Dmitry Korchak: I have always considered myself a conductor, more likely in the way of approaching music & listening to it in my head. But if God gave me such talent, I must develop my voice since it is the only perfect musical instrument.

We introduce to you the tenor DMITRY KORCHAK, one of the most exciting and sought-after voices of his generation. He has received praise from critics all over the world and is recognized as one of the top singers now, performing bel canto repertoire. 

The Russian tenor, had a really interesting conversation with ALICE LECHNER about his career as a conductor and singer, about how his expertise in both areas helped him develop his music, about the various theaters and projects he worked on over the years. He also shared his thoughts on other opera-related issues, as well as the staggering number of CDs he owns. We invite you to discover a very complex artist in the following paragraphs!

1.Dear Dmitry, thank you for accepting our invitation! It’s a pleasure to chat with you. You studied both conducting and singing. Even if you are one of the most exciting and sought-after voices of your generation and regarded as one of today’s best performers of bel canto repertoire, between 2017-2020 you were the Principal Guest Conductor at Novasibirsk Theater. Where did your passion for conducting come from? Who guided your first steps on this path? How was conducting helped you in your soloist career?

I didn’t really promote it, to be quite honest, but my initial musical training was essentially that of a conductor. And I have always considered myself a conductor, more likely based on the way of thinking in music and hearing it in my head. My professor at the time invited me to pursue singing after he heard my voice at choral events. If God has endowed you with such a talent, you must develop your voice since it is the most ideal musical instrument in his eyes. Although I initially found it challenging, a vocalist develops objectively more quickly than a conductor.

It is unusual that a very young conductor will be granted his own orchestra immediately because the orchestra is a large and expensive instrument, and working with a live orchestra brings experience in the conducting field. In order to succeed as a conductor, you need a whole new set of talents, abilities, and experience. You also need to be more managerially and organizationally oriented, and you need to be able to handle issues fast. And only experience can provide this in part, if not entirely. The singer, on the other hand, has a more accessible and affordable start to his career and is more individual, in control of his own instrument.

The roles that are open to young, inexperienced singers can be sung by young vocalists; one can perform on many stages from a young age and accumulate the required experience. This incident took place to me. I eventually entered an opera house and performed various roles that had been carefully rehearsed with me by my teachers, conductors, and stage directors on an individual basis. This was how I made my opera debut. After that, I entered a number of contests and won them, earning my first international contracts. To be quite honest, at one time this circumstance could not help but make me happy, but I was also disappointed that my conducting career had not advanced.

To which my professor objected and stated that he saw the situation from an entirely different perspective, that on the contrary, I will have an extraordinary advantage in the vocal direction because I am developing not as a simple vocalist but as a musician with versatile knowledge that can help me in the future to learn new operas quickly, of varying degrees of complexity, and most importantly, to be able to sing in an ensemble and understand the conductor perfectly.And, I must say, he was right. 

Therefore, I was fortunate to collaborate with several outstanding conductors that fate brought into my life. We always had an easy time communicating, and they trusted that I could approach music from the same side, where vocal stereotypes do not interfere.  And my professor added that I have nothing to lose because I already have this conducting “under control” and I will return to it when the time is right. However, by that point, I will already have an advantage over other conductors because I will have spent many years on the other side of the stage and will therefore understand what the voice is, how one sings, breathes, how one feels distance from the orchestra on stage, and a million other  issues related to singing.

Since your debut at the Rossini Festival, you are a regular guest there, both as a singer and conductor. How was the experience of the Festival from both points of view? 

My first performance in Pesaro was in Rossini’s Stabat Mater, conducted by Maestro Zedda. The following opera was “La Gazza Ladra,” and a long time has gone since then. It’s true that perhaps no one has ever been able to take part in the festival as both a vocalist and a conductor, but for me, it was an amazing experience, and I’m glad I made my conducting debut at Pesaro. 

The festival is distinctive. It opened Rossini’s music to me from a completely different side, we knew incredibly little about how rich and diverse his work was. And just the chance to interact with his music in many roles makes me a completely content person. Perhaps only because Pesaro is also a lovely vacation town on the Adriatic coast, my debut as a conductor offered me greater flexibility to spend more time in the sun and the sea and less time worrying about my voice every day.

Read the entire interview here, in the 8th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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