With a busy schedule flying to Paris, our Bass-Baritone resident Vartan Gabrielian has been globe-trotting while absent from OSJ. We took some time to catch up with Vartan with his busy schedule as he returns for his third production with Opera San José, Florencia en el Amazonas.

Opera San José: You were recently gone for this most recent production of Rigoletto. What have you been up to since we last saw you as Basilio in The Barber of Seville?

Vartan:After The Barber of Seville, I sang my first Handel’s Messiah with the Manitoba Symphony, followed by much-needed time with family and friends in my hometown of Toronto. I then jumped on a New Year’s Day flight to Paris to start rehearsals for La Traviata with the Paris Opera, where I made my European Debut last month.

OSJ: You have played an incredible array of

characters this season, from Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Basilio in The Barber of Seville, and now The Captain in Florencia en el Amazonas. How has it been playing men who are such polar opposites of each other?

V: Polar opposites is one way to put it. As an operatic bass, I usually portray the devil, bad guys, or wise men. This season has been nice to me, with such thoughtful and funny characters. It’s never a dull moment, and if you were to leave it to me, I would always rather play the devil! Mephistopheles is definitely a role I look forward to soon!


Vartan as Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville
David Allen Photography

OSJ: You were just recently in Paris in La traviata. How was that experience?

V: Paris… What a lovely place (I’m certain many would agree). When I dreamt of performing in some of the greatest opera houses in the world, I would say Paris was definitely in the top 5, and now I can cross it off my list! It was definitely a very special experience performing with a world-class cast in a world-class opera house for a world-class audience. There were many firsts for me, one example was that we took on average of ten curtain calls because the audience wouldn’t cease their applause. Proud to say that OSJ is a supportive bouncing board for me to continue making such debuts!

OSJ:What have been some of your most enjoyable moments working as a resident at OSJ?


V: Working as a resident artist with OSJ has been delightful. I have enjoyed the workplace environment immensely from my first day. The lovely staff and team that make OSJ truly unique is a chapter of my life and career that I will not forget and will always look forward to returning to.

OSJ: As a singer, you are very busy, but what do you like to do in your free time when you have it?

V: During my spare time, I enjoy spending quality time with family. I’ve been enjoying long road trips along Route 1 with my wife Ani while in San Jose. Additionally, I like to reconnect and volunteer at my cultural Armenian community centers, where I serve as a deacon. Other activities that keep me occupied include reading, taking long walks with my pup Noosh, and working on a project car.

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