Entrances & Encores
By Roger Pines – Magda Kranz
Few tenors make the leap from Atlantic City to Lyric Opera of Chicago, but David Cangelosi began in opera after nine years on the nightclub circuit. He carried over from nightclubs “a sense of poise, of being a presence on the stage.” Today, the Lyric Opera Center alumnus sings demanding character tenor roles with major houses nationwide.
While still at the Opera Center, Cangelosi went on as Monostatos for the opening night of The Magic Flute, “an incredible thrill.” Among his many other Lyric productions, he singles out last season’s new Ariadne auf Naxos (“Watching that production come to life from its most embryonic stages was really fascinating”). This season he’s Bardolfo in Falstaff and Remendado in Carmen; he relishes Bizet’s brilliant second act – to him, it’s “Manhattan Transfer goes operatic.”
Among the Lyric stars who impressed him was Catherine Malfitano, whose message was, “Sometimes you just have to go the extra miles.” Cangelosi soon put that advice into practice: On a day off from a Berkshire Opera engagement, “I woke up at 5 a.m., drove nine hours from the Berkshires in Massachusetts to Washington, changed clothes in the car, warmed up, did my audition, and drove all the way back to the Berkshires to be at a 10 a.m. rehearsal the next morning.” Going the extra miles got him the part: Beppe to Domingo’s Canio in Pagliacci at The Washington Opera, a production telecast on PBS.
When reached in June, Cangelosi was still glowing from his Carnegie Hall debut in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole. He’s especially proud that the performance was with his hometown ensemble, The Cleveland Orchestra, under Boulez: “Not only was he so kind and helpful, but he did such service to all the music – it just lifted everybody higher.”
Cangelosi, who’s always been athletically inclined (he plans to run the Chicago Marathon in October), may be the only tenor whose physical skills onstage originate with his teenage years as a championship diver. “Movement is movement is movement,” he declares. “It doesn’t matter whether gravity has your feet on the floor, or whether you’re defying gravity being in the air.” – R.P.