Be a “Charakter”: New Interview Coming Soon!

We’ll soon post an interview with a tenor who made a life and career in Germany NOT singing Manrico, Nemorino, Siegfried and the like. No, he sang roles where you don’t have to be concerned with looking pretty, or heroic. He was someone who is in almost every opera and who theaters always need, yet Americans barely know about. The American opera system tends to think of these roles as stepping stones for young singers to get a foot in the door, and are not the ones teachers in music school talk about and measure their singers against. But most operas can’t be done without them and they represent a range of vocal and theatrical challenges unknown to most ‘major’ singers.

In Michael Peghar’s case they are the “spiel” or “charakter” tenors. Somewhat similar to the “secondos” or “comprimarios” that mezzo’s and basses know all about, since there’s always a nurse, lady in waiting or father somewhere and operas can’t be done without them. Many a singer has made a life of these roles. Theaters may need them more than the lead singers who are usually considered to be engaged for one or two productions. But a singer who can be in five or six shows? Do the math!

(Michael J. Pegher as Hilarion in Die Versuchung des Heiligen Anotnius)

So if you’re always getting the smaller roles just behind the supposedly “hot” talents…you might be just what German theaters need. Give it some thought…there are some fantastic and fantastically difficult and rewarding roles out there. Take a look at the First Jew in Salome and tell me if you could get it right! And the great Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli didn’t think it was beneath him to sing Beppe’s aria in Pagliacci. He even recorded a version. And then there’s Mime, which, as someone who has sung the title role in Wagner’s Siegfried, I can testify is musically and dramatically as difficult as the “lead” tenor. Last but not least, in Germany “Charakter” tenors fairly often develop into Helden tenors after ten or fifteen years of safe singing and stage experience.

So check out Michael Pegher’s website & next week keep an eye out for our interview (we’ll be publishing it soon!), because he went through the entire process from US music conservatory to a singing career in Germany. He covered a vast range of operatic characters and vocal types and even saw the theater from the administrative side. His insights will open your eyes.

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