Spotlight on Daryl Freedman, Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist

Freedman Daryl HeadshotDaryl portrays Queen Lili’uokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii, in our American Opera Initiative world premiere of Better Gods

Where were you born?  Did you grow up in a musical household?

I was born in Philadelphia. I actually wasn’t introduced to opera until college. My dad has always had an incredibly extensive music collection though, and there was always music playing on the stereo when I was growing up. Mostly classic rock and jazz.

Is that where you consider “home” today?

I have been loosely based in New York City ever since I attended graduate school at Manhattan School of Music. I have been traveling so much that I don’t actually keep an apartment there- I just sublet a place whenever I’m back in the city.

What was your first transformative musical experience?  How old were you?

I vividly remember being in kindergarten and seeing the fifth grade orchestra and chorus play and sing in the winter concert. I was amazed to see other kids making music, and I absolutely couldn’t wait until I was old enough to play in the orchestra and sing in the choir. After taking advantage of every musical opportunity offered to me in school, I decided to major in voice at college. My college roommate asked if I wanted to go to Italy with her for a summer voice program to learn about opera, study voice, and work on our Italian. It was there in Lucca, Italy, that I performed a small role in my very first opera, and immediately fell in love with the art form. Lucca is Puccini’s birthplace, and we performed his opera Suor Angelica in his hometown. It was an unbelievably moving, magical, and unforgettable experience for all of us involved in the production. We all still talk about what a pivotal experience that was in our lives.

Which university or conservatory did you attend?

I went to Temple University for undergrad, and Manhattan School of Music for my Masters degree.

What is your dream role that you would like to perform in the future?

I have always dreamed of singing a Valkyrie in the Ring, and I am so incredibly excited to sing Rossweisse in The Ring Cycle this season at WNO!!! Three other roles I would love to sing in the future are Amneris, Azucena, and Fricka.

Do you have a favorite popular artist?  

I’m not sure she really counts as a “popular artist”, but I have been a huge fan of Audra McDonald since I was in high school. She has always been a huge inspiration to me.

There are many skeptics that believe opera is a dying art form.  Why do you think opera is still relevant today?

Opera tells timeless stories with beautiful music that have lasted for centuries. Everyone knows what it’s like to experience a first love, like in Boheme, or a devastating loss, like in Traviata. Everyone can relate to the temptation that we find in Carmen and Don Giovanni, or the power struggles in the Ring Cycle. Opera is timeless.

Was the District different from what you expected when you moved here for the program?

I have been absolutely loving DC! I think I have been most struck by the way everything here feels very important and significant since it’s our nation’s capital.

What do you like to do for fun around DC?  Do you have any favorite hangout spots?

I love the beautiful hikes at Great Falls! Also, there’s so much good Ethiopian food here!