An Understudy Turned Star Shines On The Met Stage | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

An Understudy Turned Star Shines On The Met Stage

Siegfried is a Norse hero, and one of the most demanding roles in all of opera. He slays dragons and has to sing about it — in Gotterdammerung, The Twilight of the Gods, the last opera in Wagner's Ring Cycle.

New York's Metropolitan Opera is currently presenting Gotterdammerung, and now starring in the famously demanding role of Siegfried is the singer who was the understudy for the part until just a few months back: Jay Hunter Morris, who not long ago was selling rollerblades in Central Park and handing out towels at gyms.

Morris was born and raised in Paris, Texas, where he sang in the choir of his Baptist church — his father was a minister there, his mother an organist. He also sang in garage bands in high school.

"But I didn't really have a fire or much of a passion for any of those things. Then my friend took me to see La Traviata in Dallas, and I was so mesmerized by the process," Morris says. "I kept asking my friend the whole night, 'Wait, are you sure they don't have microphones?' "

Morris hung around after the show that night, hoping to meet the cast members as they emerged from backstage. He managed to chat with one of them, the legendary tenor Alfredo Kraus.

"I asked him how I could find out if I actually have the voice for something like this," Morris says. "He pointed me to his friend, a vocal instructor. I had a lesson with him, and he said, 'Son, you might have a voice in there. It's going to take a little work, but if you want to come in and work with me, we'll see what we can do.'"

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

How A Stolen Backpack In Casablanca Inspired A Novel About Shifting Idenity

The main character in Vendela Vida's new novel is alone in Morocco when her bag with her passport and credit cards is stolen. Vida says The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty was inspired by her own travels.
NPR

Why You Should Thank A Caterpillar For Your Mustard And Wasabi

Eons ago, cabbage butterfly larvae and the plants they eat began an evolutionary arms race. The result: "mustard oil bombs" that give the plants, and condiments we make from them, distinctive flavors.

NPR

Chris Christie Declares His Candidacy For President

New Jersey's Republican governor says he is ready "to fight for the people of the United States of America."
WAMU 88.5

Pop Culture Trends in Video Gaming

More women on screen and more exploration are among the trends in video gaming this year. Tech Tuesday explores how pop culture and new technology are changing the gaming experience.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.