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20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS WITH: Baritone Paulo Szot

By Albert Imperato
27 Jan 2011

Paulo Szot
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The charismatic Polish Brazilian baritone Paulo Szot, who captured international media attention and unanimous critical acclaim with his Tony-winning portrayal of Emile De Becque in the revival of South Pacific, contributes to our informal Q & A series.


**

In March 2010 he made his debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera starring in Shostakovich’s The Nose, a performance praised by the New York Times for Szot’s “rich, virile sound and plaintive phrasing.”

Szot studied singing in Poland, and made his operatic debut was in São Paulo as Figaro in The Barber of Seville. His debut in New York was in 2003 with City Opera as Escamillo in Carmen. He began his current season at the Dallas Opera – also a debut – as Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

1. A few works of classical music that you adore:

It 's hard to mention a few, but: Mozart's Symphony N.25 in G minor, Chopin's Piano Sonata N. 3in B minor Op.58, Mahler's Symphony No. 5

2. Classical music recordings that you treasure:

Beethoven's Symphonies conducted by Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Mozart Operas conducted by James Levine

3. Favorite non-classical musicians and/or recordings:

Tom Jobim, Richard Rodgers, Marvin Hamlisch, Stanislaw Hadyna, Chico Buarque, Astor Piazzolla

4. Music that makes you cry – any genre:

Chopin's Nocturnes, especially Op. 48 No. 1

5. Definitely underrated work(s) or composer (s):

Maybe Stanislaw Moniuszko

6. Possibly overrated work(s) or composer (s):

I am not sure. I don't believe there's a rule to love a composer or a piece. One can adore Mozart, while others don't.

7. Live music performance (s) you attended – any genre – that you’ll never forget:

The first concert of the Polish Ensemble Slask and my first opera at the Metropolitan Opera House

8. A few relatively recent films you love:

Talk to Her, Pride and Prejudice, Vicki Cristina Barcelona, Gran Torino, City of God, Invictus.

9. A few films you consider classics:

Tartuffe (Murnau), Children of Paradise (Carné), E La Nave Va (Fellini), The Dresser (Yates), Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, The Sound of Music, A Chorus Line, The Color Purple.

10. A few books that are important to you (and why):

Voltaire: Candide, or the Optimist; Poems by Fernando Pessoa; Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard; Machado de Assis: Memorias Postumas de Braz Cubas (a post-mortem and very interesting way of looking back at life); Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray, to mention a few.

11. Thing(s) about yourself that you’re most proud of:

I stand for what I believe without trying to make others having the same opinion.

12. Thing(s) about yourself that you’re embarrassed by:

My tendency to believe in people

13. Three things you can’t live without:

Sun, showers and the Internet

14. “When I want to get away from it all I…”

...stop answering the phone, checking e-mails and never tell anyone where I am going to be.

15. “People are surprised to find out that I…”

...am shy.

16. “My favorite cities are…”

...by the ocean

17. “I have a secret crush on…”

If I tell you I will ruin my secret

18. “My most obvious guilty pleasure is…”

...ice cream

19. “I’d really love to meet (or to have met)…”

MOZART

20. “I never understood why…”

...some people can just close their eyes and fall asleep whenever they want.

BONUS QUESTION:

21. Question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer to that question):

Q: What do YOU like to DO?

A: I like to stay home, with my dogs and plant


Past installments of 20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS:

Baritone Nathan Gunn

Bass-Baritone John Relyea

Pianist Yuja Wang

Pianist Kirill Gerstein

Organist Cameron Carpenter

Choreographer Peter Martins

Soprano Diana Damrau

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein

Pianist David Fray

Violinist Sarah Chang

Pianist Ingrid Fliter

Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato

Pianist Yefim “Fima” Bronfman

Soprano Sandrine Piau

Soprano Natalie Dessay

Harpsichordist and Conductor Christophe Rousset

Guitarist Xuefei Yang

Tenor Giuseppe Filianoti

Soprano Nicole Cabell

Pianist Jonathan Biss

Tenor Ian Bostridge

Soprano Danielle de Niese

New-Music Sextet eighth blackbird 

Composer and Violinist Mark O'Connor 

Composer Jake Heggie

Composer Ricky Ian Gordon

Pianist David Greilsammer

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Albert Imperato, a music promoter who co-founded 21C Media Group in January 2000, writes frequently about the arts for various publications and blogs. 

His new series, 20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS, is his take on (and nod to) Vanity Fair's "Proust Questionnaire."





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