An Opera Understudy's Chance to Shine

Young Turkish Bass Baritone Debuts in Mozart at the Met

Burak Bilgili

hide captionBurak Bilgili

Burak Bilgili was understandably nervous. Last week, without the benefit of a full-stage or orchestra rehearsal, Bilgili made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Bilgili in Full Voice

From Academy of Vocal Arts Student Productions

Listen As Basilio in 'The Barber of Seville'

Listen As Don Giovanni in 'Don Giovanni'

NPR's Scott Simon talks with the 29-year-old Turkish bass baritone about being asked to fill in at the last minute in front of 4,000 opera aficionados. It was truly the chance of a lifetime and Bilgili made the most of it.

Bilgili "nailed" Leporello's classic Aria No. 4, which describes in glorious detail "the beauties my master has loved" — Don Giovanni's female conquests. And when he took his solo bow, the audience at the Met roared its appreciation.

Bilgili graduates this month from Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts where he has been studying under Maestro William Schuman.

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