It was a pivotal moment in my growth as an opera singer, becoming unhinged onstage. It opened up not only the character but my singing.Opera News
When varitone Brian Mulligan laughs, the sound has the depth and unvarying resonance of a cathedral bell. It’s the sort of thing you would expect to hear if, after a hard day of initiation ceremonies at the brotherhood, one of the lesser priests told Sarastro a really good dirty joke.
Most often, the laugh comes when Mulligan has just said something with charming self-deprecation. During an interview last February, an early example came when he summed up one unexpected benefit of an opera career—the chance to work with great stage directors. His first was Ed Berkeley at Juilliard. “Ed sat me down and talked with me about being emotionally available, onstage and in rehearsal. He said to me if I were emotionally available to him and to other directors, and to my colleagues, that there was this whole being that could be tapped into. And he was right. Probably if anything now these days I’m a little too emotionally available onstage.” The laughter began to build. Mulligan describes David Alden’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor, which he has sung in several cities: “David’s take on Lucia is that the madness in the family is hereditary, and that it hit Enrico before it hit Lucia. David challenged me to be really out there, like out-of-my-mind crazy. It was a pivotal moment in my growth as an opera singer, becoming unhinged onstage. It opened up not only the character but my singing. And a lot of people have seen me sing in that production, and I think that’s what has gotten me into this little lunatic niche that I’ve found myself in.”
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