Up next in our ‘Meet the Cast’ series – it’s our Sharpless, Jacob Lassetter!
Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
Keep working on your craft. Don’t compare your path to others. If you want to be a performer, put the work in and keep performing. Everyone has their own path.
Why do you love opera?
It is the ultimate vehicle for emotional expression. The unamplified human voice stirs the soul directly, and combining that with all of the other elements (orchestra, stagecraft, etc.) is truly unique.
What led you to a career in performing?
I grew up playing multiple instruments and really wanted to be a rock guitar player. I started singing my junior year of high school, got bitten by the opera bug, and knew I wanted to be an opera singer when I started college.
Tell us about the character you play in Madama Butterfly.
Sharpless is one of the few “good guy” roles for baritones in opera. He is the United States Consul at Nagasaki, and is an expert in Japanese culture. He has the unfortunate job of trying to fix the mess that Pinkerton makes with Cio-Cio-san.
What do you have coming up after Madama Butterfly?
The following weekend I sing Schubert’s Mass in A-Flat at Carnegie Hall. This summer I return to the Bassi Brugantelli Symposium in Robbiate, Italy, where I serve as a faculty artist and will sing Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Hadyn’s The Creation. Also this summer, I will sing Peter in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with Union Avenue Opera in Saint Louis, Missouri.
If you could play any role (regardless of voice part, gender, etc.), what role would it be?
My dream role is one I will actually sing: the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto.
Do you have any pre-show rituals/are you superstitious when it comes to the theatre?
I purposefully do not. I believe that if you want to be a great singer, you need to live your life in a way that allows you to sing well every day.
Other than opera, what are you listening to now? (What’s on your iPod?)
I am still obsessed with the Civil Wars, particularly the first album, Barton Hollow. I love Drake’s latest album, I love the Punch Brothers and The Black Keys. Most people would be surprised to learn that I am a huge fan of heavy metal. I was very excited to see Slipknot in concert last summer.
What do you do for fun/what hobby or interest do you enjoy outside of performing?
I love sports and fitness. I play golf, tennis, and basketball. I like lifting weights and running. I undo all of this by being a foodie and an amateur chef. I probably watch too many movies and too much tv, but I also love to read.