In celebration of Black History Month, we got to sit down Vinson Cole, renowned tenor with an international performing career. Vinson made his Lyric Opera stage debut as the Shepherd Boy in Tosca and joined the LOKC staff in 2015 as Creative Consultant and Director of Resident Artists. Learn how he got his start, his favorite roles, and career advice he would give to those pursuing a career in performance.
Q: What sparked your interest in opera?
A: “My sister’s high school was doing Amahl and the Night Visitors, and the director heard I was a singer. I was 10 years old and had been taking voice for one and a half years. When I received the score, I decided it would be fun to do. Then, halfway through rehearsal, I said, this is what I want to do! I was determined to be a singer.”
Q: Does musical ability run in your family?
A: “My mother sang and danced for a radio program here in Kansas City called the Kansas City Kiddies Review! I also had a great aunt who studied to be an opera singer – I remember her singing at church, and she had a gorgeous voice.”
Q: What was your favorite role to perform?
A: I have two favorites! The first one is The Tales of Hoffman. I did Hoffman quite a bit, and I just love the character, music, and interaction with the other artists. It was just a fantastic opera and fantastic character for a tenor! The other opera, which people probably don’t think of as an opera, is the Damnation of Faust by Berlioz. I first did it in concerts and then they started staging it in Europe – I did about six productions and loved it!
Q: What career advice would you give a young artist struggling in this COVID climate?
A: Having never seen anything like this, it’s difficult. I would encourage any young singer, no matter what – don’t stop working on your voice and studying. Many times people stop training after they’ve gotten their degrees. Keep working. That’s the only way you are going to get better, and there’s always room for improvement. Always.
American tenor Vinson Cole is internationally recognized as one of the leading artists of his generation. His career has taken him to all of the major opera houses across the globe including the Metropolitan Opera, Opera National de Paris Bastille, Teatro alla Scala Milan, Theatre Royale de la Monnaie, Brussels, Berlin State Opera and the Deutsche Opera Berlin, Munich State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Opera Australia and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Seattle Opera and many more. Take a look at this spectacular clip of Vinson performing in Der Rosenkavalier, and learn more about his performing and teaching background here.