Chicago native David Govertsen recently stepped in on short notice at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he "handsomely replaced the ill Peter Rose as the producer La Roche" opposite Renée Fleming and Anne Sophie von Otter in Capriccio. Mr. Govertsen also appeared on short notice as Arkel in Pelléas et Mélisande with the Chicago Symphony under Esa-Pekka Salonen and as a soloist in James MacMillan's Quickening with the Grant Park Orchestra. A former member of the Ryan Center at Lyric, his other mainstage assignments have included roles in Die Zauberflöte, Boris Godunov, Werther, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Madama Butterfly, and Roméo et Juliette. He returned to Lyric this past season as the Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte and Priam in Les Troyens. Mr. Govertsen recently created the roles of David/Bonobo in Matthew Aucoin's new opera Second Nature for Lyric Opera Unlimited, as well as the role of Stoever in The Invention of Morel by Stewart Copeland for Chicago Opera Theater. Other operatic highlights of the past season include a reprise of La Roche at Santa Fe Opera, 2nd Soldier and 5th Jew in Salome with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the title character in Cimarosa's Il Maestro di Capella with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. On the concert stage this season he appeared with the Madison Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Bach Week Festival, Battle Creek Symphony, and Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, among others. Mr. Govertsen made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 as the Herald in Otello with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Fe Opera and Central City Opera apprentice programs and holds degrees from Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University, and the College of DuPage. Locally in Chicago he has performed dozens of roles, among them the title roles in Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Pasquale, and Gianni Schicchi, the Four Villains/Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Sarastro/Die Zauberflöte, Colline/La Bohème, Basilio and Bartolo/Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Don Magnifico/La Cenerentola, Zaccaria/Nabucco, Sparafucile/Rigoletto, Padre Guardiano/La Forza del Destino, Nick Shadow/The Rake's Progress, and Friedrich Bhaer/Little Women.
What is the story of how you first came to love music and opera?
I have been involved in music since I was a kid, studying trombone. I came to singing in college.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
Do you have a favorite performer?
Jessye Norman, such a unique talent and a completely committed performer.
Do you have a favorite role? Aria? Opera?
Gianni Schicchi is my favorite role to perform and one of my favorite operas. Any Rossini aria that is sung well can be a favorite of mine.
Do you have any favorite books about music?
Richard Miller’s Securing Baritone, Bass-baritone and Bass Voices. It’s the Bible for teaching low-voiced males.
What else are you reading?
The other Richard Miller book, The Structure of Singing.
Who are your favorite 17th and 18th century composers?
It sounds cliché, but there is a reason why Monteverdi, Bach, Handel are performed so often. All three were geniuses.
If you were stranded on a desert island, is there one piece of music you would like to have with you?
Hard to choose, but probably something by Strauss, as well as a cappella choral music by Victoria, Palestrina, and Byrd -- and also some Charles Mingus.
What do you love about HOC?
Such high-quality performances of unusual repertoire!
Do you have a favorite memory from a past HOC event?
Attending Haymarket’s first show, Aci, Galatea e Polifemo. What a great performance that was, and how exciting to discover this newly-formed group in Chicago.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not making music?
I love to cook and play with my toddler.
What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
Breakfast with my toddler.
Do you have any heroes/heroines?
Bach — for sheer volume and variety of musical output, inspiration, craft, innovation, virtuosity, attention to musical and textual detail, and personal investment in his musical endeavor. He is one of a kind.
What music do you listen to most often?
Classical vocal music, jazz, 80s pop/rock.
If you had not entered into your current career what do you think you would have done instead?
Something else in the humanities or in academia.