2018 Summer Retreat Artist Interview: Michael Gray

During our annual retreat, we work closely with a select group of artists to sing, brainstorm and clarify career goals, unwind, and have fun. We're excited to catch up with Tenor Michael Gray, who took part in last year's retreat and joins us after a busy year of performing.

Moments Like This

August 13th @ 7:30pm

Mayfield Presbyterian Church

22 North Main St

Mayfield, NY 12117

Presented by the Sacandaga Valley Arts Network. Admission: $12 General Admission; $10 SVAN Members; Free for those under 18 years.

Michael, we’re excited to have you be part of this year’s summer retreat! Tell us a bit about yourself: who are you, where you’re from, and what you do.

Michael Gray from Richmond, Virginia. I am currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of South Carolina.

Did you always know you wanted to sing? How did you get into singing?

I began seriously considering a career in opera in high school. I was in a rock band, but was guided toward more classical repertoire by my high school choir teacher and private voice instructor at the time. I can't thank them enough!

What was the first classical piece you worked on as you transitioned into classical voice? 

My first classical piece was "Caro mio ben" which I began learning around 16 years old. I remember receiving encouragement from my high school choir director, Phil Lawson, to pursue music as a major after singing it for him. 

What else have you been up to this summer?

I have been working as an apprentice artist at Charlottesville Opera. I performed the role of Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro and The Steward in Into The Woods.

What has it been like to be an apprentice with Charlottsville Opera?

Being an apprentice at Charlottesville Opera has been a wonderful experience. The director of the Apprentice Program, Shelby Rhodes of Virginia Opera, has been a patient and wonderful instructor. This summer has been a critical learning experience for me as a performer and I am grateful to have been surrounded by amazing talent and mentors. 

Photo courtesy of Michael Gray

Photo courtesy of Michael Gray

Any projects coming up, whether music-related or not, that you’re especially excited about?

I will be performing an all baroque recital as part of my doctoral studies in South Carolina and as Rodolfo in an abridged La Bohème with Capitol City Opera in Atlanta. Very excited about both!

What are your doctoral studies focused on?

My doctoral studies are in vocal performance. My dissertation topic is on some Civil War parlor music I have compiled, which paints an interesting picture of domestic life during a time of turmoil for our country. It is my hope to give a lecture recital on this topic in the months to come. 

You’ll be singing some great pieces for the concert! Which is your favorite and why?

One of my favorite tenor arias is "Pourquoi me réveiller" from Massenet's Werther. I've performed it dozens of times but every performance is something new and special. I can't wait to sing it for the upstate!


Visit www.michaeldavidgraytenor.com for more about Michael and his upcoming schedule.