Quasqueton, IA. A small town in Eastern Iowa with a population around 500-600 people. My mother is a horseback riding instructor so we moved there when I was young to start our own farm.
3. What is an average day like for you? Do you have a set routine?
Mr. Carr: An average day for me consists of just a few key things. Rehearsals/practicing, workout, and keeping social. I have no set routines, but I consider it an good day when all three of those things happen.
4. What is your favorite opera to watch/experience?
Mr. Carr: Tough question, but probably Pagliacci. It was the first opera I ever saw that made me realize that I wanted to be an opera singer.
5. What was the first opera to watched/experienced?
Mr. Carr: I believe the first opera I saw was The Magic Flute, when I was probably 12 or so. Funny thing is I hated it! I had no interest in opera and I remember spending the night being fidgety and bored.
6. What language(s) do you speak fluently?
Mr. Carr: Just English
7. What have you learned or experienced during your apprenticeship with the Lyric Opera that has been most helpful? Alternatively, what do you hope to get out of your apprenticeship with the Company?
Mr. Carr: I have been fortunate enough to have the time to understudy several roles in my time here. It gives me a great chance to see how the professionals work on a daily basis and more importantly to me, I get to meet them and connect with people I don’t know. Meeting new people is one of my favorite parts of this job.
As far as what I hope to get out of it, this season is giving me those things. I have some good roles this season and I’m getting to work pretty much full time as a singer. Steady work is a great thing to have.
8. What facts about you would our audiences be surprised to learn?
Mr. Carr: Growing up on a horse farm in small town Iowa, I was trained and competed on horses. I didn’t start singing until college. I had originally intended to be a jazz musician in my life time.
9. The opera role you haven’t performed, but would like to perform the most in your career?
Mr. Carr: Pelleas from Pelléas and Mélisande and Macbeth from Verdi’s Macbeth.
10. If you bumped into me at a coffee shop and learned that I had never been to an opera before, what would you say to entice me to give it a try?
Mr. Carr: I would say that opera would surprise anyone that goes to see it. It’s still entertainment written for everyday enjoyment. The stereotypes of opera are old and outdated. If you give it a chance, you’d probably be surprised. I have yet to meet someone who went to the opera for the first time and didn’t walk out happy.
For more information about the upcoming Lyric Opera production of The Mikado, click here.