Behind The Mask: Thomas Cooley

Behind the mask of Acis: tenor Thomas Cooley. His performances have received rave reviews around the world, and now he’s coming to the Catskills!

What are you putting into this project, and what are taking away from it?

Thomas Cooley headshot credit Paul Foster-WilliamsAs the shepherd Acis, who loves the nymph Galatea, my job is to express the depth of that love in an honest, clear and non-sentimental way. The lovers should evoke feelings of love within the listeners, and there should be a sense of loss when the monster Polyphemus hurls a rock through the air and kills me.

What about this project do you look forward to?

Acis and Galatea is one of my favorite pieces by my personal favorite composer. Handel was a genius at setting texts in an honest, emotional, truthful way, especially when we consider that he was often writing music for languages which were not his mother tongue. I have sung this work a number of times in various forms, but I am really looking forward to doing an Acis with a truly Baroque ensemble. Singing this music is a gift, for which I am ever thankful, and I am excited to share this piece with the audience.

What about a mask or masquerade is appealing to you?

I have never done a true opera in a mask, so that will be a new experience for me. Having a mask to play with will be interesting on many levels. In one way, it will make us all more like “avatars”, which is indeed the point of a masquerade. In some ways, it may help to keep the story, which is not a complicated one at all, extremely clear and precise.

What do you hope to accomplish with this project?

As ever in my singing, I hope to connect to the audience through the emotional substance of the text and with my interpretation of that. The world of nymphs and shepherds which Handel’s music provides, creates a mythical, romantic, delicious experience and I cannot wait to share that with the audience.

Reserve your seats (through our ticketing website, or by calling the reservation line at 518-263-2063) for Acis and Galatea on September 6th at 7:30PM in the Orpheum!

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