Bryan Hymel is an internationally acclaimed opera tenor. His voice has taken him from his hometown of New Orleans to some of the greatest opera houses around the world, such as La Scala in Milan, Covent Garden in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico, and the Vienna State Opera, to name just a few.
Host Vincent LoCoco, an Italian Historical Fiction writer from New Orleans as well, discusses with Mr. Hymel his career, including his rapid rise in the business when he replaced an ailing tenor in the difficult role of Les Troyens at Covent Garden, which ultimately led to a last minute request by the Metropolitan Opera for Mr. Hymel to replace a tenor in their performance of the same opera, thus making the way for his spectacular Met debut.
Mr. Hymel also provides insights on a career in opera, and discusses the composers and singers who have influenced him throughout his career.
And as a special treat, Mr. Hymel provides a wonderful example how an opera is developed. He takes one small part of the story from Mr. LoCoco’s novel, Tempesta’s Dream, and, with words written by Mr. LoCoco, turns a brief scene into an aria. In the story, Isabella tells the young singer, Giovanni Tempesta, her dream to teach children one day. Bryan takes that simple scene, and makes it into a full blown aria. “It is like painting on a canvas of silence,” is how Mr. Hymel describes the process. We are then given the chance to hear his wife, Irini Kyriakidou, sing for us, “Isabella’s aria,” with Bryan playing the music on a piano. The listener will come away with a better understanding of how music can enhance the story and bring the story to life. And that is what opera does.
Here are the words to “Isabella’s Aria”:
Well, there’s not so much to tell. I am an only child. I live with my father and stepmother. He’s so protective of me. I hope to teach children one day. I want to support a child’s dreams. If they don’t have love at home, I want to show them love. Someone who cares about them. I never saw a true love between a man and a woman. Not even between father and daughter. I want to see the carefree happiness of childhood in their eyes, the security of being loved. These are the things I longed for as a child. I came to believe that real, true, deep expressions of love happen only in a fairytale. But you and your music, have brought to life my fairytale. You have done what I hope to do for children. I really have nothing else to say.