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A Man on a Mission

by TheOviedoVoice

Grammy Award-winning artist, Gabriel Preisser, arduous at work at Opera Orlando. (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

All of us have aspirations and desires rising up. The lucky ones have nurturing mother and father who push the fitting buttons. Gabriel Preisser is a kind of lucky ones.

To know Preisser’s world at this time, that you must return to his days at West Orange Excessive Faculty, the place he was the child who sang the nationwide anthem carrying soccer pads prepping for a sport.

Preisser’s musical muse would finally win out, a contrarian method for a child who grew up because the youngest in a family of 5 boys and one lady, most with a sports-leaning consideration span.

“I all the time thought that I used to be going to go to Florida State and stroll on and play soccer,” he stated. “Florida State was the crew again then. It was early 2000s. Fortunately, I obtained a music scholarship and I didn’t get killed, though my soccer desires obtained killed.”

Over time, the music performs on. As CEO and normal director of Opera Orlando, Preisser faces the daunting process of constructing opera interesting and accessible to all. Opera will get a foul rap, very like broccoli on the dinner desk.

Preisser absolutely acknowledges these challenges, however as an alternative of force-feeding that musical model of broccoli, he has give you inventive methods to provide it a sexier attraction.
“That stereotype could be very a lot on the market,” he stated. “And it’s sort of our mission to, it doesn’t matter what manufacturing we’re doing, to make opera accessible, make opera related.”

Just a few examples:

  • Giving Carmen a Caribbean twist by setting it in Haiti to make it related to the Haitian American neighborhood in Orlando throughout a manufacturing staged in April of 2021.
  • Staging an American opera known as “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914,” set to be staged Dec. 23-24.
  • A baseball opera that includes songs concerning the sport from musicals together with “Ragtime” that shall be staged at Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre in 2023.

“I imply it’s music, it’s theater, it’s storytelling,” he stated, “Opera is our legacy, it’s humanity. It’s simply storytelling, on steroids thoughts you.”

At 38, Preisser brings the correct mix of expertise and youthful exuberance to Opera Orlando. He wears the proverbial two hats, as creative director and a performer with a wealthy baritone vocal vary.

Preisser has greater than 50 operatic and musical theater roles to his credit score. Individuals have observed. He has been praised by Opera Information for his “good-looking voice, charismatic vitality, and timbral attract.” The New York Occasions known as his efficiency as Lt. Gordon in Kevin Places’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Silent Night time,” “great.” He has additionally picked up a Grammy alongside the way in which.

However his focus as of late could be very a lot on the enterprise aspect. Together with a reputation change (previously Florida Opera Theatre), the corporate has seen a big uptick beneath Preisser’s cost. The corporate jumped up over the $2 million mark in income this previous season, a big bump from the $1.2 million mark the earlier yr.

In fact, a nasty spell of COVID-19 impacted these numbers (though Florida remained open for enterprise throughout a lot of that point), however nonetheless, there’s a palatable distinction in the way in which Opera Orlando is doing enterprise as of late.

“I feel my muse and my inspiration has been this neighborhood,” he stated. “In some ways, getting to come back again dwelling and do one thing, create one thing, develop one thing in the neighborhood the place I grew up could be very satisfying, it’s very fulfilling.”

There’s additionally a pleasant household creative vibe at Opera Orlando. Grant, considered one of his brothers, is the creative director.

“It’s a ardour for each of us,” Grant stated. “Our talent units steadiness. We’re very a lot in sync by way of what we like about opera. It’s every thing I really like concerning the arts all wrapped up into one. I really like the complexity of it. And it’s a real collaborative artwork kind.”

Brother Gabe has garnered a powerful resume since graduating summa cum laude from Florida State College with levels in Vocal Efficiency and Business Music and finishing a Masters in Voice on the College of Houston. His transfer to Tallahassee was pivotal: The primary opera he ever noticed, a German opera known as “Der Vampyr,” was one he participated in as a forged member at FSU.

He was hooked from the get-go.

“I sort of noticed it as music theater on steroids as a result of there’s no microphone,” defined Gabriel. “So it’s a must to learn to belt out and challenge your voice, should be taught this distinctive method.”

All of it dates to his youth rising up in Apopka as a son of educators. His mother required all the kids to take up an instrument. Preisser selected piano, however he discovered his voice to be his strongest instrument.

It has served him effectively. Preisser’s wealthy voice has allowed him to journey all through the nation. His musical soundtrack consists of leading-man roles for numerous corporations, together with Minnesota Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, and Opera Tampa.

However his most important mark is the Grammy that hangs on his mantle. He received it in 2020 as a part of a crew honored for finest opera recording class for “Incredible Mr. Fox,” a 1998 opera. Preisser missed the awards ceremony in Los Angeles as a result of he was performing “Silent Night time” in Salt Lake Metropolis. He discovered backstage simply earlier than the efficiency.

“So I’m whispering it to my colleagues within the wings. ‘Hey, I received a Grammy.’” he stated. “Oh, it was superior.”

The Grammy from The Academy of Arts and Sciences was mailed to his dwelling. “My youngsters open it up they usually’re like, ‘Oh daddy, I didn’t know you have been a scientist.’”

Gabriel and his spouse Christina have two youngsters: Grayson, 8, and Cora, 5. They met in highschool whereas each have been concerned in theater. She went on to grow to be a nurse, giving Gabriel a secure basis “to pursue this loopy opera theater profession.”

They reside in Winter Backyard now. Central Florida nonetheless has the cozy cozy really feel of dwelling. All these enterprise journeys all through america with one arising for a efficiency in Italy, stay good perks.

“It’s a kind of issues the place so long as folks nonetheless need to hear me sing or they nonetheless benefit from the productions that we’re doing right here, I’ll do it for the remainder of my life,” he stated. “I simply find it irresistible.”

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