Studio Spotlight: Q&A With Jeff Byrnes

We are excited to announce the opening of our new blog series “Studio Spotlight,” a Q&A featuring each of our five 2016-17 Michigan Opera Theatre Studio artists. Each month, we’ll introduce you to one of our incredible resident artists to learn more about who they are, where they came from and where you can watch them perform!

First up is Jeff Byrnes, resident baritone and Louisiana native. Jeff will be performing the role of John Brooke in Michigan Opera Theatre’s upcoming production of Little Women March 11-12 as well as the role of Sonora in our upcoming production of Girl of the Golden West, April 1-9.
Spotlight - Jeff Byrnes - FINAL

Q: What is your favorite opera and why?

A: My favorite opera is definitely Puccini’s “La Bohème.” I really like Puccini’s ability to bring out so much humanity and youth in his scoring of Illica and Giacosa’s brilliant libretto. Plus, how many operas do you get to run around stage and fight with random household items?

Q: What has been your favorite performance experience?

A: My favorite performing experience would have to be MOT’s recent production of “Silent Night.” This piece is so important and it was such a such fulfilling experience to be able to bring it to one of my “Home” companies.

Q: What is your dream role?

A: My dream role is Rigoletto. For me this role has everything. It combines lyric, dramatic, and buffo singing all into this tormented man who is stripped of everything. Rigoletto gives you so much to sink your teeth into as a singer, actor, and human. Not to mention, Verdi wrote some pretty killer music!

Q: What’s been the best part about being in the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio program?

A: For me the best part of being in the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio program is the caliber of artists we get the opportunity to perform with. You learn so much by just being able to watch these people work and performing alongside them.

Q: What’s the best part about living in Detroit?

A: One of my favorite things is the strong sense of community Detroit has. It is a city that has gone through a lot and has banded together because of it. It is exciting to be able to be a part of the community.

Q: If you weren’t an opera singer, what would you be?

A: I would probably be a cook. Being a good southerner I love to cook for people and I enjoy the rush of a kitchen.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

A: I love the outdoors. I really enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and generally being outside! I ride in a Mardi Gras parade. I am a member of the Krewe of Endymion, and I ride with my dad, except the past two years when I have performed during Mardi Gras weekend!

Michigan Opera Theatre Studio is a resident artist training program focused on supporting the next generation of opera singers. For more information, visit Michigan Opera Theatre Studio.