If you’ve never been to an opera—or if you don’t think you like opera—then you owe it to yourself to see “The Consul,” the season-closing production from Florida Grand Opera (May 9–16 at Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami;fgo.org).
The 1950 debut from composer Gian Carlo Menotti, “The Consul” is devastating in an accessible, relatable way that conjures George Orwell: It’s sung in English and is set in an unidentified totalitarian country in Europe, where a secret police force is searching for John Sorrel, political dissident. Much of the drama involves efforts by John’s family to obtain visas to leave the country.
“It’s timeless in its themes,” says tenor and supporting actor Jason Ferrante. “It’s very unspecific, and I think that was very appealing to Menotti. It’s funny that a piece that was relevant in 1950 is relevant in 2015, especially in Miami, where issues of coming and going from one’s country are a hot topic right now.” Ferrante, a 39-year-old Pembroke Pines resident whose Florida Grand Opera credits include “Rigoletto” and “Tosca,” has been gifted a plum role in “Consul,” as a magician who performs tricks and hypnotizes the consul’s secretary in a bravura 20-minute scene. He had to learn real magic for the part, including a disappearing/reappearing 8-ball trick, and making water and flowers materialize out of nowhere.
It’s only the latest challenge from this tireless and in-demand Juilliard graduate, who runs a vocal studio by day and performs for opera companies across the country during season. During a rare period of downtime, the affable performer sat down with Boca Raton to discuss life as a professional opera singer.
Q1: What kind of impact does a run of performances have on your voice?
In the dream world, you’re feeling healthy, and you’re feeling rested. For me, on a good day after a couple of performances, my body feels more fatigued than my voice. It’s tired from acting and breathing and supporting the instrument. But the throat itself usually feels OK.
To read the full story, pick up the May/June issue of Boca Raton magazine