Name: Scott Johnson, baritone
Hometown: Madison, WI
How did you first become interested in singing?
I grew up listening to musicals, singing along in the car to Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and others, and that love eventually transitioned into performing.
Where/with whom have you studied?
In my undergraduate degree I studied with Gary Glaze at the University of Southern California. I then returned to Wisconsin to study with Paul Rowe at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, whom I had studied with during high school.
What is your favorite opera and why?
Susannah by Carlisle Floyd. While it may not be the most beautiful opera ever written (although “Ain’t it a Pretty Night” and “The Trees on the Mountain” are gorgeous), the music can be truly haunting, and along with the subject matter, it reaches me in a way that no other opera has.
What is your dream role?
While there are many roles that I would love to do, such as Figaro in Barber of Seville or Valentin in Faust, I can’t say that I have a true “dream role.” I think a large part of that is my relative inexperience when it comes to the repertoire, as I usually fall in love with whatever role I am doing.
If you could have dinner with any composer, who would you choose and why?
I would have to say Rossini, mostly to ask him what his true reason for retirement from opera was – if it was his mother’s death, the beginnings of tenors singing high notes with chest voice, or something completely different.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
The only things I might consider a ritual are trying to eat something light about an hour to an hour and a half before a performance, and then once I am in costume and makeup to find a quiet place about ten minutes before curtain in order to relax and focus. Not quite as interesting as some I’ve heard, but it works for me.
What has been your most unusual performance to date and why?
I would have to say the new opera I did this past spring, Art and Desire, if only for the fact that I shaved the top of my head so it looked like I had male pattern baldness. The show itself was also unusual in the way it was set up, with half of the cast in the afterlife and the other half alive, but both sharing the same bar. It created an unusual dynamic that was a lot of fun to play with.
If you were tone-deaf, what would your dream job be?
As a techno-geek, I would love to review computer hardware for a tech site. I spend a good portion of my free time reading up on the latest technologies coming down the pipeline, whether it’s in computers, entertainment, or communication, and I would love to be the one getting a first hand look.
What’s on your Ipod right now?
I’ve got a little bit of everything, from Country to Hip-Hop to Opera to Rock. I probably listen to more Jazz music than anything right now, however, with Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Diana Krall, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, and more.
What are you most excited to do in Milwaukee?
While I’m really looking forward to the entire season, I think the thing I’m most excited about is collaborating with the wonderful staff at Florentine and the other Studio Artists.
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