We have a very special person to feature on our blog today – it’s our Artistic Director and Conductor, Ronald J. Gretz! Ron has been with Annapolis Opera for over thirty years, and we are SO lucky to have him!
What led you to a career in opera?
I have always loved to sing. I was in chorus since the first grade and sang in church choirs as soon as my voice changed. At 14 I took one year of piano and at 17 I auditioned for Peabody Conservatory. I received a full scholarship…there was no turning back.
Tell us about your role in the production of Faust.
As the conductor I work with the singers to make sure the music is performed correctly: rhythm, pitches, text. I come to the first rehearsal with my concept of tempo and interpretation…but am flexible. I “suggest” how I would like something, however, it may not work for a particular singer. This is a collaboration. In the end we all must agree to make a smooth performance. I also am the chorus master and teach them their music. Finally, I rehearse the orchestra and then we put everything together. It’s my job to make sure that musically everyone is in agreement.
Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
Be ready for any opportunity. Take every opportunity that comes along…you never know where it will lead. Do your best at everything that you undertake. Finally, always be kind to those you work for and those you work with. No one likes to be treated poorly.
What do you have coming up after Faust?
In April I judge the Annapolis Vocal Competition. In May we have chorus auditions for the fall production. In June I will accompany singers in an outdoor concert. In the fall I will conduct South Pacific with Annapolis Opera.
Why do you love opera?
I love opera because it is the ultimate art form. It has everything: Singers, orchestra, chorus, sometimes ballet/dance, drama, sets, costumes, make-up, props. But the main reason for me is the glorious music that opera composers have written.
What music are you currently listening to?
I usually only listen to classical music [some Broadway]. I love symphonies, concertos, art songs, and solo piano music.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of performing?
My life has been performing music and teaching. Now that I am “semi-retired” I enjoy reading “classic novels” that I never had time for and watching great movies [old and new].
Want to see Ron in action? Get your tickets to Faust!