Will Liverman is set to make history at the Metropolitan Opera.
The rising star baritone, who made his Met debut in 2018, will become the first African American to take on the role of Papageno at the Metropolitan Opera in the company’s 469th performance of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”
“Being the first black Papageno at the Metropolitan Opera is so meaningful to me on a few different levels,” Liverman told OperaWire. “Firstly, it is humbling to be a small part of such a rich history at the Metropolitan Opera. ‘The Magic Flute’ has been performed about 450 times at the Met since 1900, and the role of Papageno is one of the most well known baritone roles in the operatic repertoire. It’s already special enough to sing a leading role on the Met stage, but to also make history and break through that barrier of how Papageno has been portrayed in the past one hundred years really hits home.
“Most importantly, I want to use this opportunity to influence and empower the wave of black opera singers who are coming up behind me just as I was influenced watching black opera singers in front of me on the operatic stage. There is still work to be done as we continue to push for diversity and inclusion, but I hope this opportunity serves as a reminder that change is possible and it is happening,” he continued. “I hope someone out there who catches my performances can be inspired when they look on the Met stage, and see someone who looks like them.”
Liverman will join the ranks of such legendary baritones as Gerald Finley, Stéphane Degout, Simon Keenlyside, Nathan Gunn, Hakan Hagegard, Thomas Allen, and Gottfried Hornik, among others.
The baritone will sing on Jan. 2 and 4, 2020 alongside a cast that includes Ying Fang, So Young Park, Paul Groves, and Soloman Howard.