Ben Bliss is a recipient of both the Sara Tucker Study Grant (2014), and a Richard Tucker Career Grant (2015), and this summer he is performing the role of Robert Wilson in Dr. Atomic, opening July 14 at Santa Fe Opera.
What has been the best part of your summer at Santa Fe?
There are so many wonderful aspects of performing at Santa Fe Opera. It goes without saying that the stunning natural setting is unequalled. It brings perspective a placid reflection to everything that goes on here. It’s also such a joy to be a part of a community of world-class artists, all creating vibrant different productions in parallel. Along with the Met, it’s the most European/Fest-like atmosphere; that community brings everything to life.
How has your experience of singing an American opera in English differed from your other core repertoire?
Singing an opera originally written in English is very different from the core Italian, French & German repertoire. For me it offers unique challenges in reshaping a diphthong-heavy language into a singable and audible audience experience. Singing words like ‘map’ and ‘terms’ above the staff is always fun too… My goal in these operas is always to make the supertitles superfluous. In addition, no matter how fluent one’s language skills in the standard European tongues, I only have one native language and it’s always fun to live in that extra layer of expression it affords.
How have your grants from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation helped you in your career?
Without the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, it’s likely my career may have taken a very different path. The Foundation granted much-needed funds in the early stages of my development and also gave me a public platform in the wider world of opera on which to be recognized. The function the foundation serves in our opera community and in the community of developing singers is vital and invaluable.