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Norsk | English

Jonathan Winell
Tenor, USA

Jonathan Winell

“I was a serious poker player at the same time that I was studying to become an opera singer”

1) What inspired you to become a singer?

I went to a private high school in NYC that, like most schools, did not have any arts classes.  However, the school allowed us to take such classes outside of the school for credit.  I always loved to sing; my parents took me to operas at the Met and to Broadway musicals starting when I was a little kid.  My mom was a singer, and so she asked if I would like to take lessons with her teacher for school credit.  I said sure and that was the beginning of my love affair with opera.  Within the first year, I knew I wanted to be an opera singer.
 

2) What's your dream role and why?

Actually, I have two dream roles for now. The first is Cavaradossi in Tosca because I love the opera, the character and the music.  The second is Parsifal because I hope one day to become a Wagnerian tenor, and Parsifal has some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.
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3) Who is your favorite opera singer and why?

My all time favorite singer will always be Luciano Pavarotti.  His technique is perfect and his voice is so beautiful.  I also really love Franco Corelli.  
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4) What do you hope to achieve by participating in the Queen Sonja International Music Competition?

During the Competition, I hope to convey my deep love of singing and performing to both the judges and audience. Becoming the first place prizewinner would mean I achieved my goal! Then, I would like to go on to have an international opera career.

5) Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself!

I was a serious poker player at the same time that I was studying to become an opera singer. At one point I debated about which to make my profession.  I hope you will agree that I made the right choice!!!

6) Is there anything else you would like to tell us which might be interesting to the public?

For the past two years I had the privilege of being part of the Internationales Opernstudio at the Staatsoper Berlin Unter den Linden im Schiller Theater.  Besides some of the amazing roles I performed, one of the highlights was when I was shopping at the supermarket at 6 pm and got a call from the House asking if I know Salut Demeure from Faust.  I said yes, and the caller said, get back here ASAP, the tenor doing the role does not feel well enough to sing the aria.  Within a few hours I was on the stage of the Staatsoper singing this wonderful aria, which I had not sung for two years!  What a thrill to sing it and hear the bravi!!!

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