Q&A with Zachary James

“The villain was portrayed with towering force by Zachary James, a giant man with a big black bass to match” – Chicago Tribune

“…the most electrifying five minutes I have ever spent in the theater. His rendition was at once deeply personal and overwhelmingly explosive. I walked out at intermission still dizzy with tears in my eyes.” – Operawire

After a wildly successful debut as Master-at-Arms, John Claggart in DMMO’s 2017 production of Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd, bass Zachary James returns for another season in Indianola to perform the roles of Vodník in Dvorak’s Rusalka and the Immigration Officer in Jonathan Dove’s Flight. 

In our first artist Q&A of #dmmo46, Zachary James answers questions about portraying a mythical Czech water goblin, listening to Met broadcasts as a kid, and finally fulfilling his dream of becoming a merman!

zach james
PC: Chelsea Fausel


Q: What is your favorite part about your role as the water goblin Vodník?
There are no rules when playing a fantastical, non-human role.

Q: What are you most excited for this season?
I’m SO excited to be a water goblin. I’ve been waiting my whole life to be a water creature after having serious childhood merman aspirations.

Q: What is your favorite show/role you’ve ever done? John Claggart in Billy Budd

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James as John Claggart in Billy Budd; PC: Duane Tinkey

Q: What is your dream role? Also, if you could sing any role (regardless of fach), what would you most like to sing?
I’ve knocked off most of my dream roles (Claggart, Olin Blitch, etc) or am singing them in the next year (Frank Maurrant, Four Villains, Zaccaria) but Wotan and Boris Godunov remain on the list. If I could sing any role it would be Violetta or Constanze.

Q: What other career would you have pursued if you weren’t singing?
Politics.

Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I hated opera as a kid and begged my mom to turn off the Met radio broadcasts.

Q: If you could have any superpower, which would you choose and why?
I’d love to live forever, life is way too short and there’s too much to see and do in just on lifetime!

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Billy Budd; PC: Duane Tinkey

Fast Facts!

Hometown: Spring Hill, Florida
Family: three parents and four siblings
Education/training: Ithaca College with a BFA in musical theatre
Favorite composer: Philip Glass
Favorite opera: Currently Rusalka
Favorite book: The Inner Voice
Favorite food: cheese
Favorite beverage: coffee

Photo credit for featured image: Matt Madison-Clark

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