I can honestly say that as long as I’ve received press releases from Lyric Opera, not one of them has ever started with Bear Down, Chicago Bears. Until today, when I saw the following subject line in my inbox:
“Bear Down, Chicago Bears!! Baritone Mark Delavan, currently costarring in A MASKED BALL at Lyric Opera of Chicago, to debut with Chicago Bears singing National Anthem at Nov. 28 game against Philadelphia Eagles”
As both an opera and a football fan, that seemed pretty cool to me. And then I kept reading and I thought “I want to MEET this guy!”
Mark Delavan is by any standards an accomplished singer. He’s got more than 40 roles under his belt, including seven at Lyric. Renato in “A Masked Ball” will be his 14th Verdi character, and he’ll end this season in San Francisco as Wotan, THE god in Wagner’s magnificently epic Ring cycle.
But get this – unlike the stereotypical operatic baritone who will only listen to Opera – capital O – Delavan is a huge country music fan who sings covers of Johnny Cash and sometimes sings with the Gatlin Brothers Band. And he makes knives. Not just any knives, but “daggers, Scottish dirks, and the like” and he carves the handles and hones and etches the blades. Maybe that’s why he gets so many roles…