Chicago janitor lands lead opera role

Chicago janitor lands lead opera role


norman lebrecht

June 01, 2016

Keanon Kyles, 27, is a maintenance man at ABC News in Chicago.

Among other things.

This summer he’s landed a role at Scottish Opera.

Report below.

keanon kyles


  • Dominic Stafford Uglow says:

    He is singing with Clyde Opera in Glasgow, Norman.

  • Una says:

    Clyde Opera, who are they? The new Scottish Opera-Go-Round, who used Scottish Opera people very often, including myself from the chorus. Will look them up later.

  • Una says:

    If it’s Clyde Opera then he has to pay them – £600 to do a course, plus his fare!

    Clyde Opera Group – La Boheme by G. Puccini (Auditions for all roles)
    Rehearsals and performance between 23rd – 31st of July 2016 (GLASGOW, UK)
    Participants must be available during the entire period of the project.
    This inaugural project will concentrate on the production of “La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini sung in Italian. This is a workshop for the training, specialization and advancement of professional opera singers. The workshop will be based on the study and practice of musical interpretation; dramatic interpretation; diction, pronunciation and expression of the text; study of musical dramaturgy in the score, techniques of body movements, posture and acting; vocal ensemble and score study.
    The production will be double cast, and participation will be based on auditions for specific roles.
    The program is in two parts: 1) masterclass; and 2) staged opera production (with orchestra)
    Certain selected artists will be engaged in a concert arranged to take place in Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
    Please include the following with your application: High definition photos, curriculum vitae and repertoire, as well as videoclips (youtube). A scanned copy of your passport or equivalent identification document that is currently valid. Applicants outside Europe will have to submit the visa and/or residence permit.
    Deadlines for the submission of applications : 10th December 2015
    Note – all the applications must be sent to the following address :
    Applicants who are accepted for an audition will receive notice of their acceptance by email or phone. (Auditions will take place in January 2016)
    Fees: For all participants accepted into the program there is a fee of £600 which includes the 9 days of the full program (masterclass, rehearsals with the pianist and orchestra; also, 2 meals/day are included).
    Accepted applicants will be responsible for their own flight and accommodation costs. The organization can indicate available hotels and B & B agreement; informations will be communicated prior request by email.

  • Una says:

    Don’t you love the way they pronounce Glasgow in Chicago, to rhyme with American Moscow!!! Made me laugh as the English can never pronounce Milngavie outside Glasgow, and the south can pronounce Keighley in West Yorkshire!!!!

    • Bruce says:

      Ignorant American here… is it “glazz-go” or “glazz-gow”? I always thought it was the former… yikes

      • CDH says:

        It’s “Glaz-go.”

        And what about ignorant Brits that pronounce Chicago as “Tchi-KAH-go” (KAH as in cat)? And Houston, Texas as “Hoo-ston”?

        • Una says:

          I pronounce it She-CAH-go. I’m.obviously one of those ignorant Brits! Tell me how it’s supposed and I’ll get it right, particularly as I’ touch with Bruce Duffie in … that place I can’t pronounce.

          As far as Glasgow goes …Glaz-go in the North of England (ah as in cat) and Glahz-go in the South (ah as in … father?) Either way, -gow does not rhyme with cow!!!

          • Bruce says:

            It is fun hearing the BBC news people pronounce Los Angeles as “Loss Angel-eez.”

          • Furzwängler says:

            Ditto for “Neew Orleeens”.

            Mind you, anyone who pronounces Moscow germanically as Moskau, to rhyme with cow, should better keep stumm.

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    Artist working a “day” gig on his way to fulfilling his dream; A very American story. Wish him success!

  • V.Lind says:

    So, in short, Scottish Opera has not engaged an (implicitly) unqualified person for its ranks?

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Having an uninspiring day job while you’re trying to break into the performing arts scene is commonplace in the USA – waiting tables, bar work, cleaning – all credit to the thousands of resourceful individuals over there who then, once they’ve made it, then treat the profession and their colleagues with respect. I’ve worked for decades in music theatre and opera with many Americans who nearly all started in this way and their professionalism and humility is a lesson to us all. All power to Keanan Kyles for investing in his future career, he deserves to succeed.

    • Una says:

      Some of us poor ones in England had evening and weekend jobs as students as we studied during the day. In also had summer and Christmas jobs in London when I was at the Royal Northern in Manchester. I was one of those who didn’t have a rich daddy for me. I had my fees as well as live. In those days, however, both in and out of the profession there was far more work around and also fewer students in the colleges. I don’t know what went on in America other than I did some further studies over there. Found them all very generous and sharing.

    • Zenaida says:

      Let’s not forget Anna Netrebko who supposedly had her big break at the Mariinsky while she was a cleaning lady there…

  • clean says:

    Well, the headline is obviously catchy and misleading. It reads as if the guy is a complete amateur and he somehow miraculously landed the role, which is obviously not the case. An opera singer has to work as a janitor rings more truth to it!
    Nothing but admiration for a talented guy who has to work ninety hours per week just to be able to do what he loves. I wish I had his motivation and stamina!