We’re having so much fun introducing you to the cast of #AOButterfly! Today, we’d like you to meet the Bonze – Jarrod Lee! Jarrod is a former winner of our Vocal Competition, and we’re thrilled to have him onstage with us in Madama Butterfly!
What led you to a career in performing?
I have a good imagination, and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be on stage and perform. The performers I saw on TV, Turner Classic Movies, I Love Lucy, Are You Being Served?, and Keeping Up Appearances all made me laugh and I would watch their delivery.
Why do you love opera?
I love opera because it’s a beautiful combination of the creativity of a librettist, composer, musician, production, and audience.
Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
Where do I begin? Enjoy the journey and allow yourself to be open to the possibilities. There is no such thing as a traditional trajectory as an artist, but be careful and realize that you have to define success on your own terms instead of accepting the definition that society, schools, art institutions share with you. Be happy, and be curious.
Tell us about the character you play in Madama Butterfly.
I play the Bonze. He believes in the continuation of his people, their beliefs, and their way of living. Cio-Cio-San wants to give up everything that she has been taught her for the love of an outsider who knows nothing of their culture, and doesn’t care to learn.
What do you have coming up after Madama Butterfly?
I have just accepted the role of the Baron in La Traviata, and the Cat and the Clock in L’enfant et les sortilege with the Aspen Music Festival.
If you could play any role (regardless of voice part, gender, etc.), what role would it be?
I would love to play Aida. I mean, as Leontyne Price, of course.
Do you have any pre-show rituals/are you superstitious when it comes to the theatre?
I like to spend some time focusing on my role, asking those questions that will allow my character to be curious and wonder if something different might happen. I also like to dance a little – it helps me not to take myself too seriously.
Other than opera, what are you listening to now? (What’s on your iPod?)
I’m a fan of jazz! I love the oldies like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. I also enjoy Jill Scott, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé. I don’t listen to just one style or genre.
What do you do for fun/what hobby or interest do you enjoy outside of performing?
I enjoy dancing with friends, road trips, and watching movies.