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Anthony Roth Costanzo, Countertenor
Costanzo made a splash last season in the Metropolitan Opera's celebrated pastiche The Enchanted Island. Fresh off a sold-out concert at the Park Avenue Armory this month, part of the Mostly Mozart festival, he will sing a Baroque program at the Player's Club on September 28, opening the Salon/Sanctuary concert series, with Met Assistant Conductor and Harpsichordist Bradley Brookshire and New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Jared Angle.
What neighborhood do you live in?
This is my 19th year living in New York City, and I’ve lived in several neighborhoods, including the Upper West Side, the Village, Gramercy, and now the Upper East Side. While I can’t say that the Upper East Side is my cup of tea, it does have its merits. I live near Café Sabarsky, a striking Viennese room overlooking the park where I often go to study music and eat the best apfelstrudel in the city. On the other end of the spectrum, I’m pretty jazzed that a Fairway has opened up on the East Side allowing for somewhat affordable grocery shopping. While the UES may not be the most lively ‘hood, at times it’s almost like taking a vacation upstate.
How long have you been in NY?
I moved here when I was 11 years old to perform in musicals and theater, on and off Broadway, before I became engrossed in opera and occasionally film. My parents are both native New Yorkers, but moved to North Carolina to teach at Duke University in Durham where I was born. The minute I set foot in NYC, I felt at home, and I feel certain that I’ll always live here.
What's the best venue you've performed at in NY?
I have to say that without question the Metropolitan Opera is the best venue I’ve ever performed in for several reasons. The acoustics in the theater are unreal; I’ve found that you can sing tiny soft notes and they can be heard by 4,000 people. If you stand near the foot of the stage, it sort of feels like being at the helm of a huge boat looking into an infinite horizon. What's more, the whole building is a wonderland. It is akin to what I imagine the old Hollywood studio lots were like: props and set pieces crammed into every corner, xylophones peeking out from behind doorways, racks and racks of intricately embroidered costumes lining the halls, rolls of gaffers tape piled near the elevators. It's amazing to think that all of this, in the hands of the hundreds and hundreds of people working in the building, exists solely to make an opera, and to make it as beautiful as possible.
I have had the great fortune to perform in many of New York's amazing venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, each of the three large theaters in Lincoln Center, The Main New York Public Library, Joe's Pub, and even a dream of mine, the Park Avenue Armory, last week.
Where would you love to perform that you haven't yet?
I would love to perform at the Museum of Modern Art, where I have been a member for many years. Singing right into some of that art would be thrilling.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
Among the living, what I wouldn't give to collaborate with Woody Allen. If he ever wants a special guest vocalist for his gig at the Carlyle, or someone to play a 17th-century castrato in a period recreation of Manhattan, I'm at the ready.
Among the dead, I have a long list list including, but not limited to Jean Cocteau, Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald, and the man himself, Georg Friedrich Handel.
What's next for you?
I'm excited about many things coming up including several concerts New York, an opera with an idol, David Daniels, in Michigan, a brand new recital in Vancouver, a Messiah at the Kennedy Center, and upcoming projects with the Metropolitan Opera.