Hailed by Opera News as having a “warm and expressive lyric baritone,” David Pershall will be making both a role and company debut this festival season as Gabriel von Eisenstein in Johann Strauss II’s bubbly and effervescent operatic comedy, Die Fledermaus. In preparation for opening night on June 23, we asked Pershall a few questions in our third artist Q&A of the season.
Read on to learn more about Pershall’s memories of music in his early years, his love of chess and telekinetic materialization!
Q: Did you come from a musical family?
Yes, my mother is a piano instructor and that is what gave me my first exposure to “classical” music. I discovered opera in high school through voice lessons. My instructor at the time passed me a tape of Robert Merrill singing all the great baritone arias… I’ve been hooked ever since.
Q: What is your favorite part of this role/opera?
Fledermaus is widely considered the highest standard of Viennese Operetta. What makes it so special to me is the particular combination of masterful composition and farcical humor. It never fails to leave a smile on my face and a tune in my head! The fact that this will be my debut in the role of Eisenstein just adds to the fun for me.
Q: What are you most excited for this year? I’m most excited to make my role debut as Silvio in Pagliacci at San Francisco Opera this season. I’m going to knock it out of the park!
Q: What is your favorite show/role you’ve ever done? My favorite role I have ever performed is Rodrigo in Don Carlos. That role has everything you could ever hope for as a baritone.
Q:What is your dream role? Also if you could sing any role (regardless of fach) what would you most like to sing?
It has always been a dream of mine to perform the titular character in Hamlet by Thomas. Regardless of fach, I would have to say Amfortas in Parsifal is currently at the top of the list.
Q: What other career would you have pursued if you weren’t singing?
Nothing has ever captured my imagination and energy quite like opera, so I don’t really know. Maybe I would have pursued screenwriting as a result of my love of literature and telling stories.
Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I love to play chess.
Q: If you could have any superpower, which would you choose and why?
Telekinetic materialization. I would love to be able to think of an object and have it materialize in front of me out of thin air.
Hometown: Syracuse, NY
Family: My wife, Katie and our children, Samuel, Rachel, and Violet
Education/training: BM Baylor University, MM & AD Yale School of Music
Favorite composer: Verdi
Favorite opera: Don Carlos
Favorite book: Lord of the Rings
Favorite food: Tacos!!!!
Favorite beverage: Margaritas!!!
Photo credit for featured image: Alison Rose Munn