Amid the busy fall schedule; debuting and performing as Romeo in our most recent production of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, a quick jaunt to cover last minute as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at LA Opera, and now diving head first into Barber of Seville rehearsals, Tenor Artist-in-Residence Joshua Sanders has been busy to say the least. We caught up with Joshua in between Barber rehearsals.

Opera San José: This is your first time with Opera San José, what are you enjoying so far working with the company?

Joshua: The first of hopefully many times with Opera San José! I’m enjoying a lot about my experience here thus far, but what I am enjoying most is the people I have the privilege of working with. Community is important in all aspects of life, and especially in opera.It takes an extraordinary amount of people working together in service of a single goal in order to make an opera happen. And the real treat in working with OSJ is that every person involved is kind, supportive, and excited to collaborate and make magic happen.

OSJ: Romeo and Count Almaviva are both large hurdles within the tenor canon; what are you enjoying about tackling such substantial roles?

Joshua: I’m really enjoying the learning process that goes along with these two major role debuts. They’ve shown me a lot about how I can tweak the “recipe” of my vocal technique in service of ease and longevity. Not only are these roles giving me the gift of knowledge, but I am building repertoire that will be major staples in my career for years to come. 

OSJ: What has been something surprising that you have learned about yourself as a performer in tackling a role like Romeo?

Joshua: Something surprising I’ve learned about myself in tackling Romeo, is that the stamina of my voice surpasses the stamina of my body. A friend of mine once described my voice as a “steel cannon” in terms of its durability and stamina. And while that increasingly proves to be true, I’ve learned that the sack of flesh and bones in which my voice lives has a lower threshold for exhaustion. So just because I can sing for hours on end, doesn’t mean I always should

OSJ: What has been something that you have enjoyed thus far about being an Artist-in-Residence at Opera San José?

Melissa Sondhi as Juliet and Joshua Sanders as Romeo / Photo Courtesy of Kristen Loken

Joshua: One thing I’ve enjoyed about being an Artist-in-Residence here at OSJ, is knowing that I’m in one place for a while! In my work as a guest artist, I’m usually only in the same city for about 4-6 weeks. So, I really appreciate this time to settle in a bit, get to know the area, and see friendly familiar faces every day. 

OSJ: What are some aspectof Romeo and Almaviva that you find audiences can relate to?

Joshua: There are a lot about these two characters that audiences can relate to. If you’ve ever been in love, or experienced loss, then you already have something in common with Romeo and Count Almaviva. While these are characters that exist within a grand operatic scale, at the end of the day they just want to love and be loved. 

Melissa Sondhi as Juliet and Joshua Sanders as Romeo / Photo Courtesy of Kristen Loken

OSJ: After portraying Romeo and Almaviva, what are some roles that you would like to sink your teeth into?

Joshua: At this point in my career, I’d like to sink my teeth into just about any role I can get my hands on! But a few that I hope to sing soon are, Alfredo in La Traviata, Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, and Fenton in Falstaff. Many many years down the line, I would love to do something like Herod in Salome or the Witch in Hansel and Gretel.

OSJ: What are you listening to these days? As an opera singer are you often listening to opera in your free time or do you have a more eclectic listening taste?

Joshua: It will come as no surprise that I listen to a lot of opera for work. But outside of work, my listening habits are pretty eclectic. Recently, I’ve been on a big Joan Baez kick.

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