Bravo, Figaro! Luis Alejandro Orozco makes his Milwaukee debut
By Kelly Schlicht, Development Manager
“I’m a natural goofball, to begin with,” Luis Alejandro Orozco describes himself, with a chuckle.
The baritone said he’s eager to bring his playful nature to the stage as Figaro in the Florentine Opera’s production of The Barber of Seville this May.
“He’s an intricate character who makes it all happen behind the scenes. It’s fun to play a puppeteer of sorts in this show,” said Orozco.
While Orozco has played Figaro before, most recently with the Syracuse Opera Company, he said he is looking forward to debuting with the Florentine Opera.
“When I auditioned for the company, I was able to spend a few days in town, and I went to see the Flying Dutchman, when the Florentine put that on [in October 2014],” he said. “I thought it was fantastic. It was one of those productions where you see it and you say to yourself, ‘Wow, I really hope I get to work here.”
Orozco said he’s a bit of a late bloomer when it came to his opera career.
The El Paso, Texas native—who was born to Mexican parents, and grew up primarily in Juarez, Mexico—was studying jazz percussion performance at the University of Texas at El Paso, when he had to choose a second instrument.
“I didn’t know what to choose, and so I took voice for non-majors,” he said. “My professor, Christopher Meerdink, said, ‘you’ve really got a voice there.’ And he’s the one who instilled the love of opera in me in my early twenties.”
Orozco said his professor gave him countless CDs and DVDs to learn more about opera. He said that the first opera he saw, both on a DVD and live on stage, was La Boheme. “After that, I couldn’t get enough of opera and I needed to find a way to be involved in it.”
He said that his talent as a drummer both helps and hinders his learning process as a singer.
“Singing is so much more melodic and linear, that I often have to fight the urge to be rhythmically correct all of the time,” he said. “However, if I’m learning modern opera, it helps a lot. I’ll beat the rhythm changes out with my drum sticks to find where I’m supposed to be.”
Orozco said he’s looking forward to stepping into rhythm with the exciting cast, and consummate crew, of The Barber of Seville.
“I’ve worked with Peter Volpe (Don Basilio) before, and that guy is just awesome. As a person, as an artist, he’s just a great dude,” he said. “I also spent a summer in the same program as Taylor Stayton (Count Almaviva) in Des Moines, and he’s a great guy. I just feel that I’m so lucky and honored to be a part of this cast.”
As someone who didn’t discover opera until his twenties, Orozco said The Barber of Seville might be the perfect chance for a newcomer to check out the art form.
“It’s so recognizable,” he said. “Also, like my professor said, ‘you all love opera, you just don’t know it yet.’ All of these story lines, we still go through these same things—the same things make us laugh, the same things give us worries or struggles. People have the misconception that these stories are outdated, but they’re all really relatable.”
Come see Luis Alejandro Orozco as the famous Figaro in The Barber of Seville, May 5 and 7, at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Meet him and the rest of the cast after the show at our opening night cast party. Call 414-291-5700 ext 224 for tickets.