Dan Montez…a wunderkind

Dan Montez is a wunderkind. How do I know? He told me so. Well, not exactly. He’s the director of the not-for-profit Taconic Opera, which he founded 14 years ago. He learned to play the piano at age six. As a teenager, he fell in love with opera, and through sheer grit and talent became an opera star who has performed over 40 principle tenor roles on stages in New York (Lincoln Center), San Francisco and Germany.  Just when things were going great (he was offered a regular gig in Germany), he turned it down  to a start a family, moved to Yorktown where he also produces opera, writes books, coaches opera singers and teaches music. In his spare time, Dan home-schools his three kids and produces three operas a year on a shoe string budget. Whew! But after all, it is a labor of love.

Dan knows that he could sell out the Yorktown Stage theater if he produced only favorites like Carmen, Madame Butterfly or La Boheme, but he loves pushing the envelope with lesser-known works like The Pearl Fishers, Georges Bizet’s “other opera,” which he is producing at Yorktown Stage April 15, 16 and 17.  The opera is in French, which of course is no stretch for Dan since he speaks six languages. The Pearl Fishers story tests the boundaries of friendship, loyalty, love and forgiveness. It’s deep. In other words, it’s opera. Taconic Opera is a resident opera company. The way Dan describes it is that members of the cast are local to the metro region. Believe it or not, says Dan, more than half our singers perform at the Metropolitan Opera.  That’s quite a drawing card for the Taconic Opera whose lead roles go only to gifted singers who have performed at least 20 major roles before they get to the Taconic’s stage.  Taconic Opera is one of Westchester’s bright lights and it comes fully equipped with a live orchestra and super titles. It’s not the Met, but it’s top notch and close to home.

For more information on the Taconic Opera, visit our website: www.artswestchester.org/affiliates/profile/taconic-opera/.

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