Exclusive interview with tenor Matthew Polenzani

T. Knudsen

Opera Focus

At the time of this interview, lyric tenor Matthew Polenzani was in "Don Giovanni" at the Met, which will be closely followed by "La Traviata" (with HD Broadcasts all over the world in April 2012) alongside Natalie Dessay and Dmitri Hvorostovsky."

I’m curious what he remembers from his debut there, how returning again and again has been like and what’s been different for him since he took his first steps onto the Met’s magnificent stage.

“I think very often about my journey at the Met. My debut role was only four words, at the very end of “Boris Godunov”. I got to know many of the members of the chorus, as they were physically abusing me for a good bit of my ten minutes on the stage,” he laughs.

“I remember standing on the stage looking out into the house, and thinking – I am on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, where Pavarotti, Freni, Domingo, Gedda, Nilsson, Kraus, Merrill, Horne, Sills, Tucker, Price, and so many others have stood, making music. It was an incredible rush. Obviously, much has changed in my world since those days, but I remember it very well, and more to the point, those same thoughts come back to me every time I perform there.

The best part about coming back all these years is that now I know many people in the theater. I am comfortable with everyone there; from the stage hands to the costume shop, the artistic department and with all my colleagues. I feel extremely at home there, and appreciate how hard everyone works there to make the Met one of the best opera companies in the world. It really feels like home to me.”

Read the entire feature via Opera Focus