Will Liverman is a rising opera star whose commanding baritone voice is causing people in the opera world to take notice.
Just 33, Liverman recently played the lead role of Charles in the newest Metropolitan Opera production, “Fire Shut Up In My Bones” by six-time Grammy Award–winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard.
“The theme and flavor of it all is Spanish-themed,” Liverman says. “The Chamber Music Society has been planning this for a while and reached out to me, and I loved the variety and it was a very interesting program.”
Aptly entitled “Spanish Inspirations,” Liverman and the Chamber will explore several centuries of Spanish-influenced music, including the “Turina Piano Quartet” and Sarasate’s “Navarra for Two Violins and Piano.”
“I’m not singing the whole thing, but for my part I will be doing “Don Quichotte à Dulcinée” by Ravel, which is one of my favorite cycles,” the baritone says. “I remember learning it in school and it was one of the first French pieces I learned, and it’s such a timeless piece.”
Liverman will also be doing a selection of work by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich that’s completely new to him. The song list includes “Farewell, Granada!” “Little Stars,” “The First Time We Met,” “Ronda,” “The Black-Eyed Girl” and “Dream.”
“It’s been fun working on these,” he says. “I love Russian music and it’s something I would always seek out in school. Even as a professional, I love how it sounds and there’s so much great repertoire. It’s going to be nice to add Shostakovich to my repertoire.”
This is something of a homecoming for Liverman, as he is a Wolf Trap Opera alumnus, having apprenticed with the company and being part of the 2016 “Rape of Lucretia.”
“There are so many great, young artists who come from Wolf Trap, and it’s a special place because they take great care in how they nurture young artists,” he says. “There’s a certain freedom in finding your artistic truth, and Wolf Trap gave me the opportunity in what’s sort of a gap between the young artist world and professional world, and heading out to a career.”
He says his summers spent at Wolf Trap were important for his career and helped push him as an artist.
“They challenged me and helped set me up for a career,” Liverman says. “To be able to come back after a couple of years is really special to me.”
Over his career, some of Liverman’s performance highlights include starring as the first-ever Black Papageno in the Met’s holiday production of “The Magic Flute,” playing Figaro in Seattle Opera’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” (Figaro) and performing as Pantalone in Opera Philadelphia’s “The Love of Three Oranges.”
Joining Liverman on stage will be Anne-Marie McDemott on piano, Wu Qian on piano, Paul Huang on violin, Danbi Um on violin, Paul Neubaruer on viola, Nicholas Canellakis on cello and Clive Greensmith on cello.
Among the numbers that the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will perform sans Liverman are works by Luigi Boccherini, Joaquin Turina, Gaspar Cassado and Pablo De Sarasate.
“Aside from the Ravel, I wasn’t familiar with any of the program, so I’m really excited to hear the Chamber on their instrumentals,” Liverman says. “As artists, we have a sense of adventure and curiosity in learning new music and it’s always great to add things to your own repertoire. When you’re diving into new music, it’s stimulating. I love tackling new things and I’m a nerd in that way.”
With the world coming out of the pandemic, the opera star feels this is the perfect night out for those who love great music.
“Now more than ever, if you are missing live music, there’s no other time than now to experience it live again after so many months of isolation,” Liverman says. “This is going to be a great program with some fantastic instrumentalists and musicians, and there will be a lot of great energy.”
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