Artist of the Week: Joseph Lattanzi
American Baritone Makes San Francisco Opera DebutBy Francisco Salazar
The week the San Francisco Opera will showcase “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” for the first time in the company’s history. The production will feature a cast that includes Joseph Lattanzi, a baritone making his debut with the San Francisco Opera in the role Paul Jobs for the very first time.
Over the past years, Lattanzi has been on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera and has performed with the Seattle Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera, Virginia Opera, Atlanta Opera, and PROTOTYPE festival, among others.
His varied repertoire also includes roles by Rossini, Leoncavallo, Bizet, Mozart, and Kevin Puts. He is also well-known for his portrayal of Hawkins Fuller in Gregory Spears’ “Fellow Travelers.”
OperaWire had a short interview with Lattanzi regarding his upcoming debut at the San Francisco Opera and what excites him about the Steve Jobs opera.
OperaWire: What does it mean to debut in San Francisco Opera?
Joseph Lattanzi: I’m thrilled to debut at San Francisco Opera. I’ve had a long association with the company including two summers in the Merola Opera Program and a cover assignment as Don Giovanni but this will be my principal debut and I sincerely hope it’s the first of many to come. It’s especially amazing to think that they are now in their second century of producing opera at 101 years old, so to think of the long list of historic stars who have sung there is mind-blowing. There are photos of Mirella Freni and Birgit Nilsson on the walls in my dressing room reminding me of the legacy and inspiring me to strive for more.
OW: What excites you about the Steve Jobs opera?
JL: I’m playing the role of Steve’s adopted father, Paul, and covering the role of Steve so I’ve really gotten to dive deep into the piece. I think I’m most excited to see how the audience reacts – it’s different from anything else I’ve seen on the operatic stage with the integration of electronic sounds and beats patched live during the performance by composer Mason Bates in the orchestra pit! The orchestration is magical and I think it’ll wash over an operatic audience in ways that are familiar from our everyday digital lives but new to the opera house.
At the same time, it tells a very human story of a mythical giant of our time, someone who is already legendary to a contemporary audience in the ways perhaps “Orpheus and Eurydice” or “Dido and Aneas” were to some of opera’s first audiences.
OW: What are you looking forward to this season?
JL: While I’m excited to be part of contemporary works like “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” and “Fellow Travelers,” my heart really loves the standard operatic canon so I’m most excited to revisit “Don Giovanni” at Arizona Opera and to debut Belcore in “L’elisir d’amore” at Minnesota Opera. I’m one of those singers who wants to sing and perform it all, so I say bring on the whole gamut of repertoire!
For those not in San Francisco, Lattanzi is also set to perform with the Dayton Opera, Opera Parallele, Arizona Opera, and Atlanta Symphony.
For those who are interested in listening to Lattanzi’s acclaimed portrayal in “Fellow Travelers,” he is on the world premiere recording and is also part of the album “Gathering” by Ben Moore.
Here he is in clips from “The Barber of Seville” and “Carmen.”