Get to know Joshua Dennis, COSI’s fantastic Ferrando

You have performed Ferrando before and just performed Tamino in Magic Flute.  Does Mozart have a special place in your heart or repertoire?  Joshua Dennis

I wouldn’t say Mozart has a special place in my heart, but I will say that Cosi does. What I really love is a good story and a good character.  It’s one of the reasons I really love singing Ferrando, it’s such a human story.  Mozart is very difficult to sing.  There is a saying that if you can sing Mozart well, you can sing anything, and I’m finding that statement to be true.  I love the challenge Mozart brings.  It’s hard to get bored singing his music.

Last month Mary Birnbaum directed our semi-staged La traviata and the following week directed you in La traviata at Opera Columbus.  I’m sure you liked working with her! 

Ferrando3Oh yes! I’ve known Mary since 2012 when I was an apprentice at Santa Fe and she was the Assistant Director on King Roger!  I’ve been wanting to do a show with her ever since and I was not disappointed when we started staging this La traviata.  She is so insightful and creative.  I would work with her anywhere and everywhere if I could.  She is marvelous.

I understand you are a history buff — you must be looking forward to coming to Charlottesville with the homes of three Presidents!  

I am!  I always have been.  I’ve lived in Boston the last three years which fueled my Revolutionary War passion.  I really hope I can take advantage of seeing the sites as much as possible.  With Hamilton-mania happening right now on Broadway (which I was lucky enough to see after my wife got us tickets for my birthday), I feel like a huge part of the world is re-invigorated with some of these founders, Madison, Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton. I am so excited to be lucky enough to see first hand where some of these people lived!

What is it like having an identical twin who is also an operatic tenor?   Since your genetics are the same, does any difference in sound come from different techniques or different temperaments?FerrandoTwin

Having a twin brother in this business is AMAZING! We are so supportive of each other, and any time we have together is spent talking about singing and trying to make each other better.  We give each other voice lessons.  We send each other our recordings and ask what the other one thinks. I’m so lucky!  There are differences in the way we sing, but I think most of those difference are technical instead of genetic.  Our singing voices are so similar, it’s almost creepy.

Photos from Top

Headshot by Simon Pauly

As Sam in Susannah, Carlsle Floyd