Jay Hunter Morris is an American operatic tenor known internationally for the role of Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2011–12 series of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Most recently, he created the role of Teague in Santa Fe Opera’s world premiere of Cold Mountain. As one of the featured artists in Opera Colorado upcoming Ellie Celebration on September 19th. We recently caught up with him about his career and favorite pastimes.
If you could pick a moment in your career to relive, what would it be?
Opening night of Gotterdammerung at the Met. It was such an amazing thrill to sing that role, in that house, for the first time. To lie dead on that stage and feel and hear the Met Orchestra play Siegfried’s Funeral March was the single greatest joy of my career. Or maybe opening night of Master Class on Broadway.
What singer(s) has had the greatest influence on you? Why have they been so important?
Bill and Dixie Neill, my teachers. They have believed, encouraged, given me guidance for the past 22 years. They always know what I need to work on next.
If you could sing any non-tenor role (male or female) what would you like to sing? Why?
If I could go back…. The role of Daddy, singing soft lullabies, holding my tiny baby. My son Cooper Jack is six now, and I so miss those first few years, and those sweet songs I sang to him every night.
How do you spend your time when not traveling and performing? Favorite pastimes or hobbies?
I love being home doing nothing, that’s what! And I’ve taken to the drums over the past 5 years. Mostly jazz and funk. I love to slip behind the set, put on the headphones, turn it up loud and escape the noise of the street. And pretend I’m somebody else for just a little while.
You have had a very busy summer especially with your premiere as Teague in Santa Fe Opera’s Cold Mountain. What is coming up next in your busy schedule? Any chance for some R&R?
No rest for the wicked! Next I’m off to sing Ahab in Los Angeles, my favorite role ever. Next year I take on Siegfried, Tristan, Teague, Ahab and Judge Danforth in The Crucible.