Music alumnus sings with Metropolitan Opera
The article below features Greg Fedderly, a 1985 UW-Eau Claire music graduate who is now in his second season performing as a tenor with the New York Metropolitan Opera. The article appeared in March 2005 on the Wisconsin Dells Events Web site and is reprinted with permission.
By Erica Dimka
Greg Fedderly's opportunity to perform with the top opera house in the world is the result of years of hard work and study. The former Wisconsin Dells resident is starting his second season singing with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York.
"It's pretty exciting," Fedderly said in a phone interview. "(Performing with the Met is) something that I've always wanted to do."
Debuting last season as Don Basilio in "The Marriage of Figaro," Fedderly will now take on the roles of Four Servants in "The Tales of Hoffman," Goro in "Madame Butterfly" and Valzacchi in "The Knight of the Rose." Fedderly, the son of Hans and Sherri Fedderly of Wisconsin Dells, is contracted with the opera house for the next three years.
The Met's shows usually run for about 10 or 12 performances, the tenor singer said. Rehearsal time for each depends on the role and the director but can be about five or six days a week. Performers get some more time off, however, when the show is running, as they take two days off between performances to rest their voices.
The work of rehearsing and performing is nothing new to Fedderly, who's been with the Los Angeles Opera House for about 18 years, joining them after attending graduate school at the University of Southern California on a scholarship. Having been at the Los Angeles house longer than any of the other artists, working with a new company is definitely different.
"Its kind of fun to be the new person again," he said, adding that, while it's thrilling to work with the Met, L.A. will "always be (his) home." Part of that is because he also owns a restaurant there.
The nine-year-old Off Vine serves California cuisine, successful in part because of the great managers who take care of it while he's gone, Fedderly said.
The challenge of performing in operas during school inspired him to be more serious about a career. Graduating from high school in 1980, Fedderly went to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire intending to be a music teacher.
Instead, he went on to perform in a variety of productions. Both Fedderly and his mom said one of their favorite roles of his was Rodolfo in "La Boheme." Sherri added that she also liked his performance in "The Woman Who Strayed."
"He's done some fabulous roles," Sherri said. "He's worked really hard. We're really happy for him."
Fedderly's parents have traveled all over, including Paris and Sweden, to see their son perform.
An unusual role for Fedderly was that of Tom Rakewell in "The Rakes Progress" because it was filmed for PBS. He said that was a real challenge, describing how the singers recorded first in a sound studio and then lip synced along to themselves when filming. While he would consider doing another film, he "prefer(s) to do it live."
Whatever the type of performance, Fedderly said it's always a challenge in his business because "you're only as good as your last show." However, the necessity to keep singing well also makes it always "feel fresh and interesting."
"For me, (the) languages are probably the biggest challenge," he said.
Fedderly has to sing in several languages including Italian, French, German, Russian and even Czechoslovakian. This means a mix between actually learning the language and just learning how to pronounce what is being sung.
He plans to work in California and with the Met from now on to stay closer to home. What's nice about having been in the business so long, he said, is that he doesn't really have to audition anymore. In addition, operas schedule far in advance, so he always knows what he'll be doing for a while.
But, as for right now, Fedderly said, he's "loving New York."
Copyright © 2008, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association
Last Updated: December 30, 2008