Thursday, June 23, 2011

Interview With Hockey Player-Turned-Opera Singer Elliot Madore

"You can add Elliot Madore to that ever-growing list of 'only in the age of Obama.' Madore is a 'half-black' (his phrase) Canadian former hockey player who now sings opera (baritone) in leading roles on the world’s major stages. He has a paid position in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and for the Saturday matinee at Opera Theatre of St. Louis he will close the curtain on his performance in the title role of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The Opera Theatre of St. Louis production (directed by James Robinson and Michael Shell, with choreography by Sean Curran) is so rich in physical comedy it verges on slapstick. It makes the most of the vital athleticism of this former hockey player, who has leading man looks reminiscent of former NBA star (and fellow Canadian) Rick Fox."

The Don Juan of Missouri: Elliot Madore in Don Giovanni (Photo: Ken Howard)
The article about the singer attempts to broach the topic of opera productions being colorblind, but the multiple uses of the awkward phrase "half-black" gets in the way. Not to mention this tidbit, "In addition to staging an incredibly athletic production, Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ casting is as ethnically diverse as it gets. The leading lady who has been abandoned by Don Giovanni, Donna Elvira, is played by Kishani Jayasinghe. The beautiful soprano hails from Sri Lanka, an island nation off the southeast coast of India, though from the seats at the Loretto-Hilton in Webster Groves, she is easily mistaken for an African American....In fact, Madore replaced another actor in the lead role just a week before rehearsals commenced, and the switch from a non-black lead to a 'half-black' lead required no changes whatsoever in conceptualizing the production." [Source]

If the photo above taken from the Don Giovanni production looks familiar, you might want to check out why after the jump.

An image of model Peter Johnson taken by famed photographer Bruce Weber:

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