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Tito Morelli

Lend Me a Tenor

Black Hills Playhouse

Summer 2011

Playing the pompous Italian opera star Tito Morelli in this wonderful farce was exhilarating and illuminating from beginning to end. I began my process by researching and listening to famous tenors of the late 19th/early 20th century, particularly Enrico Caruso. Caruso’s dramatic flair on and off of the stage was a natural reference for playing this part. For dialect work, in addition to drawing on my years of experience singing Italian art songs and arias, I listened to native Italian speakers on the International Dialects of English Archive website, and utilized various dialect texts.


As a fast-paced farce, this play also demanded a great deal of physicality and precise comic timing. I experimented with various dialects of radiant & potent body NRGs in order to find the pompous, yet fragile, and quick to anger and lust physicality of Morelli. I was fortunate to be working with a director in Dan Workman and a stellar cast of actors at the BHP who understood the medium well and made rehearsing a joy of specific playfulness, seemingly random and chaotic to the audience but highly choreographed and timed out to the last second. Directing farce is fun, but acting in a farce is like going to an amusement park every night!

Photos by Black HIlls Playhouse. Used with permission.

Scenic Design by Stephen D. Landon; Lighting Design by John M. Ryan; Costume Design by Jennifer Shouse-Klassen


Gianni Schicchi

Washington Pavilion

Fall 2011

For my first operatic role since graduate school, I started by re-focusing my vocal technique in the warmer, fuller classical style, as opposed to the somewhat lighter and more lyric musical theatre legit style that is my comfort zone.  Reading the libretto and watching reference recordings also helped to reveal how comedic and broad the characters are and this informed my approach to Marco. The most beneficial tool in my process, however, was singing with, and learning from, all of the great operatic singers in the cast with me. It was a bit like riding a bike – I began to feel more comfortable and confident in singing in this style again, and that allowed me to bring more swagger and attitude to,Marco, who fancies himself more of a ladies man than he really is.
Photos by Sounds of South Dakota. Used with permission.
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