Q&A: David Govertsen, opera singer


Source: Todd Rosenberg

David Govertsen (Bienen ’11) will be performing at The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s upcoming production of “The Magic Flute.”

Jennifer Hepp, Reporter


Seven years ago, singer David Govertsen (Bienen ’11) taught music at a public school in Park Ridge. Now, he can be found on stage at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, performing as a professional bass-baritone in the upcoming production of “The Magic Flute.”

The Daily: When and how did you initially become interested in singing?

Govertsen: I was interested in singing in college. I was a trombone player in high school, and when it came time to look at colleges, I wasn’t really at the level that I needed to be in order to get into top-level music schools … So my brother said, “Well you sang in choir, why don’t you audition as a singer?” And that’s when I started singing. It’s kind of a wild story, but that’s the truth. I started singing kind of by default.

The Daily: How did the things you learned at Northwestern shape the kind of musician you’ve become today?

Govertsen: I came to Northwestern to hone the skills I already had … I worked with a bunch of professors who were also professionals in the music world. What I’m most thankful for is the fact that I was able to study languages for two years. I had never done that. … There’s great Italian and German instruction at Northwestern; I had a ball.

The Daily: What made you choose opera for your career?

Govertsen: The reason opera is a main part of my life is that’s what is worth doing, mostly. A lot of opera roles are too demanding for a 20-year-old. … I remember listening to a famous Bulgarian bass singing all of these Verdi arias and thinking: “Oh my gosh, that’s amazing singing. It seems fun; I wonder if I could do it.” So it’s a combination of what there is to do as a classical singer, and I also found things about it that could be really satisfying.

The Daily: How are you involved in Lyric’s upcoming production of “The Magic Flute?”

Govertsen: My role is Sprecher. He never speaks any dialogue; he just sings, which is strange. He’s only in one scene in the first act. It’s this high drama confrontation with the tenor. … The tenor Matt Polenzani is singing the last two performances. He’s a particularly favorite tenor of mine, so I’ll be very much looking forward to doing the scene with him. I’m very excited about it.

The Daily: Do you have any foreseeable plans for the future?

Govertsen: My wife and I have a one-year-old, and we bought a house three years ago. I also started teaching at Valparaiso University … so the goal is to find that balance of singing, family, teaching … to be realistic, to be satisfied artistically, to pay the bills, to have time for family and all that. The goal is to be able to sing, teach and have a family all at once which is no easy task for any. For any musician it’s a challenge.

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