Interview with DVOC's Thad Shirey
Tonight, I had the pleasure of interviewing baritone, Thad Shirey, who is singing the role of Giorgio Germont, in the DVOC's production of Verdi's famous opera, "La Traviata." during our Summer 2017 Festival.
Hi Thad! Thanks for letting me interview you!
What drew you to audition for the roll of Giorgio Germont in "La Traviata"?
Well, I've done the character before...about 12-13 times! But, I wanted to do it again. I like singing it. I had not sung this part with DVOC before. It was my opportunity to do that.
How long have you been singing with the Delaware Valley Opera Company?
I think I sang the first time with them about 1986. (Wow!)
What was your first roll with DVOC?
I played Lescaut, Manon's cousin from the opera “Manon” by Massenet. I did that with Sandy Day (the co-founder and president of DVOC), she was the lead female. I've done quite a few shows with her back in the day.
Have you always known you wanted to be a singer, or did the passion develop over time?
No, I think I've always known it. I was singing and performing as a child. I've been singing forever!
Are you involved in other musical/performance endeavors currently?
I teach voice theater at the Community Music School in Collegeville, PA. And there is possibility that I may do the opera, "The Tales of Hoffman" in the fall.
What do you do when you are not singing opera?
Resting. (Big laugh) I'm usually teaching. I do a lot of teaching here. (Side note: Our interview is happening over the phone while Thad is on an intermission from a concert at Community Music School.)
Tell us something about yourself that no one would ever guess.
Hmmmmm. I'm really a vampire! Hah!
Ummm, I don't know. I have met some very interesting people. I met Ernest Hemingway when I was a little boy. How did you meet? What did he say to you? I was walking down the beach in one of the keys in Florida, maybe Key West or Key Largo. I don't know which, I was about 5 years old. He was surf fishing on the beach and he showed me how to surf fish. I had wandered off and my mom came to find me. When she found me she was kind of stunned and didn't know what to say. He was just an old man fishing as far as I was concerned.
I was always meeting authors. I met Anne Rice because she really liked my singing. It was on QE2 (Queen Elizabeth) cruise ship on its last cruise. She was on there signing books and I was one of the entertainers on the cruise.
I also met Truman Capote and Andy Warhol at a book signing in NY. What was Andy Warhol wearing? Some kind of dark black outfit. I don't really remember.
What is your favorite opera roll that you have played and why?
I think this one. Germont in "La Traviata" is my favorite roll to sing. I think that's why I wanted to do it again.
Why are you excited about La Traviata? And why do you think people should come see the show?
Well it's a familiar opera, with some familiar tunes in it that people will recognize. The story is good. The music's beautiful. Not a bad note in the score...for anybody. You don't have to be an expert on opera to enjoy it.
Thanks for giving us a peek into your life! I look forward to seeing you perform this Sunday!
Come hear Thad Shirey and the Delaware Valley Opera Company, in their last performance of "La Traviata," on Sunday, June 18th, 2017 at 3pm at the Venice Island Performing Arts Center in Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA. Buy your tickets here or at the door!