Can you win an opera audition with only one hand?

US baritone Weston Hurt was born without a right hand. As a student he was fitted for a prosthesis.

He asked an artistic director if he’d always have to wear it. The reply? ‘Only until you get famous enough to when they won’t care anymore’.

Read on here.   

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  • Didn’t the American basso Richard T. Gill have a similar issue? Vague memory from the time he left his position as a professor of Economics at Harvard and decided to sing full-time, circa 1971.

  • I’ve now composed two operas that have a lead role for a one-handed character; the Estonian optician and inventor Bernhard Schmidt. Both were sellouts at the Nargen Festival 2013 and 2019. Gimme a call!

  • Baritone Thomas Quasthoff overcame severe disabilities to make a career in concerts, Lieder recitals, and opera.

  • I had the pleasure of working with Weston Hurt (Sharpless) several years ago. His stage presence was wonderful and his voice, fantastic. It never occurred to me that his missing hand should be considered when casting him. He auditioned for us (Lyric Opera of San Antonio) and was clearly the best singer for that role that we heard.

    It is interesting to see this article and discussion, but wonder why people would consider this. Last time I checked, one did not need a hand to sing.

    Bravo Weston! Sing on!

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