Article Written by Stephen Bell – Marketing/Development @coffeescreative
At Coffeeshop Creative we are not only passionate about designing and developing a unique web presence for our clients, but also sharing their stories. We are super excited to share another story in our series of blogs – Grabbing Coffee. Today’s feature – the engaging and exciting Baritone, Peter Barrett. As we are designing the upcoming launch of his custom website, we recently caught up with Peter for coffee at Toronto’s epic java spot Te Aro Coffee . So grab your favourite cup of java and get to know a little about this talented and charismatic singer!
For more information on Peter, please visit his representation’s website Zemsky/Green
Peter Barrett, Michael Schade, & COC Chorus in Die Fledermaus- Photo: Chris Hutchenson
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m originally from Corner Brook, Newfoundland. I have been singing or performing in various genres since the age of five. I love the arts, but I’m also an avid outdoorsman. When I’m not working, I enjoy exploring the ocean on my Seadoo, and in the colder months, I venture out across the north western terrain of Newfoundland on my snowmobile. I live in Toronto with my wife, whose also a singer, and our sweet little boy, Matthew. I feel very fortunate to have chosen this career path, and to have been granted many wonderful opportunities to travel and perform all over the world. There are inherent challenges that accompany this career, primarily the time away from family, but we manage to negotiate those pitfalls (with the help of Facetime;) and balance the many rewards that come with the job!
Photo Credit- Bo Huang
What inspires you with operatic & concert singing?
I’m always excited to start a new project with a company. I enjoy the familiarity of recreating a signature role, but what really excites me is fabricating a new role and character and exploring the endless possibilities of live performance. Every production, and in fact, every show, has a slightly variant dynamic. I’m inspired each time I step out on stage to remain visceral and present, and to commit to captivating an audience. I love the fact that I’ve been invited to take these individuals on a journey. I’m also inspired by my colleagues. Whether I’m participating on stage, or as an audience member, there are those incredible “goose bump” moments that are transcendent. In a time when so much is blatant and overly accessible, that intangible feeling is priceless. Storytelling is a powerful platform, and opera is perhaps the most elevated version of this.
Dr. Malatesta with the late John Del Carlo, Mat Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien and Anna Netrebko- Metropolitan Opera Don Paquale
Having covered multiple roles at the Metropolitan Opera, tell us a little about the preparation needed for a role on the opera’s biggest stage?
My relationship with the Metropolitan Opera has been truly rewarding. Of course, I’d love for every project I accept to be in a principle capacity. Cover work, particularly at the Met, is as involved a process as any. These contracts tend to be long, which means an extended time away from home. Mercifully, the schedule is always packed! If I’m not watching principle staging, I’m participating in my own stagings and rehearsals. I prepare for these roles just as I would any other, and review constantly throughout the run since the shows are often several days to a week apart. The Met has become a home away from home, which is a gift, really. Walking the maze of halls and passageways within that building, you’re likely to run into a mix of friends and what I consider to be the ultra elite stars of our time. I recall that for my first ever audition there, mid-aria….Placido Domingo walked into the room, gave a small wave, and took a seat!!!! Pretty hard to keep your cool when that happens, but I did, kinda of;) My first cover was Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale. The cast was stacked…the late John Del Carlo, Mat Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien and Anna Netrebko, Levine conducting. I received a call at about 3:30 on February 14th, to say that Mr. Kwiecien was ill and I was to perform in place. I had a brief moment of panic, and then, it was game time! Most of the evening was a blur of adrenaline, but I remember specific moments.Towards the end of Act 1, there’s a high energy scene between Malatesta and Norina, we were to preset on the stage before the curtain went up on Norina’s apartment. Anna was already in place when I was walked to the stage. “Just sing…the rest will just happen” she advised. Well, she was right! The curtain went up, Maestro gave us a smile, and before I knew it, I was throwing hosiery and planters at Anna Netrebko! It ain’t a bad job:)
Peter Barrett- Metropolitan Opera
What lies ahead for you in the 2018/19 performance season?
I have a number of very exciting projects on the horizon. I will be debuting my first Mercutio in Romeo and Julliette for Calgary Opera, after having covered the role twice at the Metropolitan Opera. I’ll also be returning to Vancouver Opera for a role debut as Valentin in Faust. Further afield, a few more role debuts and I’ll be reacquainting myself with an old friend, Marcello in La Boheme.
Photo Credit- Bo Huang
And… most importantly, favourite type of coffee?
There aren’t many morning people in my household…..except our four year old;) Out of sheer necessity;), we recently invested in a commercial grade Gaggia Espresso machine. It has really upped our morning game. I think it’s my favourite purchase of recent years!